The Beef Checkoff offers both national, and state, programs the potential for supporting a range of programs. In Montana, the Montana Beef Council has set a plan for the new fiscal year, which kicked off Oct. 1. The programs approved would be funded through the state’s 50-cent in-state portion of the $1-per-head Beef Checkoff.
However, Montana producers must provide affirmative consent to the council to retain that portion of the assessment. In a recent meeting, the MBC board of directors — made up of volunteers, including members from nearly all segments of the beef supply chain — approved checkoff funding for 20 demand-building and producer-communication-project funding requests.
Jim Taber, MBC president, notes that the board aims to invest in a range of programs to showcase beef. “We are still here, and we still have a lot of work to do,” he says.
Taber, who is a cow-calf producer and backgrounder from Shawmut, Mont., noted that the group will spend the remainder of its time and funding to seek more consent dollars from producers and “share the value of the checkoff.”
Projects in the works
The board preliminarily approved requests from 16 different organizations that will work to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products. Here’s a list of what was approved:
• $17,175 for in-state education programs and materials, including classroom education, farm fairs and a pasture-to-plate tour for the media and chefs
• $33,890 for promotional programs and materials, focusing on in-state tradeshows, consumer radio and digital advertising; and a barbecue cook-off, an innovative beef competition, a foodservice partnership and a targeted consumer event in the U.S. Northeast
• $9,500 for the Montana Beef Quality Assurance program
• $103,000 for in-state producer communications, which includes producer outreach using television, digital and radio communication as well as direct communications to producers about checkoff results and the consent form process
• $31,000 for national travel for representation of Montana producers by the elected Federation of State Beef Council and U.S. Meat Export Federation Directors
Other anticipated expenses include $324,350 for administration, which includes mandatory collection expenses, consent form processing, office leases, insurance, equipment, office supplies, postage, telephone, Department of Livestock administration expenses, board expenses, in-state travel for programs and producer communication, and administrative staff compensation for program implementation.
Checkoff collection remains mandatory; however, the programs listed above will only be carried out by Montana Beef Council after Montana producers complete and return the Producer Consent to Fund Montana Beef Council form, available at montanabeefcouncil.org or by calling the Montana Beef Council at 406-656-3336.