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Beef Checkoff Program Arkansas History

The Arkansas Beef Checkoff program

In 1983, cattle industry groups in Arkansas supported and the Arkansas Legislature passed enabling legislation to create the Arkansas Beef Checkoff program for beef research and promotion.  As called for in Act 160 of 1983, collection of assessments under this program could not begin until cattle producers, themselves, voted in favor of the program in a producer referendum.  This referendum vote was conducted in the summer of 1983 and resulted in an 80% favorable vote among producers.  Collection began ($0.25 per head) in October of 1983.  Along with establishing the assessment rate, the Arkansas Beef Council was created as the governing board to administer the funds collected under this program.

Much discussion and deliberation existed across the country over the need to unify each individual state’s efforts in beef promotion and research. National cattle industry groups developed proposed national legislation to allow for a more structured and coordinated beef checkoff program.

Congress created the Beef Promotion and Research Act, the “Beef Checkoff Program,” with passage of the 1985 Farm Bill. Collections began on Oct. 1, 1986; producers approved making the Beef Checkoff Program mandatory in 1988, with 79 percent voting in favor of it.

Producers asked that the checkoff program be built on these tenets:

  • All producers and importers pay the equivalent of $1 per head every time a beef animal is sold throughout its lifetime.
  • State beef councils collect the dollar per head and must submit at least half of those assessments – 50 cents of every dollar — to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for investment in the national checkoff program. Each state beef council determines how to invest the remaining 50 cents per head in approved state or national checkoff programs.
  • All national checkoff-funded programs are budgeted and evaluated by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, a stand-alone organization of checkoff-paying producer volunteers who administer the Beef Checkoff Program.
  • Cattlemen’s Beef Board producer members — beef, dairy and veal producers and importers — are nominated by producer organizations in their states and appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.