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FROM: INDEPENDENT CATTLEMEN OF NEBRASKA, Box 241, Hyannis, NE 69350 Phone: 308-282-2826

Media Contact: Mary Mulligan (402) 967-3464; Email:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 20, 2006


Hyannis, NE – ICON Director and R-CALF USA Checkoff Committee Chairman, Jim Hanna, participated in the recently-concluded Beef Checkoff Improvement Task Force meetings in Kansas City. “I was disappointed that the Task Force seemed to have a singular focus, that being to raise the Checkoff assessment to $2.00.

We knew going in that NCBA and its affiliate members represented a majority on the Task Force, and that getting serious consideration of our ideas was going to be difficult at best,” said Hanna.

The Task Force offered four basic recommendations for its members to take back to their respective organizations. Those were:

  • Raise the assessment to $2.00
  • Change the referendum process to require the USDA to survey producers every 5 years. If this survey process indicated support amounting to 10% of producers, then a referendum would be held within one year.
  • Change the contracting requirements to allow national organizations that came into existence after 1986 to be eligible to compete for Checkoff contracts.
  • Encourage the Federation of State Beef Councils to “enhance” its identity.

“We (R-CALF and ICON) supported the changes in the referendum process and contracting requirements, even though they were not exactly what we had hoped for,” commented Hanna. “We strongly opposed raising the assessment, as we felt other major structural changes needed to be addressed before we gave an increase any consideration. We also voted against the proposed enhancements to the Federation as these were cosmetic changes only and were being used to ‘pad’ the proposed increase in the assessment”.

He continued, “We brought a number of issues to the table that we felt were important to independent producers. Those were:

  • Requiring the Federation to become independent of the NCBA and allowing the Cattlemen’s Beef Board to contract directly with vendors
  • A MANDATORY periodic referendum
  • Using a portion of Checkoff funds to promote products from cattle that were “born and raised” in the U.S.
  • Continuation of discussions concerning expanding the assessment to fresh beef and beef products (packers).
  • Assurances that no one organization represents a majority on the CBB or the Operating Committee.

Owning to the fact that most of these concepts would either counter NCBA policy or reduce their influence over the Checkoff, the Task Force gave them little notice”.

“It is important to note that any major changes to the Act and Order, regardless of who recommends them, will require Congressional action, approval by the USDA, and finally, a vote by producers. It will be a long process--- in all likelihood, 2-3 years--- and at the end, you the producer, will ultimately decide if you want an increase in the assessment level”.



"Solid as a windmill. Always working for the independent producer."