Beef producers in Montana must consent to keep Beef Checkoff funds in Montana control
September 29, 2017
If Montana cattle producers want to retain half of their checkoff dollar in Montana, they must now sign an affirmative consent authorizing the Montana Beef Council to retain the funds and return the form as soon as possible (and before selling cattle, if possible). According to the Beef Promotion and Research Act, all cattle producers selling cattle or calves, for any reason and regardless of age or sex, must pay a $1-per head assessment. Normally, half of the mandatory beef checkoff collection dollars would stay in Montana control for the Montana Beef Council Board of Directors to invest with partners to build demand for beef. However, a June 21 court order, has changed the way funds are directed. Now, all funds are required to be sent to the Cattlemen's Beef Board and the only way they will return to Montana is if Montana producers sign a consent form.
If beef producers do not sign the consent form, the funds will remain with the Cattlemen's Beef Board for use on national programs and projects. For producers wanting a portion of their checkoff funds to remain in Montana, they must sign and return a Producer Request Form. Producer Request to Retain Beef Checkoff Assessment Form are available at the Montana Beef Council homepage. Visit: http://www.montanabeefcouncil.org.
As of today, 463 forms are signed in the office. According to the Montana Department of Livestock there are approximately 45,000 beef producers in the state. The Montana Beef Council approved a budget last week of 1,720,000 as estimated beef checkoff collections for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins on October 1. This number is always an estimate as to how many Montana cattle will be marketed over the October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018 time period.
According to Jim Taber, Montana Beef Council president and Shawmut, Montana, rancher, "All Montana producers can access the form by calling or emailing the Montana Beef Council office or visiting our website at http://www.MontanaBeefCouncil.org. The forms can be completed on a monthly or annual basis. By signing the form, producers are allowing for state control of fifty cents. With these funds, the Montana Beef Council board will invest these dollars with partners to build beef demand. Examples of these projects can be seen on our annual report on our website, or you can always call any of our board members or staff to learn more."
Many beef producers are still unaware of the recent changes made to the Montana Beef Checkoff. Brand inspectors, livestock auctions, and word of mouth between producers are slowly spreading the word.