What is the National Beef Checkoff?

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. The checkoff assessment became mandatory when the program was approved by 79 percent of producers in a 1988 national referendum vote.

The checkoff is collected by qualified state beef councils, which retain up to 50 cents on the dollar. The state councils forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which oversees the national checkoff program, subject to USDA review. The 103 members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board represent all segments of the beef industry, including beef, veal and dairy producers, as well as cattle and beef importers, and are nominated by industry organizations and importers and appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

The structure of the Beef Checkoff Program is based on the following directives:

  • All producers and importers pay the same $1 per head.
  • Producers in the state control one half of the money collected by state beef councils.
  • All national checkoff-funded programs are budgeted and evaluated by the Beef Board.
  • Beef Board members are nominated by fellow beef producers.

What can the checkoff do?

The Beef Checkoff acts as a catalyst for change. The checkoff doesn’t own cattle, packing plants or retail outlets. It can’t single-handedly turn around a bad market. The checkoff program was designed to stimulate others to sell more beef and stimulate consumers to buy more beef. This can be accomplished through initiatives such as consumer advertising, marketing partnerships, public relations, education, research and new-product development.

What can't the checkoff do?

By law, checkoff funds cannot be used to promote particular breeds or brands without prior approval from the Beef Board Executive Committee and USDA, nor can they be used to influence government policy or action, including lobbying.

For more information, please visit MyBeefcheckoff.com