Hank Maxcey of Virginia is a Cattlemen's Beef Board executive committee member. He says the beef checkoff is a producer-funded marketing and research program. It doesn't own cattle, packing plants, or retail stores, nor does it use the funds to influence government policy.
Cattle producers pay $1 per head to the checkoff when the animals are sold. Half goes to state beef councils, the other half to national programs. The money is used to increase the demand for beef, and increase consumer information about the product. "One of the few examples of what the checkoff has done lately, health professionals have seen through the checkoff is BOLD, which means 'Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet', our research study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," says Maxcey. "So, we've done research that helps sell our product in different ways, and in this way as a healthy diet."
The beef checkoff has been in existence for about 25-years, and is constantly evolving. "In different years beef safety may be more of an issue, other years we may need to adapt and work more on research. What we've done recently is we've revamped the committee structure, the program committees that determine where the funding is spent," Maxcey says. "And, we've matched those committees to the industry's long-range plan objectives, and we set up a new committee structure to make it producer-driven."
Economic evaluations are conducted periodically. Ron Ward of the University of Florida reports that for the period 2000-to-2004, the estimated rate-of-return was more than $5 for every checkoff dollar invested.
Radio interview source: Hank Maxcey, Beef Checkoff Board Executive Committee Member
Listen here to the radio story (mp3)
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