The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is proposing to expand the contracting authority for the Beef Promotion and Research Program.
The Beef Promotion and Research Act requires that the Beef Promotion Operating Committee enter into contracts with established national non-profit industry-governed organizations. The Beef Promotion and Research Order adds an additional requirement that the organization or its successor must have been active and ongoing prior to 1986.
With the goal of enhancing the overall success and support of the Beef Checkoff Program, several beef industry organizations met recently and agreed that it was necessary to expand the contracting authority established under the Act and Order to uphold the integrity of the Beef Checkoff Program. The proposed rule would eliminate the date requirement so that organizations otherwise qualified but created since 1986 could be eligible to contract with the Beef Board.
Cattle groups are in favor of the change. The National Farmers Union (NFU) and the U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA) fully support the proposed amendment to expand beef checkoff contracting authority under the Beef Promotion and Research Order. USCA President Jon Wooster says his organization will be filing comments supporting the proposed change, and he encourages all cattle groups to do so as well.
"USCA is very pleased with USDA's responsiveness on this matter and we appreciate the agency's efforts to enhance the overall beef checkoff. While this amendment, and what it will accomplish, is certainly a step in the right direction, we also know that there is more work to be done to increase support for the checkoff among its stakeholders. USCA looks forward to being the catalyst for further change in the program in order to ensure the checkoff's credibility, transparency, accountability, and that all producers have a voice in how their checkoff dollars are invested," said Wooster.
Today, March 14, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) submitted comments on the proposed rule pertaining to the Beef Checkoff Program. NCBA President J.D. Alexander said the rule is good for the industry and good for the checkoff. He said the proposed rule would ensure cattlemen are getting the best return on their investment.
"NCBA supports an open and transparent checkoff program that is producer driven. This proposed rule would simply enhance this quest," said Alexander. "We support a competitive checkoff contracting system that ensures producers are getting the absolute best return on their investment. We believe a multitude of ideas coming from several different organizations will enhance creativity and innovation regarding techniques to build and defend beef demand. Along with ideas, contractors must come to the table with the know-how and the resources to transform ideas into reality."
Independent research [LINK] conducted by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board released in January 2012 shows that beef producer support for the checkoff is higher than it has been in 18 years. Seventy-six percent of producers support the checkoff. These producers say the checkoff "influences beef demand, contributes to their profitability and represents their interests." Four of five producers say that the beef checkoff is of value to them and two of three believe it is well managed. Alexander said the proposed rule will likely escalate producer confidence in the checkoff.
Detail of the proposed changes appeared in the March 2, 2012 Federal Register. Comments are due by May 1, 2012. Comments may be submitted online at www.regulations.gov