Seventy-two percent of beef producers either strongly approved or somewhat approved of the Beef Checkoff Program, according to survey results announced Friday by USDA. The survey was conducted recently among beef, dairy, and veal producers nationwide.



From Oct. 4 through Nov. 21, 2006, the Gallup Organization, with oversight by USDA, interviewed 8,002 beef, dairy and veal producers across the nation to measure their attitudes regarding the Beef Checkoff Program. This program assesses $1-per-head on all cattle sold in the United States and $1-per-head equivalent on imported cattle, beef and beef products, to invest in programs aimed at increasing demand for beef and improving profit opportunities for cattle producers and importers who pay into the program.



USDA oversees the program, which is administered by the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board (Cattlemen's Beef Board).



The survey was conducted in response to a settlement agreement between Cattlemen's Beef Board and the Livestock Marketing Association as a result of a May 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision, which ruled the Beef Promotion and Research Act constitutional. Checkoff dollars funded the survey and the dissemination of its results.



Representatives of the USDA, Cattlemen's Beef Board, the Livestock Marketing Association, and the Federation of State Beef Councils worked together to develop the survey questions. Some highlights of the survey results are:


  • Seventy-two percent of those surveyed either strongly approved or somewhat approved of the Beef Checkoff Program. In a question on changes or improvements to the program, some respondents noted that they would like to see more advertising and more information about how checkoff funds are spent.


  • Sixty-six percent of those surveyed would strongly approve or somewhat approve of the Cattlemen's Beef Board contracting directly "with any entity, including businesses, university researchers, advertising and marketing agencies, and other consultants." Less than 25 percent would disapprove of this move. Currently, the Beef Promotion and Research Act requires that the Cattlemen's Beef Board contract only with "established national nonprofit industry-governed organizations ... to implement programs of promotion, research, consumer information and industry information."


  • Eighty-two percent of those surveyed would strongly approve or somewhat approve of "voting periodically on the continuation of the Beef Checkoff Program."


  • Ninety-two percent of those surveyed would strongly agree or somewhat agree that "if it were possible, all or at least some portion of the Beef Checkoff dollars should be used to promote only U.S. born and raised beef." Currently, the program promotes beef, in general, and importers also pay into the program at $1-per-head on live animal imports and a $1-per-head equivalent on beef products.



    Even if promoting only U.S. born and raised beef meant canceling the checkoff assessment on imported beef and beef products, 75.4 percent of the survey respondents still strongly or somewhat agree that a portion of the checkoff dollars should be used to promote only U.S. beef. Currently, about $8 million or 10 percent of the total assessments collected comes from imports.


  • Beef Producers Attitude Survey PDF online from USDA.



  • SOURCE: Drovers.com from USDA report.