Beef Checkoff Ruling

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Anonymous

I know I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer so we may not agree on all things but;

Regardless of how BAD or how GOOD you believe the Beef Business has been or how LITTLE or how GOOD the Checkoff has impacted beef prices, my personal opinion is without the Checkoff for the last 10 years the Animal Rights groups and the Media would have been so bad that we all would be eating vegatrerian and tofu today.

Outside of BSE or FOOT and MOUTH Disease this is in my opinion one of the worse things that could have happened to the BEEF INDUSTRY at this time.

What Do You Think?

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Anonymous

I agree with you. I'm attaching the email I got from the Angus website. Of course, NCBA and the Beef Checkoff are appealing this ruling, so we're a long way off from the checkoff going away. But it seems like we're shooting ourselves in the foot when, after all these years of beef decline, we want to drop funding for one of the things that has turned demand around. Go figure....

"South Dakota Judge Orders Halt To National Beef Checkoff

DENVER (June 21, 2002) - In a strike against the American beef industry, a U.S. District Court judge in South Dakota today ruled the Beef Promotion and Research Act is unconstitutional and ordered a halt to checkoff collections starting July 15.

Ag. Secretary Ann Veneman Regarding Beef Checkoff Challenge

"I am disappointed by the ruling of the U.S. District Court in South Dakota that the Beef Promotion and Research Act is unconstitutional. The U.S.Department of Agriculture regards such programs, when properly administered, as effective tools for market enhancement.

"The beef promotion program in particular has helped beef demand to increase and has contributed to increased U.S. beef exports. These results have led to support for the program by a majority of beef producers.

"We are consulting with the Department of Justice to determine next steps."

"We believe this ruling is only a temporary setback for American beef producers," said Wythe Willey, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and a beef producer from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Willey said NCBA is confident the case will be overturned on appeal and the judge's ruling stayed so that the checkoff can continue while the case advances to the next court level.

"We will continue the business of promoting beef while this process takes place, with minimal distraction," Willey said. "We believe the checkoff, the 'Beef. It's What's For Dinner.®' promotions and other similar programs designed to build demand have returned significant dividends to producers over the years. We will follow the law, of course, but believe the judge has misinterpreted it. Fortunately, the beef industry has an extremely strong case, and we believe we will prevail in higher court. The checkoff has been and will continue to be an effective way for producers to invest in their future."

The challenge to the beef checkoff's constitutionality was raised by the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) and several individual producers in an earlier petition. Defendants in the case are the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the checkoff, and Nebraska Cattlemen, Inc., which is leading a group of supportive producers to intervene on behalf of the checkoff.

"This ruling reverses the will of Congress," said J.D. Alexander, immediate-past president of Nebraska Cattlemen and a feedlot operator from Pilger, Neb. "It's an attempt to stop an entire industry in its tracks and takes away the empowerment of nearly a million beef producers."

"In 16 years of producer attitude surveys by three different companies independent of the industry, support for the checkoff has always remained above 60 percent," Alexander said. "The most recent survey showed a more than two-thirds approval rating. And in pushing its earlier petition for a new vote on the checkoff, LMA failed to gain the 10 percent of beef producer signatures required. It's frustrating that when LMA and WORC couldn't get what they wanted through a democratic referendum process, they chose to just take it to the courtroom."

By taking the beef checkoff to court, LMA and WORC have demonstrated a disregard for the future of U.S. agriculture, said Alexander. "It's ironic that they are taking this action at the same time Canada is working to get its own checkoff program, which opens the door to increased competition in export markets.

"Foreign marketers are increasing efforts to promote their beef in the U.S. and our competitive position will be weakened if we lose the checkoff," Alexander said. "So, LMA and WORC are opening the door for importers to promote their own brands in the U.S. -- and they are doing it with contributions to WORC from activist and environmentalist organizations that are working to put U.S. beef producers out of business."

Ralph "Shorty" Jones, a beef producer from Midland, S.D., and an intervener in the lawsuit, said the beef industry is "deeply disappointed" by the judge's decision. "However, the industry remains confident in the constitutionality of the checkoff."

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice have promised to vigorously defend the beef checkoff," said Willey. "We expect the Department of Justice to immediately initiate appeal procedures. The checkoff and its programs will continue while a request for stay is considered."

