August 13, 2012

HSUS is after Cattlemen and Cattlewomans Beef Checkoff Program

If you have followed this blog for very long you know that I am not a big fan of HSUS or any other group who tries to dictate what happens on American Farms without using the experts to say what is in the best interest of the animal or the land.  Well HSUS has now teamed up (provided the $$ for a law suit) with the Organization of Competitive Markets (OCM) to file a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee.  Basically they are after the Beef Check Off Program.  See this article.

The Beef Checkoff was created by congress under the 1985 farm bill as the "Beef Promotion and Research Act.  In 1988 the beef industry made the Beef Checkoff Program mandatory in a 79% in favor vote.  In several recent polls results show the program is still supported today by well over 80% of the beef industry.  All producers (both American Producers and Importers) pay $1 every time a beef animal is sold throughout it's lifetime.  I pay this $1/head every time I sell a cow or bull at the sale barn or sell a feeder calf the feedlot.  If I purchase an animal the seller then pays the $1 at that time and if i re-sell the animal I pay another $1 so that animal has earned the checkoff program $2 total.  The money is then split 50% to the national program and 50% to the state program.  The National Program is run/budgeted/evaluated by the Cattleman's Beef Board where it's members are nominated by checkoff paying producers and approved by the US Secretary of Agriculture (Right now that would be Tom Vilsack).  Both the National and State levels are overseen by beef producing volunteers to ensure that those who are paying the dollars are choosing where we spend our money.  The money can be spent in several categories including Promotion, Research, Customer Information, Foreign Marketing, and Producer Information.  By law the Checkoff dollars CAN NOT be spent on influencing Government Policy or action including lobbying.

Here are some Highlights Funded by the Beef Producers Through the Beef Checkoff Program
1 - Annual Investment of $4 MILLION in Beef Safety and Product-Technology Research - 
         - The Flat Iron Steak or the Petite Tender - the research to discover and     develop both new lean cuts of beef steaks were funded by Checkoff       
2 - National Radio Ads (the voice of Sam Elliott and Mathew McConaughey), print advertisements in magazines, and TV/Online Commercials.
Here are 2 of the new online advertisements
Advertisement with the Famous Sam Elliott!!
Personally I think Sam Elliott always looked better sitting a horse back with a cowboy hat on!!!

We don't discriminate against the vegetable either.  Every Ad has a beautifully prepared piece of beef neatly laying beside some tasty looking vibrant vegetables
3 - Identifies management practices through the Beef Quality Assurance Program to strengthen Consumer Confidence in beef as being a Healthy, Wholesome, and Safe Product
4 - Funded Product Enhancement and Beef Safety research programs to both SAFETY and QUALITY issues
5 - Works to promote the beef industry both domestically and internationally.

So it would be no surprise that an organization that wants to END animal agriculture all together would not like a program like the Beef Checkoff Program which works to improve the safety, welfare and promote the product that we produce and be more than eager to spend the money collected from those cute puppy/kitty ads on TV claiming to help abused pets.  Personally we are proud to donate $1 for every cow, calf, or bull that we sell to a program to promote our products and give money to improve the safety and eating quality for the consumer.  In fact my opinion is we should increase it to $2 as the cost of research and advertising has increased significantly since 1988 and the number of beef animals in the US has decreased in that same time.  By pooling our money together beef producers have said that we stand behind the product we are producing and we seek to only make it better for future generations. 


For more information on the Beef Checkoff Program go to

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