The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) submitted comments March 14 on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposed rule pertaining to the beef checkoff program. The proposed rule would expand contracting authority by eliminating the requirement that only allows organizations active and ongoing since 1985 to contract with the checkoff. The proposed rule would allow national non-profit, industry-governed organizations that have been representing the cattle industry for at least two years to be eligible to contract for the implementation of checkoff programs.
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 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.
“The end-game is to make absolute certain that the very best initiatives to increase and solidify demand for U.S. beef are pursued. The proposed rule would allow more ideas to be brought to the table for consideration. It is cut and dry,” said Alexander. “NCBA is a proud contractor of the beef checkoff and looks forward to continuing that role.”
Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted to the Federal Register by May 1, 2012.