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Beef Buzz News

NCBA CEO Pushes for Further Improvement to Original Beef Checkoff

Fri, 14 Nov 2014 14:32:12 CST

NCBA CEO Pushes for Further Improvement to Original Beef Checkoff

Beef Industry leaders are beginning to weigh in on a proposal by the US Department of Agriculture to create a second beef checkoff. Radio Oklahoma Network Director Ron Hays caught up with National Cattlemen's Beef Association Chief Executive Officer Forest Roberts at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting meeting going on this week in Kansas City. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to the full interview.

Hays asked Roberts specifically what NCBA's message will be to US Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack who has called upon farm organizations and individual cattle producers to answer specific questions about the beef checkoff proposal in the Federal Register. Vilsack's proposal would create a duplicative, separate beef checkoff, under the 1996 Generic Act, instead of under the original 1985 Act and Order that created the current $1 per ahead checkoff used today. Roberts said NCBA does not support creating a new checkoff, but would rather continue to make changes and improvements to the current checkoff.   

"The message is very straight forward and that is allow us to continue working to bring a solution forward that is supported beef producers and not try to take a approach that is a solution that's delivered by the federal government," Roberts said. "Producers want to be able to have a continued say in what as to what is their program and have ownership in those decisions. So that's our ask, that's our perspective and that's how we are going to continue to lead forward."

It appears NCBA will not be answering the questions directly that Secretary Vilsack has asked in the Federal Register and that he is seeking input on by December 10th. Instead they are going to put their faith in the Beef Checkoff Working Group. Roberts said the group will be meeting in early December and he looks to schedule a second meeting in late February.

"A lot of the major organizations that are apart of the Beef Check Enhancement Working Group will have their annual convention between the month of December and the middle of February," Roberts said. "So we need to make sure that whatever the recommendations are that are coming from the working group, they are allowed to be able to bring those back to their stockholders, provide input and ultimately gain support and alignment so when we come back together in late February we've got a solution that we can all be behind, we can all move forward with and we think that's what is going to be most successful. So by the end of February we think we are going to have a great idea about what this solution is going to look like."

Hays also asked Roberts about the intentions of Secretary Vilsack has with this checkoff proposal. Roberts said he believes Vilsack's intentions are to find a way to get more resources into an industry that needs more resources.

"The beef industry has been very successful in creating demand globally for beef, so his intensions why I think they are very pure, the approach that he is taking is one that as I talk to producers from all around the country, no matter what affiliation they may have, the first thing that they say is, I want to have a program that I can ensure me or one of my peers as beef producers are the ones making decisions on how those funds are used," Roberts said. " Not something that is being further more managed by the federal government. So that tends to be the difference of philosophy. So its not one philosophy is better than the others, its really what is the philosophy that is going to be required to gain the most support by the majority of beef producers in this country and that we believe strongly is enhancing the current program under the 1985 Act and Order."

Only two cattle groups seem to have much interest in a separate beef checkoff as proposed by Secretary Tom Vilsack - US Cattlemen's Association and R-CALF USA.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



Ron Hays interview NCBA CEO Forest Roberts at NAFB Convention
right-click to download mp3


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