July 17, 2023
Last week Rep. Barry Moore, R- Ala., introduced legislation supporting commodity research and promotion boards. More commonly knowns as “checkoff” programs, these efforts fund research and help producers from various agriculture sectors expand market opportunities.
“Checkoff programs have made significant, measurable strides in raising the level of demand and awareness for our farmers, ranchers and foresters' products," Moore says. "This resolution expresses Congressional support for checkoffs due to the research, education and promotion efforts they have provided to our producers."
Moore’s resolution has already garnered plenty of support. Among the organizations endorsing his legislation are the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cotton Council, American Soybean Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Milk Producers Federation, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, International Fresh Produce Association, American Mushroom Institute, American Sheep Industry Association, American Wood Council, National Christmas Tree Association, National Potato Council, National Pecan Federation, National Sorghum Producers, National Watermelon Association, North American Blueberry Council, U.S. Peanut Federation, Alabama Farmers Federation, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas Sheep & Goat Raisers Association and Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
In the bill, Moore notes that each of the 22 authorized research and production boards has reported significant returns on investments. The Fluid Milk Processors Promotion Board estimates a $4.78 return for every dollar invested. The National Pork Board reports a $25.50 return for every dollar invested.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association policy division chair Gene Copenhaver notes that the beef checkoff is probably best known for its “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” campaign that launched in 1992. However, he says the checkoff’s benefits go far beyond advertising. He cites the development of new beef cuts as well as animal welfare and sustainability efforts within the cattle industry as ways in which the checkoff program has benefitted producers and consumers.
For every cattle sold, $1 goes to support the beef checkoff program. The producer-led Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which is overseen by USDA, helps industry organizations, research institutions and land grant universities develop proposals to strengthen beef demand through research, consumer education and marketing efforts.
According to statistics provided by the Board, the beef checkoff program boasts an $11.91 return on every $1 invested. It is also credited with increasing American beef demand by more than 12 billion pounds. "The checkoff has made sure that beef is at the center of Americans' dinner plates for generations while providing a strong return on investment to cattle producers,” Copenhaver says. “I am proud to pay into the checkoff and know that this collective effort does way more for my operation and this industry than I could do own my own.”
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