State Legislature Approves $2 Beef Checkoff
North Dakota’s Senate voted 45-2 in favor of doubling the state’s $1 beef checkoff on March 18. The North Dakota House of Representatives’ voted in favor of a similar increase in February and approved the modified version on April 1. Half of the checkoff collected will stay in state for the North Dakota Beef Commission to use for beef research, education and promotion. The other half will go to the national Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Cattle producers will have the opportunity to ask for a refund on the additional dollar. The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association was in favor of the move, while the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota and the North Dakota Farmers Union were opposed to the measure. For more, visit www.Beef Today.com/North_Dakota.
Tyson Plans $47 Million Expansion for Packing Plant
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. is investing $47 million in the company’s Lexington, Neb., beef packing plant. The project will expand the storage facilities at the plant with an additional 50,000 sq. ft. warehouse. Construction is expected to end in mid-2016; however, it will not add additional jobs to the plant. The new warehouse will increase the capacity of the plant’s boxed beef storage and distribution infrastructure. “We’re reinvesting in our Lexington plant because it’s an important part of our beef business, and we want to make sure it continues to operate successfully,” says Steve Stouffer, president of Tyson Fresh Meats. For more information, visit www.BeefToday.com/Nebraska.
Ranchers Sit at the Table with Feds for Sage Grouse Deal
Ranchers in Oregon reached an agreement with the federal government to help protect 5,500 square miles of private property that is also sage grouse habitat. The agreement would require ranchers to take certain steps for protection of the bird and their habitat if the sage grouse were to be declared endangered. Biologists from the government would assess land to determine specific threats. It might include removing cattle from grazing areas during certain times of the year. The hope is that ranchers in southeast and central Oregon will be able to continue doing business while keeping the sage grouse off the endangered species list. The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association is working on bills in the state legislature to bring in $1 million to $2 million for sage grouse programs in the state, while Natural Resources Conservation Service has committed $9 million. For more information, visit www.Beef Today.com/Oregon.
Beef Checkoff Referendum Passes by Wide Margin
Beef producers in Illinois have overwhelmingly voted in favor of restarting the state’s voluntary checkoff. More than 1,000 votes were cast, with 934 for and 123 against, an 88% vote in favor of the state collection. Three years prior to the start of the national $1 beef checkoff, the Illinois Beef Checkoff was originally created by a state statute in 1983. After the adoption of the national checkoff, the collections for the state checkoff stopped. A 50¢ assessment will be taken on top of the $1 national checkoff, and producers can ask for a refund of the state checkoff. The program begins July 1. For more information, visit www.BeefToday.com/Illinois.
Runners Fueled by Beef in NYC
During the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon Health & Fitness Expo in Manhattan on March 15, more than 30,000 athletes and supporters were reached by the beef industry. Recipes and a $5-off coupon on purchases of fresh beef at Fresh Direct were distributed to race expo attendees. A spice-bar where participants could interact with checkoff staff and show off their beef chili creation was also offered. The sponsorship by the national beef checkoff’s Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative in partnership with the New York and South Dakota beef councils. Additionally, Team Beef members from Texas, Pennsylvania and New York participated in the 13.1 mile run. For more information, visit www.BeefToday.com/New_York.
Funding to Control the Gray Wolf Approved
The state of Minnesota and USDA have agreed to provide $220,000 for wolf management activities in the state. Each organization will contribute $110,000 to control gray wolves that prey on livestock through Sept. 30. There are approximately 3,700 wolves in the Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan area. Currently, the gray wolf is listed as threatened in Minnesota, so government wolf control is allowed to protect livestock. In Wisconsin and Michigan, wolves are listed as endangered, meaning government officials can only kill wolves in order to protect human life. For more information, visit www.BeefToday.com/Minnesota.
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