Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is moving ahead with plans to create a second beef check off. USDA is expected to file a notice in the Federal Register early this month seeking public comment on the proposal. Cattlemen’s Beef Board Operating Committee Member Linda Gilbert of South Dakota says she has many questions about the second program and its possible affects.
“There are a lot of questions that we all have on how that will work in conjunction with the current checkoff and what the Cattlemen’s Beef Board role will be and what we need to be aware of. So, at this time I more questions. I don’t have any answers.”
Gilbert says she’s not worried about a second program being put out because producers will eventually decide on which check off prevails.
“I’m not as concerned because I do believe that it will be about what the producers want, and that’s who we need to be listening to. They have indicated that they want to see some changes and possibly this is the best route. We just don’t know yet.”
Gilbert is hoping producers will weigh in with their comments and help give the Ag Secretary direction on where to go.
“I would encourage people to definitely be a part of the comment period because that is where he’s going to find what the interests of the producers and the beef industry are. It seems like the industry groups have had a hard time coming together. That’s not surprising to me. We have a lot of different parts of our chain.”
The parallel check off program the Ag Secretary is planning would likely be funded by an additional one dollar per head fee that producers would pay while continuing to pay a dollar per head to fund the current check off program.