Letter to the Editor: Only cattle producers should decide on North Dakota checkoff

Mike Heaton
Mckenzie ND

Dear editor,

There’s a long list of people and groups to “thank” for the passage of HB 1238 by the North Dakota Legislature, which will double the beef checkoff for ranchers in the state. That list includes the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association board and staff, the ND Beef Commission and staff, ND Corn Growers, Soybean Council and, of course, our legislators. We can start thanking them by dropping our memberships and not attending any sales by seed stock producers who supported this effort. A more important message will be sent by applying for your checkoff refunds, and that includes all of the commodity groups involved. If you don’t appreciate other commodity groups weighing in on a bill that doesn’t affect them, let’s thank them for sticking their nose in our business by applying for a refund of our corn checkoff. Maybe the corn growers should think about minding their own business since $3 corn in the 21st century isn’t much to brag about. And perhaps we should all quit burning ethanol, supporting the Arabs is no worse than the corn checkoff.

Checkoff programs aren’t a self-help program; they all turn into a “help yourself to my money” program. Before we add more money to the flawed beef checkoff we need to fix its problems. I look at doubling the checkoff like being at the Black Jack table – I’ve already busted but I’m being forced to double down on my bet.

Most of those who support commodity checkoffs are those who get all-expense paid trips, motel rooms, airfare and all the bells and whistles- just add it up and you’ll find that checkoff board members receive back in benefits far more than they pay in.

It’s more than disappointing that the North Dakota Legislature didn’t see any value in letting producers decide if we wanted to be saddled with this added expense. All we asked for was to be allowed to vote. Apparently, that’s too much in North Dakota.