A bill is moving through the Indiana General Assembly to establish a $1 per head state beef checkoff program that would exist in addition to the federal beef checkoff. Indiana Beef Cattle Association Executive Director Joe Moore says the reason for the state check off is finances, “The federal checkoff has existed since 1986 and has been a dollar since that time, of which Indiana gets 50 cents. Today that dollar has about 40 cents of spending power.” Moore said federal check off revenues are also down because fewer head of cattle are being marketed in the state, “We are simply not seeing enough assessments coming our way.”
The addition of a state checkoff program would not only help boost promotional activities in the state, but would also allow investment in production research. “Federal dollars can only be used to promotion, but our state funds would be used to fund feeding trials at Purdue or other research that would help producers produce beef better,” said Moore.
He added that any producer who felt the additional $1 assessment would be a financial burden can request a refund as the state program would have a refund provision which the federal program does not. So far, said Moore, most cattle producers are in favor of the program, “Folks that are involved in beef production understand you have to invest in the industry. They understand we are severely underfunded and need additional funds.”
The funds would be managed by a group of checkoff-paying producers. The legislation has cleared the House and is expected to go before the Senate Ag committee this week.