Jones: Ads for beef in Montana might cease | TSLN.com

Jones: Ads for beef in Montana might cease

Jerry Jones
Kirby, Montana

Montana cattlemen and women have always been leaders when it comes to beef promotion. In fact, Montana's cattlemen were responsible for one of the first two state beef councils ever established, created way back in 1954.

That's why it concerns me that attacks – many of them coming from outside of our state, and many of them coming from people with no stake in cattle production – are threatening the Montana Beef Council and the checkoff on which it depends.

As a producer and a past president of Montana Beef Council, this is disturbing. We have a lot more to lose in this travesty than just our legacy and our history. We have a strong and effective set of beef promotion programs, established and overseen by the producers serving on the Montana Beef Council, and supported by thousands of beef producers throughout the state.

Among the programs threatened are in-state "Beef. It's What's For Dinner" radio ads reaching consumers throughout Montana. Many Montana CattleWomen events also are being threatened. The ladies of this organization go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to promoting beef. If MBC can't fund this organization who will educate the young kids in school as well as other consumers?

Retailers in the state will not be receiving support for summer grilling or holiday promotions. Our social media presence will be cut, as will our outreach to state "foodie" bloggers and media professionals. The MBC beef programs we had planned at Montana State University and the University of Montana football games have already been eliminated.

The BBQ Cook-Off we supported in Absarokee? Less focus on beef to the thousands of barbecue enthusiasts. It was a huge success for the promotion of beef brisket, but the Montana Beef Council can no longer support it.

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Make no mistake, the $1-per-head checkoff will by law still be collected, but now instead of keeping half of that dollar in Montana the entire dollar will be sent to the Cattlemen's Beef Board, which will determine where your checkoff dollars will be spent.

In my opinion, Montana producers should do two things: 1) sign an affidavit to ask that half of their checkoff dollar stay in the state, as is allowed in the Beef Promotion Act and Order; and 2) demand an explanation from the beef producers who brought this calamity on us. The lawsuits that brought about this disaster should be thoroughly exposed, and the people responsible should answer for their folly.

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