Texas Beef Checkoff Program - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Texas Beef Checkoff Program

Posted: Updated:
Texas cattle producers could soon face an extra charge, when it comes time to sell. The new Texas Beef Checkoff program was proposed and voted on in early June.

Much like the National Beef Checkoff, producers would have to pay one dollar for this fund.  The new program is designed to fund and manage things like state-level promotion, marketing, research and education for beef and beef products. 

This money will rebuild programs of the Texas Beef Council that have been reduced or eliminated due to reduced resources. Cattle numbers are currently at a record low, according to David Graf, AgriLife Extension Service agent in Wichita County. 

Low numbers mean less national beef checkoff money, and that was a contributing factor for adding this state program, Graf said. Owner and operator of Wichita Livestock Sales, Billy Easter said this new program could be a good and bad thing. 

"It's forced, it's mandated so you have to pay it," Easter said. "A lot of these guys look at it like they just don't feel like they should be forced to pay something."

This program is designed to help cattle producers, and sometimes it works according to Easter.

 "The pro is that they educate the public," Easter said. "It promotes the different ways to market beef. It just puts it out there in the publics view, you know promoting it."

However, the extra money could rub some cattle producers the wrong way.

"A con is that there are other industries like packers and retailers that are reaping the benefits, but the producers have to pay the cost," Easter said.

A lot of the producers feel like those areas should also contribute to the checkoff program. 

The national and state fee would add up to two dollars per head of cattle. If passed, that money would be automatically deducted at each point of ownership transfer in Texas. 

"Whoever buys a calf, when he sells it again, another dollar is taken out," Easter said. "They say the average calf or animal is charged two in a half times, in their life time."

Eight out of ten producers think the checkoff has contributed to a positive trend, and added to cattle profitability, according to agriculture officials. 

The submitted votes are being tallied and sent to the Texas Department of Agriculture in Austin. Those results will be in at the end of June. If the program passes, money will start to be collected in October, 2014.  For more information about this program click here