Secretary Vilsack announced this week that he is setting plans in motion for a second beef checkoff.
Time for two beef checkoff programs? As far-fetched as it sounds, that could be the reality in just over a year.
Scott George is the immediate past president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Northern Ag Network spoke with him Thursday morning. He let us know that on Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack assembled a meeting of the Beef Checkoff Working Group in which eight of the 11 organizations in that group were represented.
In those discussions, George told us the Secretary announced that he was going to implement a new checkoff program for beef by January of 2016. He said the program was going to be operated under the 1996 Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act (generally known as the General Commodities Program). The new checkoff program, according to Secretary Vilsack, would be separate from the existing Beef Checkoff, and would be up for a referendum in three years.
While there are still a lot of details to be made clear and all changes will be open for public comment, this means that there could be two checkoffs for the cattle industry running simultaneously.
According to George, three groups were not in attendance at that meeting. Two, he knows, were not invited. Those were the Federation of State Beef Councils and the Cattlemen's Beef Board.
© Northern Ag Network 2014