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The Beef Checkoff Program

What is the beef checkoff?

The Beef Checkoff Program is a producer-funded marketing and research program designed to increase domestic and/or international demand for beef. This can be done through promotion, research and new product development, and a variety of other marketing tools. The Cattlemen's Beef Board and USDA oversee the collection and spending of checkoff funds.

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How can beef Checkoff Dollars be used?

As mandated by law, checkoff dollars must be invested in programs to increase consumer demand for beef and create opportunities to enhance producer profitability. The Beef Act defines six program categories: promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications. It’s important to note here that the law does not allow beef checkoff dollars to be invested in production research that it not aimed at improving the end beef product.

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Moes Feedlot

Who benefits from the beef checkoff?

The fundamental goal of every checkoff program is to increase commodity demand, thereby increasing the potential long-term economic growth of all sectors of the industry. The overwhelming majority of beef and dairy producers say their beef checkoff has value for them in many ways1:

  • 69 percent of producers continue to approve of the Beef Checkoff Program
  • 76 percent of producers say the beef checkoff has contributed to a positive trend in beef demand
  • 73 percent of producers say the beef checkoff has value even when the economy is weak
  • 66 percent of producers say the beef checkoff contributes to the profitability of their operations
  • 67 percent say the checkoff represents their interests
  • 58 percent believe the checkoff is well-managed.

1Beef Producer Attitude Survey, Aspen Media & Market Research, January 2014, a random survey of 1,200 beef producers nationwide with a ±2.8% margin of error.

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Who pays the dollar?

By law, all producers selling cattle or calves, for any reason and regardless of age or sex, must pay $1 per head to support beef/veal promotion, research and information through the Beef Promotion and Research Act, which is the 1985 enabling legislation for the Beef Checkoff Program. The buyer generally is responsible for collecting $1 per head from the seller, but both are responsible for seeing that the dollar is collected and paid.

In addition, the checkoff is collected at the same rate on every live beef animal imported and at the equivalent rate of $1-per-head on all beef products that are imported. 

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is anyone exempt from paying the dollar?

Producers of 100 percent USDA-certified organic products are exempt from most commodity checkoffs, based on separate legislation, but they must meet strict requirements and re-apply for certification on an annual basis. No other producer is exempt from the beef checkoff, according to the Beef Act. Buyers who resell cattle no more than 10 days from the date of purchase may file a non-producer status form and avoid paying an additional dollar. They are, however, responsible for remitting collected funds and reporting any transactions to the qualified state beef council.

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