Willey noted that since Congress launched the $1-per-head beef checkoff in 1986, all previous constitutional challenges to it have been defeated. He said that in 15 years the administration of the program has not changed. It has always been producer directed with USDA oversight."

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Anonymous

It's a dollar that is charged except when it goes to slaughter. So, the same animal may generate several bucks as it progresses through from being sold as a bottle calf to weaner to stocker and feedlot. Personally, if a buck a head is going to break your business you are in such poor shape that a buck a head probably isn't going to help you either.

dunmovin farms

> I have never really understood the
> thing about the check off. Is it a
> fee attached to animals that are
> sold through the sales yard?
 
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Anonymous

Exactly! All types of arguments are made about the pros and cons of the checkoff. It’s always a bad sign when the government mandates any type of fee because it’s nothing more than a new tax. Plus, we’re in sorry shape if we can’t get the PR job done without the government or feel they could do a better job than private producers. That said, I’ve never understood what a buck a head could hurt. I doubt the checkoff has helped much, but I also doubt it could hurt much. Either way, Dunmovin hit the nail on the head.
 
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Anonymous

To a certain extent, I appreciate someone claiming that the Beef CheckOff is infringing on some constitutional right, but think the court case is specious.... since no one is forced to sell their cattle through the channels you mentioned. If they don't want to participate in the checkoff thing, why didn't they just make their own market, instead of running to some judge to listen to their arguments? It's a rhetorical question, really.... just my personal opinion.

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Anonymous

Good point about the government mandating fees. The only way the checkoff could be a constitutional issue is if the government mandated that EVERY cow raised on your place has to be sold through the government's chosen channels. As long as the seller has a choice of where to sell his cattle, I don't think the court was the place to prove a point of any kind. We would be lucky if the judge even knows what a cow looks like, let alone understand most of the other stuff.

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Anonymous

When the NCBA was formed several years ago, one of the first announcements they made was to the effect they wanted more cooperation between industry segments, producers, feeders and packers. Feeder and packer reps set on the board of the NCBA. The sale barns (Livestock Marketing Association) felt left out of the equation. (LMA members also set on the NCBA board.) Right away the LMA encouraged its members to put out petitions for producers to sign asking for a vote on the checkoff. They had a year to collect enough signatures to call for a vote. They asked for and got an extension on the time and still could not come up with the signatures. A national accounting firm counted the signatures. But recently, the Supreme Court ruled the mushroom checkoff unconstitutional, so the LMA is going that route to try to get rid of it. Whether we like it or not, if it’s ruled unconstitutional, we’ll loose it. And in the end it won’t matter to the LMA. More and more producers are signing up with alliances, branded beef and breed associations to sell their cattle. So fewer and fewer are going through the sale barns, especially the better quality animals. There used to be four sale barns in my area, now we’re down to two. I really don’t understand, though, why they are going after the checkoff in the fight with NCBA. The $1 per head checkoff fee is split between the state beef checkoff board and the national board. None of it goes to support the NCBA. We get a quarterly newsletter from our state board telling us how they are spending the checkoff money. We also get a notice to nominate someone to set on the state board and a ballot to vote when nominees are set. I think it’s interesting to see the ways they come up with to promote beef. Contact your state beef board and see if you can get that info in your state.

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Anonymous

The cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board consists of 110 members, 103 are domestic beef producers (under the guidelines set by the Beef Board) and 7 represent importers of beef and beef products.

Each of the Beef Board members are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture from nominations submitted by certified nominating organizations. Thirty seven states have individual members serving on the Board. The remainder of states are divided into three regions. Importer appointments are drawn from nominations from importer associations.

The Beef Board oversees the collection of $1.00 per head on all cattle sold in the U.S. and $1.00 equivalent on imported cattle, beef and beef products. The Qualified State Beef Councils (of which there are only 45) may retain up to 50 cents of the money collected in their state, but at least 50 cents must be sent to the Beef Board. The entire $1.00 is remited to the Beef Board from assessments in Non-QSBC states and from importers.

The NCBA recieves over 90% of the revenue that the Beef Board collects.

