Cattle producers propose state checkoff

The Michigan Beef Industry Commission is considering a proposal that would reinstate a state beef checkoff.

Executive Director George Quackenbush tells Brownfield the Commission’s budget structure hasn’t changed in nearly 40 years but consumers have.

“Less than a third of Michigan consumers have a positive perception of how cattle are raised for food, and that’s concerning quite frankly,” he shares.  “We need to do a better job of educating consumers about what beef producers do.”

Quackenbush says Michigan’s cattle herd has remained similar in size despite consolidation and growth in the state’s dairy industry.  The Commission receives half of the current $1 per head checkoff on animals, the rest supports the national checkoff.

“Due to the depreciation over the years, that dollar now has the buying power of just 36 cents and we’ve really seen the effectiveness of our revenue stream be depleted,” he says.

Listening sessions are planned for later this month to take public comment ahead of the board’s July meeting which will review and decide a proposal for a state checkoff.  There are state-level checkoffs currently in 18 states.

Quackenbush says additional funding would help the Commission increase visibility and education efforts while continuing to build consumer trust.

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