Cattlemen surveyed support checkoff, but want changes

US - A nationwide survey of over 8,000 beef producers conducted by the Gallup Organization on the checkoff issued Thursday evening appeared to produce something for everyone. The survey, done as part of the settlement that ended the Livestock Marketing Association's (LMA) legal challenge against the beef checkoff, confirmed over 72% of beef producers approve of the checkoff to some degree, though just over 20% strongly approve
calendar icon 27 January 2007
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Still, during a teleconference with reporters Friday to discuss the survey's findings, Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) Chairman Jay O’Brien said the results vindicate previous surveys commissioned by the checkoff itself.

"What it confirmed was the overwhelming support for the checkoff among producers," O'Brien declared.

But Livestock Marketing Association President Jim Santomaso told reporters the survey showed even stronger support for making changes to the beef checkoff in three specific areas.

"Those three areas are opening up the beef checkoff contracting process, producer views on a periodic referendum and the use of checkoff dollars to promote U.S. beef," said Santomaso.

The survey results due tend to bear Santomaso's statement out. The survey noted that the beef checkoff, by law, must "contract with national, non-profit, beef industry-governed organizations" to implement its programs. But 66% responded favorably when asked, "Would you approve or disapprove of allowing the Beef Board to contract directly with ANY eligible entity...?"

On the matter of conducting a periodic referendum on the checkoff itself, the survey results were even more conclusive. More than 82% either strongly or somewhat approved of holding a recurrent vote on continuing the dollar-per-head assessment. But that didn't signal opposition to the checkoff. 77% said if given the opportunity, they would vote to continue the program. And an overwhelming majority, 78% the dollar-per-head checkoff assessment should stay at its current level.

Source: Brownfield
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