Members of the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group, which includes NCBA, have drafted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to record commitment of the organizations involved to pursue proposed changes in the program. Others represented on the working group include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American National CattleWomen, Livestock Marketing Association, Meat Import Council of America, National Livestock Producers Association, National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.

The proposal would require legislative changes in the 1985 Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order. Within a year of the legislation being signed, a referendum would be conducted on whether to increase the current checkoff by $1.00 per head to a total national rate of $2.00. The second dollar would be available for refund to checkoff payers if requested.

According to the MOU, USDA would publicize a 30-day period every five years during which checkoff stakeholders could initiate a referendum on the continuation of the program or an increase in the assessment rate. This referendum would be triggered if 10% of those paying the assessment requested a vote on a specific question.

Assessments would continue to be collected by state beef councils, which would have the ability to retain 50% of the amount.

The MOU calls for inclusion of national beef industry organizations in the Beef Promotion Operating Committee nomination process. It maintains the current makeup of the Operating Committee with 10 members from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and 10 from the Federation of State Beef Councils, ensuring the continuation of a strong state and national partnership.

KLA policy supports provisions of the MOU. NCBA members will further discuss the proposal during policy meetings at the Cattle Industry Convention, February 4-7 in San Antonio.