N.D. to become 8th state to raise beef checkoff fee

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North Dakota is following actions by seven other states with plans to double the beef checkoff on the state level by 2015.

Although a change hasn’t been made on a national scale in almost 30 years, a handful of states have made the move to increase the fee. The Associated Press reports the North Dakota Stockmen's Association must prove an increase is necessary in order to as the 2015 Legislature to raise the checkoff fee by a dollar.

The raise would double the per-head fee, but shrinking herd sizes have brought in less money for the checkoff as fewer sales have occurred since consecutive years of drought resulted in herd liquidation.

The checkoff program keeps half of the fee in the state and sends the other half to the national beef checkoff program. Stockmen's Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson told the Associated Press the falling cattle supplies and inflation mean the dollar collected from every sale has less than half of the buying power it had when the dollar-per-head level was set in 1985.

Checkoff funds promote beef to consumers, an increasingly important action as consumers weigh the value of beef as retail prices continue higher.

Rep. Dennis Johnson, R-Devils Lake, said the request is likely to be approved if members want it and lawmakers can justify the increase. Stockmen’s members approved the increase at an annual convention three months ago. Record high cattle prices make the dollar increase more manageable.

The increase would send a dollar to the national fund and keep the other dollar within the state. Producers could request a refund for the dollar remaining in North Dakota, potentially wiping out the increase.

Alabama, Idaho, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Washington have already approved a checkoff increase at the state level.

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December, 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM

I agree the checkoff amount needs to be raised, but this article leaves out one important fact. The dollar is collected every time an animal is sold. So if I sell a calf to a grower, a dollar is collected, then if the grower sells the same calf to a feedyard, a dollar is collected, then when the same calf is sold to the packer, a dollar is collected. That is a total of $3 per head, not just a dollar per head. Maybe these states should look into a fifty cent raise, or make a deal that says they won't raise it again for another 30 years. $6 per head should be quite enough for that.

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