How It Works
National Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff program was established through the Beef Promotion and Research Act as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. The Checkoff assessment became mandatory when the program was approved by 79 percent of producers in a 1988 national referendum vote.
The checkoff is collected by qualified state beef councils, which retain up to 50 cents on the dollar. The state councils forward the remaining 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board (CBB), which oversees the national checkoff program, subject to USDA review. The 101 members of the CBB are nominated by fellow beef producers and represent all segments of the beef industry, including beef, veal and dairy farmers, as well as cattle and beef importers. Industry organizations nominate individuals for the board and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture appoints each board member.
The Beef Checkoff aims to build demand for beef and beef products, both domestically and internationally. The checkoff doesn't own cattle, packing plants or retail outlets. It can't single-handedly turn around a bad market. The checkoff program was designed to stimulate others to sell more beef and stimulate consumers to buy more beef through initiatives such as consumer advertising, marketing partnerships, public relations, education, research and new-product development help to increase beef demand.
By law, checkoff funds cannot be used to promote specific breeds or brands without prior approval from the Beef Board Executive Committee and USDA, nor can they be used to influence government policy or action, including lobbying.
Texas Beef Checkoff
The Texas Beef Checkoff is the state-level promotion, marketing, research and education program for beef and beef products. Like the National Beef Checkoff, the Texas Beef Checkoff is producer funded and managed through a refundable $1 per head assessment on cattle at each point of ownership transfer in Texas. Payment of the Texas Beef Checkoff is mandatory; however, a refund is optional.
The Texas Beef Checkoff program is in addition to and may complement and extend National Beef Checkoff efforts. Unlike the national program, requiring fifty cents of every dollar collected sent to the CBB for programs, the entire Texas Beef Checkoff assessment is managed by Texas cattlemen and cattlewomen. Texas cattlemen and cattlewomen serving on the Beef Promotion and Research Council of Texas manage funds collected through the Texas Beef Checkoff program. The Texas Commissioner of Agriculture appoints council members from producers nominated by the Texas Beef Council that represent Texas beef producers.
The use of funds is limited by the parameters established in state law, which are beef promotion, marketing, research and consumer education for beef and beef products. The money can be used in Texas, the U.S. and/or internationally. Similar to the national program, state checkoff funds cannot be used for lobbying activities to influence public policy or government affairs.