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We Need the Beef Checkoff for the Future

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Mark Eisele

U.S. cattle producers do a great job of consistently producing high-quality beef. To ensure consumers continue to demand our product and recognize the great attributes of beef, we need the marketing, promotion and research of the Beef Checkoff.

Opponents of the Beef Checkoff have allied themselves with radical animal rights activists to push for the deceptively named Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act.

I know some people don’t like the checkoff, but being on the same side as known animal rights groups is making a deal with the devil.

The leaders of Farm Action Fund have spent their careers at the Humane Society of the U.S., and other groups backing the OFF Act include Animals Are Sentient Beings, Inc., a group that says because of animals’ feelings we should no longer eat meat; Attorneys for Animals, a law firm which sues to treat animals as individuals; Four Paws, a group trying to end livestock hauling in Europe and Mercy for Animals, whose mission is ending “the exploitation of animals for food.”

The last thing we need is pressure from activist groups trying to put us out of business.

The checkoff is doing important work to keep consumers buying beef. Checkoff-funded work places beef ads in the media, pushes back on false reporting which claims cattle are killing the planet and keeps our consumers informed of the latest food safety and nutrition research.

As mainstream media puts the climate blame on ranchers and activists continue to attack us, we need to band together to promote our product, and the Beef Checkoff does just this.

OFF Act proponents have claimed the bill strengthens transparency and oversight of checkoffs, but existing federal law already requires checkoffs to release their budgets, undergo regular audits and prohibits the use of checkoff dollars for public policy.

What the bill does do is prevent checkoff boards from contracting with the groups they want to. I firmly believe the producers who serve on these boards should be making decisions, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

As for transparency, just go online and you’ll see all of the Beef Checkoff budgets and audits, so you know exactly where your dollar goes.

Furthermore, checkoff contractors do not receive payment until the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board have accepted the proposed project and approved of the work completed.

All potential contractors to the checkoff must go through this process.

With the enemies we face, we really need the support of the Beef Checkoff to tell our story and keep consumers buying beef.

This will ensure our way of life can continue for our children and grandchildren. I urge you to listen to the facts and tell Congress to keep their hands out of the checkoff.

Mark Eisele, rancher and general partner of the King Ranch Company in Cheyenne, is the president of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association. He can be reached by visiting

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