Iowa cattle producers sign petition for state checkoff

Collection will begin March 2017 if referendum passes this fall.

More than 500 cattle producers in Iowa have signed a petition for a referendum to reinstate the Iowa beef checkoff.

The state checkoff was in effect prior to the creation of the federal beef checkoff in 1986. Members and leaders of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Assn. (ICA) are interested in reinstating the checkoff to further invest in Iowa’s beef industry.

While the federal checkoff has remained steady at $1 per head since 1986, several states have instituted state checkoffs. The federal checkoff funds, which are subject to federal government rules, are used for beef promotion and research. The state checkoff would be assessed at 50 cents on each head of Iowa cattle sold. ICA said the money could be used more flexibly than the federal checkoff, although its uses would be limited to those outlined in Iowa Code Chapter 181.

ICA surveyed its members last fall and used those results to align Chapter 181 with current beef industry needs. The priorities outlined in the survey results and the code include:
•          Marketing and promoting Iowa’s beef and beef products;
•          Enhancing Iowa’s beef industry image;
•          Production research;
•          Expanding international trade relationships;
•          Providing producer, consumer and youth educational opportunities.

If the referendum passes, specific decisions on the administration of the funds would be made by the Iowa Beef Industry Council officer team, which includes five elected cattle producers, the Iowa secretary of agriculture, the dean of Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, a representative from the Livestock Market Assn. and two ICA producer members. The funds would be administered by the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

A petition to vote on the state beef checkoff was delivered to the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship on Sept. 2. The petition contains more than 500 signatures of cattle producers in the state of Iowa who are interested in a referendum.

The referendum will take place later this fall. If it passes, collection will begin March 1, 2017.

ICA said the Iowa beef checkoff will be mandatory, but refunds will be available to interested producers.

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