A Sutherland, Nebraska, rancher has agreed to pay $2,854 in assessments, late fees, and civil penalties to the Nebraska Beef Council and USDA to settle a case involving alleged violations of the Beef Promotion and Research Act. John Streiff entered into a settlement agreement, which requires the payment of the base assessment, late fees and continued compliance with the checkoff act.

"We're very pleased that this case has finally been resolved," said Sallie Atkins, executive director, Nebraska Beef Council. "The Cattlemen's Beef Board and the checkoff was established to implement programs designed to strengthen the beef industry's position in the market place and maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets for beef and beef products."

The decision to settle out of court was reached by John Streiff before a hearing was scheduled with a USDA Administrative Law Judge. Streiff has paid overdue checkoff assessments with late payment charges and a civil penalty. With John Streiff's agreement closing the case, there are only three cases pending litigation out of approximately 1.2 million producers. By far, the vast majority of cases are resolved at the state or Cattlemen's Beef Board level long before they reach the litigation stage – the last resort in compliance enforcement.

The beef checkoff program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill and assesses beef and dairy producers $1 per head at the time of sale. The checkoff is collected by qualified state beef councils, which may retain up to fifty cents and forward the rest to the Cattlemen's Beef Board. Checkoff revenues may only be used for promotion, education and research programs to improve the marketing climate for beef. The beef checkoff assessment became mandatory when the program was approved by 79 percent of producers in a 1988 national referendum vote.

The Cattlemen's Beef Board oversees the national one-dollar-per-head beef checkoff program including planning, budgeting, evaluating programs, collecting checkoff assessments, assuring compliance with the Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order and certifying state beef councils. The CBB's 110 members are appointed by and held accountable to the Secretary of Agriculture. Board members represent all segments of the beef industry including beef, veal and dairy producers, and importers.

National Cattlemen's Beef Association