The NCBA and the Beef Board share a new three story office building in the Denver, Colorado area. Who do you think paid to construct that office building? Who do you think makes the payroll of the NCBA? and you think that none of the check off dollars goes to support the NCBA.

Benjamin C Roberts.... author of Past Present and how we can survive for the Future in the beef cattle business



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Anonymous

The state gets 50% of the funds IF they have a Beef Industry Council set up. Some states do not and all the money goes to the national board. Jeanne
> When the NCBA was formed several
> years ago, one of the first
> announcements they made was to the
> effect they wanted more
> cooperation between industry
> segments, producers, feeders and
> packers. Feeder and packer reps
> set on the board of the NCBA. The
> sale barns (Livestock Marketing
> Association) felt left out of the
> equation. (LMA members also set on
> the NCBA board.) Right away the
> LMA encouraged its members to put
> out petitions for producers to
> sign asking for a vote on the
> checkoff. They had a year to
> collect enough signatures to call
> for a vote. They asked for and got
> an extension on the time and still
> could not come up with the
> signatures. A national accounting
> firm counted the signatures. But
> recently, the Supreme Court ruled
> the mushroom checkoff
> unconstitutional, so the LMA is
> going that route to try to get rid
> of it. Whether we like it or not,
> if it’s ruled unconstitutional,
> we’ll loose it. And in the end it
> won’t matter to the LMA. More and
> more producers are signing up with
> alliances, branded beef and breed
> associations to sell their cattle.
> So fewer and fewer are going
> through the sale barns, especially
> the better quality animals. There
> used to be four sale barns in my
> area, now we’re down to two. I
> really don’t understand, though,
> why they are going after the
> checkoff in the fight with NCBA.
> The $1 per head checkoff fee is
> split between the state beef
> checkoff board and the national
> board. None of it goes to support
> the NCBA. We get a quarterly
> newsletter from our state board
> telling us how they are spending
> the checkoff money. We also get a
> notice to nominate someone to set
> on the state board and a ballot to
> vote when nominees are set. I
> think it’s interesting to see the
> ways they come up with to promote
> beef. Contact your state beef
> board and see if you can get that
> info in your state.

[email protected]
 
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A

Anonymous

> The NCBA and the Beef Board share
> a new three story office building
> in the Denver, Colorado area. Who
> do you think paid to construct
> that office building? Who do you
> think makes the payroll of the
> NCBA? and you think that none of
> the check off dollars goes to
> support the NCBA.

Benjamin, the check-off funds are seperate from the dues side of the NCBA. They have been audited and never been found fradulant. If you have proof otherwise you might want to share it with the law, but I doubt proof exists.

It's a sad day when cattlemen/women can't even have an advertising fund to promote their product. Every other ptoduct in the world is advertised, why not beef?

Jason Trowbridge Southern Angus Farms Alberta Canada

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Anonymous

Who, said anything about fraud! The proof of what I say came from the Beef Board, it's a mater of public record because the Beef Board is under the direction of the USDA.

The NCBA operates like a private contractor to the Beef Board. They(the NCBA) spend the funds first, and then ask for reimbursement from the Beef Board. That is how the distribution of the checkoff dollars is set up in the Beef Board.

I agree with you Jason, it is a sad day when cattlemen/women can't even have an advertising fund to promote their product. Especially when we think, we are already paying for it.

Benjamin C Roberts.... author of Past Present and how we can survive for the Future in the beef cattle business

> It's a sad day when
> cattlemen/women can't even have an
> advertising fund to promote their
> product. Every other ptoduct in
> the world is advertised, why not
> beef?

> Jason Trowbridge Southern Angus
> Farms Alberta Canada

[email protected]
 
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Anonymous

I was out there at their offices when they just moved in. They rent one floor of three of a building that's been there for what looks like 10-20 years. I hope you do better research for your books....

> The NCBA and the Beef Board share
> a new three story office building
> in the Denver, Colorado area. Who
> do you think paid to construct
> that office building? Who do you
> think makes the payroll of the
> NCBA? and you think that none of
> the check off dollars goes to
> support the NCBA.

> Benjamin C Roberts.... author of
> Past Present and how we can
> survive for the Future in the beef
> cattle business

[email protected]
 

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