NCBA Okays New Structure

January 29, 2010 06:00 PM

By Steve Cornett, Beef Today

The NCBA membership voted overwhelmingly in favor of a sweeping reorganization at the end of their annual convention, but that doesn't mean the deal is done.

They've still got to figure out how who gets how many votes, and in the past that hasn't always—or ever, for that matter—been easy.

In fact, this first step wasn't all that easy.  Twenty-one members of a task force spent 18 months hammering out a plan they hope will make the organization more facile by creating a smaller core of decision-makers.

If adopted, the reorganization would create a 250 member "house of delegates.” Affiliate organizations—state beef policy associations, primarily—would provide 106 of the members, and state beef councils—the check-off funding, beef promotion outfits in each state—would provide an equal 106. Those votes would be allocated according to financial input. The rest of the votes would go to industry and breed organizations and the allied industry and product council.

That group would then elect 26 members of a 29-member board which would have "legal and fiduciary responsibility” for NCBA business. 

As the task force envisions the new organization working, committees and task forces created by the board and the house of delegates would recommend policy to the delegates who would, in turn, recommend policy to the board. 

Members of the task forces would be appointed by the board, while any member or member of any member organization could participate in any of the committees.

The proposal was approved by the NCBA board only after last minute adjustments aimed at mollifying the leadership of the Cattlemen's Beef Board, which has been trying to distance itself and the beef checkoff program from NCBA for several years.

There is some concern in CBB circles that the continued cooperation between NCBA and the Federation of State Beef Councils creates the appearance of a conflict of interest between the checkoff-funded body and NCBA.

Jan Lyons of Kansas, a former NCBA president and co-chair of the governance task force, told the convention Saturday that the task force had originally expected a design that separated the two organizations more, but had finally decided that cooperation between them was more important than the perception problem.

She said the proposed system would maintain strong firewalls to protect against checkoff funds being used in NCBA's policy endeavors while still allowing for coordinated efforts on problems—like issues management--that need to be approached by both groups.

The next step for the reorganization will be working groups charged with developing by-laws, policies and procedures, figuring out who pays how much to support the outfit, and a transition timeline.

Those reports will be considered at the annual summer meeting.

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