Beef Checkoff Working Group Moving ForwardWed, 17 Sep 2014 12:21:01 CDT
Wyoming dairy producer Scott George is a past president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. For the past three years he has served as a representative for NCBA in the beef checkoff enhancement working group. During that time the groups has been working on coming up with a consensus and industry wide support for a referendum for a second dollar for the beef checkoff. Other groups have a different agenda. They want to reform the beef checkoff as they don't like NCBA being the primary contractor and they want to end that particular relationship between NCBA and the Cattlemen's Beef Board. Recently one of the groups the National Farmers Union announced they are pulling out of the negotiations. Even with one less member George said the group can continue moving forward.
"I can tell that the working group is still planning on meeting," George said. "They are going to go forward and look and see where the groups are. I felt like it was almost a betrayal for these groups to decide to go public. I would have expected they would have come instead to the private group and say you know we are not going to participate any longer, but that's their decision. I respect their right to make that decision."
The National Farmers and several other groups that they agree with their position have called on US Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to make major reforms to the beef checkoff and force that on the industry. George believes that will be challenge for Secretary Vilsack.
"It seems to me he (Vilsack) has some real hurdles to go over if he decides to go that way," George said. "The one thing that we need to remember is the beef checkoff is very unique because we have beef producers in every state of the union. That's different than any other commodity. The beef checkoff has state beef councils in 45 of those states, that's unique. Its been very very effective and very efficient. It's yielded great results. The latest Cattlemen's Beef Board survey says 78 percent of producers approve of the program. They think it helps them stay in business and be profitable. I personally don't think the program is broken at all we simply think its underfunded. So for the Secretary to take a very effective, a very well-supported, very good program and try to replace with something else and ask the producers to support that is going to be a real upward battle for him."
Coming up tomorrow, Hays will continue his conversation with Scott George about the future of the program.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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