Secretary Vilsack is Shooting for a New, Separate and Supplemental Beef Checkoff by 2016Sat, 04 Oct 2014 07:40:41 CDT
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called some of the groups involved with the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group into his office in Washington this past week and told them he was so frustrated with the current working groupís failure to reach an agreement that he has plans to start a second checkoff under the 1996 generic checkoff act. According to Forest Roberts, CEO of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the Secretary announced his intentions to move forward in the near future with a "new, separate and supplemental beef checkoff." Roberts was in the meeting with the Secretary.
Also in the Secretary's office for that meeting was Immediate Past President of the NCBA, Wyoming Dairy farmer Scott George. George told the trade media in a teleconference on Friday afternoon that he was surprised at the announcement by the Secretary and that he was not supportive of a new separate checkoff that would be controlled more extensively by the Federal Goverment and would likely not be coordinated with the existing checkoff in building demand for the beef cattle producers of this country.George told reporters that "the working group is very much convinced that we need to keep working on improving the 1985 act." George adds "The Secretary did tell us in the meeting, he said if you guys can all get togetherand come back in a few weeks or months with a proposal that you are all willing to support- he said I would probably stop moving forward with this idea."
George also told reporters that the Secretary told the groups earlier this year that he thought the Beef Checkoff was a great program and was very effective, but that more funds are needed.
Current President of the NCBA, Bob McCan was not at the meeting with Secretary, but did speak with reporters on the Conference Call- saying that NCBA has updated their state affiliates on the ideas of the Secretary- and that the initial feedback was not favorable and could be detrimental to the current successful beef checkoff- "they feel it is somewhat threatening. Certainly, it's attractive with another dollar, but that dollar could come with a whole lot of additional costs and a whole lot of risks to the whole program." McCan adds that "we just don't think it is necessary what he is recommending."
The NCBA leaders did credit Vilsack with wanting to find a way for the industry to get more money for promotion and research. They were unsure if the Secretary has the authority to propose a second checkoff on a commodity that already has an existing program in operation. Vilsack told the meeting with the cattle industry that he planned to move forward with this idea in 2015 and that he would offer a public comment period which would allow him to hear from cattle producers on this plan. Secertary Vilsack says it is intention, as things now stand, that a the new checkoff would go into effect in 2016 and a referendum on the program would be held about three years after it went into effect.
Today's Beef Buzz showcases the comments from the NCBA leaders on this subject.
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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