Beef Checkoff popularity reaches 21-year high

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

A producer survey has found the popularity of Beef Checkoff programs is at a 21-year high at 78 percent.

Capital Press

The popularity of Beef Checkoff activities among cattle producers has continued to rise, according to a recent survey.

Support for the checkoff registered at 78 percent – a 21-year high – among the 1,225 beef and dairy producers who were polled, reported the Centennial, Colo.-based Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board.

Eight out of 10 producers said the checkoff has helped to contribute to a positive trend in beef demand, according to the survey conducted in late December and early January by the independent firm Aspen Media and Market Research.

The checkoff’s approval rating was up from 76 percent in surveys released in early 2012 and 2013, according to the beef board. The continuing upsurge stems from the board’s efforts to educate producers about checkoff programs, said Lynn Heinze, the board’s vice president of communications.

“The producer attitude surveys have always shown us that people who know about the checkoff … are more supportive of it,” he said. “So we’ve made an effort to provide information about the program and the program results … I believe that message is being heard.”

The Beef Checkoff assesses $1 for each head of cattle sold and uses the money for research and general promotion of beef.

Among producers in this year’s survey, 71 percent believe the checkoff contributes to the profitability of their operations, 77 percent say it’s there for them in a crisis, 79 percent say it represents their interests and two in three believe it is well managed, the researchers found.

“They believe it contributes to their bottom line and also helps build consumer demand for beef,” Heinze said.

The checkoff’s popularity keeps growing despite controversies in recent years stemming from a 2010 audit that found some checkoff funds were spent inappropriately. As a result, the largest checkoff contractor, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, agreed to repay $216,944 in funds improperly used for travel and consulting expenses.

The following year, two top beef board officials resigned after one of them was found to have eavesdropped on NCBA conference calls.

An audit last year by the USDA’s Office of the Inspector General found no impropriety in the spending of checkoff dollars.

Online

Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board: https://www.beefboard.org



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