Beef Demand and the Checkoff, An Inverse Relationship?

28 Jul


Beef Demand and the Checkoff, An Inverse Relationship?

Paul Acton
3058 W 800 Rd.
Blue Mound, KS 66010

(Available on the internet)
It was recently published that Glynn Tonsor, livestock marketing specialist with K-State Research and Extension said that ” beef consumption per capita in 2010 was 59.6lbs, down from 76.6lbs in 1980 while inflation-adjusted beef prices actually declined from 1980 to 2010″. The simple math of the matter is that people are eating 17lbs less beef than they were 20 years ago and although the press expounds on how rich we are getting selling these high priced feeder calves the reality is that we are going nowhere when you measure performance based on profitability in relation to the purchasing power of our dollar over time.

As a rancher and proponent of the Beef Checkoff I really have to ask what I am getting for my dollar per head tax? Is the checkoff working? I have seen figures that have shown an exodus of ranchers to the tune of half a million that have left the business in the last ten years, over 30,000 farmer feedlots have closed and an ongoing battle is being waged by the NCBA to gain control over more of the checkoff dollars and placing them at odds with the CBB leadership whom are trying to make the checkoff more transparent and fair.

It doesn’t take much common sense to see that we are losing producers and market share. This is disconcerting to me because I want my checkoff dollar to be profitable for the beef industry. My checkoff dollar is not profitable for the beef industry. The figures don’t lie.

The CBB doles out checkoff funds to various approved vendors that are to use the funds to promote the beef industry in a manner that does not affect policy. The largest vendor of checkoff funds is the NCBA. As a check off paying producer I must point out that if the NCBA is intrinsically the vendor in charge of promoting beef they have done all the checkoff paying producers a great injustice in their pathetic performance of promoting beef. I have been told that over 70% of NCBA’s total budget is reliant on the receipt of checkoff dollars. This would explain their fevered attempts at gaining more control over the CBB via the use of the media and state beef councils that they control. As a rancher I see more concern by this vendor in grabbing more money and less concern with promoting my product. It is my understanding that an ongoing audit of the NCBA’s use of checkoff funds has revealed over $300,000 in misuses and the audit is far from over.

This vendor is obviously not suited with the ability to handle beef promotion as the beef checkoff was intended and I for one think that the CBB needs to look elsewhere to spend my money to get more bang for the buck.  I don’t know who is doing the advertising for the cigarette companies but they print right on their product that it is going to kill you and people still want to buy them! Maybe CBB needs to go to Madison Avenue and find a vendor that will work for the promotion of the beef industry and not just themselves.


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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


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