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Maupin: OR Checkoff should promote US, OR beef

Jeff Maupin
Harney County Stockgrowers’ Association President
Jeff Maupin
Jeff Maupin

Director Wise,

Harney County Stockgrowers’ Association met on Monday, September 16, 2019. It was the consensus of our members that we need to address concerns producers have regarding the effectiveness of the Beef Checkoff. Every dollar of investment supposedly returns $11.00 to our pockets. Most of us in Harney County are cow/calf producers and we do not feel that we are receiving the return on investment. We own our calves from birth to 8-10 months and our margins have steadily declined over the last four years. Meanwhile, packers own finished cattle for ten days or less and their margins are at record highs.

The National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA) claims to be our industries’ voice, yet will not support common sense truth in labeling that would benefit American ranchers. With over 70% of Beef Council contracts going to NCBA, $40,000,000.00 is used to promote beef, not U.S.A. Beef. Our checkoff dollars are being utilized to promote foreign beef that is treated as a U.S domestic product (See U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); 9 CFR 327.2 and 9 CFR 327.18). Subsequently, packers are importing more and more beef into the U.S., depressing domestic cattle prices and driving many family owned cow/calf operations out of business.

We are not opposed to the original intent of the Checkoff. It has accomplished many great things that have benefited all sectors of beef production. Our local Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Service is a great example of that work. However, the original intent is becoming further removed from the present trajectory. In order to restore producer confidence, the Beef Checkoff program needs to be reformed. We are requesting that the Oregon State Beef Board initiate this reformation at the State and National level.

A pathway toward positive change can originate with the obligation of substantial funding toward advertising U.S., and particularly, Oregon State born, bred and butchered beef. During the 1990’s, one could see Sam Elliot on T.V. everyday, via commercial advertisement, touting “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner”. We, the producers, require you, the trustee of our hard earned money, to aggressively advertise our superior home-grown product and our increasingly threatened way of life. This could better be accomplished through allowing additional local, state and national beef advocacy groups access to Beef Checkoff funds. Currently, the list of “contractors” able to easily obtain Checkoff dollars is few, and those groups have a virtual monopoly on said funds. Lastly, transparency is expected. This is something that could and should be easily accomplished by the Beef Board. All producers that contribute to the Beef Checkoff ought to receive, at the least, an annual accounting of proceeds and payment disbursements along with a list of Beef Checkoff recipients and how they are utilizing the funds they have been granted.

Thank you for your time,

Jeff Maupin

Harney County Stockgrowers’ Association President




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