DENVER — More than 35 years ago beef producers came together to develop a program to drive demand for beef, and the Checkoff they created continues today stronger than ever. Cattle producers have accomplished great things for the industry by working together to direct Checkoff investments. The Beef Checkoff belongs to the cattlemen and cattlewomen who pay and direct it, and they have the right to decide the future of this great program. The Beef Promotion and Research Act makes it very clear that cattle producers can utilize a grassroots petition process to determine whether the Checkoff continues.
In July 2020 a petition was started to call for a referendum on the Checkoff’s future. Last month, the overwhelming support that producers have for the Beef Checkoff was evident when efforts to collect signatures fell far short of the number needed to trigger a referendum.
When it comes down to it, I see this as a de facto referendum, with 95 percent of producers supporting the Checkoff by not signing the petition. Producers, your voices are being heard loud and clear. You have demonstrated your undeniable support for the Beef Checkoff and the valuable role it plays in our industry. It’s now time for our industry to put these divisive efforts behind us and move forward with the business of building beef demand.
Without the Beef Checkoff, producer-directed programs that share our story and promote beef would disappear, and cattle producers would be left without a connection to consumers. The Beef Checkoff has a long track record of solid returns for each dollar invested, and continues to use producer dollars wisely for research, education and promotion. Here are a few examples of your Beef Checkoff at work:
- The Beef Quality Assurance program training farmers and ranchers on best practices and cattle management techniques to ensure their animals and the environment are cared for within a standard set of guidelines across the U.S. beef industry.
- Product quality research improving beef quality, consistency, value and demand through research of muscle traits and characterization, carcass traits, muscle tenderness and yield, flavor and palatability, and new technologies.
- Nutrition research defending beef’s position in heart healthy diets using a strong foundation of science and helping consumers discover the benefits of beef to health across the life span.
- Sustainability research providing the tools necessary to share beef’s positive sustainability story with consumers and media.
- The iconic Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.® brand bringing beef to life for generations of consumers through traditional advertising, influencer outreach and social media.
- The Masters of Beef Advocacy program bridging the widening chasm between producers and consumers and helping farmers and ranchers share their stories and advocate knowledgeably for the beef industry.
For more than three decades, beef producers who fund and direct the investments of the Checkoff have made smart decisions that continue to educate consumers, build demand and conduct the necessary research that keeps consumers choosing beef. Now that the petition drive has failed, beef producers can continue to invest in the Beef Checkoff Program and support efforts that will keep beef in the center of the plate now and in the future.
–Jerry Bohn, NCBA President
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association