North Dakota interim ag and natural resources committee to take up Beef Commission concerns
The North Dakota interim Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee will meet Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in the Roughrider room of the state capitol building in Bismarck, North Dakota.
The committee has been tasked with looking into the makeup and selection of the North Dakota Beef Commission members and also the operations of the NDBC.
Nancy Jo Bateman, Executive Director of the North Dakota Beef Commission is scheduled to address the interim committee at 11:15 a.m. Central Time. She will give details on the operations and membership of the beef commission, the amount of revenue generated by the beef checkoff, and the use of beef checkoff revenue. I-BAND President Kerry Dockter and Vice President Frank Tomac will address the Committee at about 12:45 p.m. with their organization’s concerns about the NDBC membership, operations and the checkoff system as a whole.
From 1:05 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. other interested parties may share thoughts about the NDBC.
The NDBC collects the mandatory $1 federal beef checkoff as well as the $1 mandatory refundable state beef checkoff. The NDBC maintains half of the federal checkoff dollar and the entire state checkoff dollar, which amounts to a total of about $1.5 million each year. The commission’s largest expenditure is research, at $423,287. The second largest expenditure is administration/operations at about $400,335.
During the 2021 legislative session, many producers across the state testified in favor of a bill to make the state beef checkoff voluntary rather than mandatory. Some of the producers and members of the committee testified that because all of the members of the North Dakota Beef Commission are appointed by the governor, with almost all of them being members of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, some producers don’t feel like their voices are being heard at commission meetings.
Others complained that they encountered difficulty in obtaining their refunds.
State law prevents producers who request a refund from being eligible to sit on the NDBC, even though all producers who sell cattle are contributing to the NDBC’s budget through the federal checkoff, even if they obtain a refund of state checkoff dollars.
Because of this, producers who request a refund of their state checkoff dollars are also ineligible to hold a seat on the Federation of State Beef Councils (a committee of NCBA that oversees funds voluntarily contributed by state beef councils – including over $500,000 contributed annually by the NDBC. NDBC’s contribution includes both federal and state checkoff dollars, so many producers who contribute their mandatory federal checkoff dollars are ineligible to serve on both boards because they request their state checkoff refund.).
The interim committee will discuss its study of the fiscal and safety impacts of United States Fish and Wildlife Service easements in North Dakota on the Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, and counties.
The committee agenda can be viewed here.
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