Iversen: Where’s the Beef…“Checkoff“ ?
The Beef Check Off was enacted in 1985 and implemented in 1988 which is over 30 years ago. A lot has changed since then. I would expect a properly functioning Checkoff would need to evolve as well. Bringing the Checkoff to a referendum does not mean one does not support a Checkoff. To me, it means that a person is simply not satisfied with the way it is currently run and how the money is being spent!
A Beef Checkoff paid for by American ranchers and feeders that cannot promote the importance of American raised cattle and beef to the sustainability of our rural economies and environment is criminal! US cattlemen are in essence funding their own demise that will drive the final mail in the coffin of the independent American cattleman and feeder.
It used to be chicken and pork that beef was competing for “shelf space” for at the retail level. This is also changing. Beyond Meat, Meatless Meat and the Impossible Burger are emerging as an alternative to real meat. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to utilize beef checkoff dollars to study and educate consumers on the effects of plant based protein products as a meat substitute to the environment and to human safety? And what about the myths that cattle are ruining our environment? Checkoff funds should be committed to further study and explain the benefits of carbon sequestration and improved plant diversity to grazing livestock.
I support a checkoff that promotes what I am producing, or at least beef that is born, raised and processed in the US under our stringent safety standards. If this is a violation of the National Act and Order than it is time to amend it or they can stop using my dollar to promote generic beef.
Question…Why is the consumer not knowledgeable about the food their family consumes? If consumers do not understand the safety and importance of beef that is born, raised and processed in the United States as well as the importance to the economy of the ranchers and feeders that produce it, then our Beef Checkoff has failed us!
I have heard from the “experts” that test studies conclude that the American consumer does not care where their beef supply comes from and are not willing to pay a premium for it. I don’t for a second believe this! I mean look at how important image is to the American consumer…(ie. Under Armour, Patagonia, North Face, etc). What Minneapolis soccer mom wouldn’t spend a little more on beef for their family that is of the highest quality and raised under the most stringent safety standards in the world? If these test studies were true it’s because we have misled consumers through trickery (Product of the USA labels and USDA labels) and deception!
In fact, I would argue that beef prices from American raised cattle would not have to bring higher prices. Rather, beef from countries outside the US should bring less in the grocery store and food service industry.
Please, if you care about the cattle industry and the beef that you provide to your customer and family, I urge you to get involved. If something isn’t done soon the landscape of South Dakota and other places will drastically change. Our rural communities that so depend on agriculture will be influenced as well.
If you are a cattle producer, retailer, grocer or own a restaurant, I can’t stress enough to get involved and let your voice be heard. We need our independent American cattle producers and feeders to return to profitable levels so we can continue to keep our local communities viable and our main streets and schools vibrant. And above all we need to keep our food security and not become reliant and dependent on beef from other countries or processing facilities owned by foreign investments that do not have America’s best interest in mind.
Iversen Angus Ranch
Mellette County, SD
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the July 24, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News