Beef Buzz News
Beef Industry Leaders Seek Solutions to Checkoff Dollar Erosion
Mon, 07 Jan 2013 14:10:26 CST
Scott Dewald talks about enhancing the value of Beef Checkoff dollars.
It’s no secret that, over the years, inflation has eroded the purchasing power of the dollar. The dollar is worth far less now that it was in the 1980s when the dollar-a-head Beef Checkoff program was begun.
Scott Dewald, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, has been working with other cattle industry leaders seeking solutions to this problem. He recently returned from a meeting in Denver in which enhancements to the checkoff program were discussed. He spoke to Radio Oklahoma Farm Director Ron Hays about those discussions.
“Quite frankly, there are several things that could be done to make the value of the dollar we currently have worth a little more. There could be some tweaks to the act and the order. And, then, beyond that do we have an opportunity to raise the checkoff?” Dewald Said.
“The reality is that we don’t have as much money by today’s dollar value as we did back in ’86 when the original act was passed. We just don’t have the purchasing power to go out and by TV. We don’t have the purchasing power to get in front of the consumers as much as we should be able to. And so I think you will see a move made for a possible enhancement to the checkoff. Will that be another dollar? Another 50 cents? Will it be state by state? Those questions are yet to be answered. We saw Ohio try to do a dollar increase in their checkoff for state programs that failed. So we’ve got to be careful. Whatever we do has got to make sense and there’s got to be a succinct, quantifiable reason for doing it. I would tell you that the funds from the checkoff need to be enhanced greatly if we want to be competitive.”
Oklahoma once had its own checkoff, but backed off in favor of the national checkoff. Could Oklahoma pursue a separate state checkoff as well?
“I think anything is possible. One of the things that has changed in the last ten years in Oklahoma is that now the secretary of agriculture can call for a referendum on any commodity. It doesn’t have to be legislated. At the end of the day, whatever might be decided, the people still have the option to vote or the opportunity to vote on that,” Dewald said.
“Part of me really likes the idea and the notion that an organized, orchestrated national campaign with dollars behind it makes a little more sense than sporadic programs out there doing their own thing, so to speak. So, I tend to place a little more value on a national checkoff that is orchestrated, coordinated, and has a distinct purpose and goal in mind. That’s not to say that state checkoffs aren’t effective. They are, but you’ll lose all that synergy of all those dollars coming together and trying to do one thing and that’s to enhance beef demand.”
Dewald says that Alabama has its own state add-on to the checkoff and other states are considering it at this time.
“I would say if we’re not able to increase the national checkoff and make it more robust then, obviously there’s going to be more incentive to do it state by state.
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