Vote No on Beef Checkoff
The Missouri Beef Industry Council (MBIC) wants to raise the Beef Checkoff Missouri cattle producers pay from $1 per head to $2 per head. This would mean Missouri cattle farmers would be paying over $4 million every year in beef checkoff fees.
Missouri cattle producers can register to vote on this checkoff increase by going online to www.agriculture.mo.gov or by going to their county USDA FSA office. They can also get a voter registration form by calling (573) 751-5633. Voter registration will end on March 4, 2016. You must be registered in order to be eligible to vote. Ballots will be mailed to registered cattle producers on April 4, 2016; they must be returned with a postmark deadline of April 15, 2016 to be considered valid. Results of the vote will be announced April 25, 2016.
Here are some facts about the Missouri Beef Checkoff, which was passed by Congress in 1985. Since 1985, Missouri cattle producers have been paying over 2 million dollars per year. Since 1985, beef consumption has gone down 31% nationally. Since 1985, Missouri has lost 40% of its cattle producers. I don’t support giving the MBIC a huge raise with results like that.
I am a stocker-backgrounder; the cattle I buy already have had the Beef Checkoff paid by the cow-calf operator. I pay when I sell them as feeder cattle and then the farmers-feeders pay again when they sell to the packers. That’s at least $3 per head collected. Doubling the Beef Checkoff from $1 per head to $2 per head doubles that per-head collection to $6. When does the packer pay its share? When does the supermarket pay its share?
We as Missouri producers are paying to promote Missouri beef, but it turns out we are paying to promote foreign, imported beef, which is around 30% of all beef.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association effectively lobbied Congress to repeal COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) so that people at the supermarket won’t know what country their beef comes from. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association gets the majority of the Beef Checkoff dollars. They are playing us from both sides of the fence with our own money.
The Missouri Beef Industry Council is asking for a raise, but they currently have $700,000 of our money in their reserve. The Missouri Department of Agriculture letterhead says, “Serving, promoting and protecting the agriculture producers, processors and consumers of Missouri’s food, fuel and fiber products”. The Missouri Department of Agriculture gets a share of the Checkoff dollars for collecting the Checkoff from sale barns. The Missouri Department of Agriculture, the packers, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the supermarkets all have something to gain by our hard work and money. I want to keep my money in my own pocket.
Please register to vote NO by March 4, 2016.