Big Beef Industry Wants to Double Animal Sales Tax on Texas Cattle Owners
Apr 29, 2014 | 1103 views | 2 2 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print



Funds Used by Texas Beef Council to Promote Beef Imported from Outside Texas

 

AUSTIN, Texas – April 29, 2014 The Big Beef industry wants to double the tax that cattle owners pay for every sale of their animals.  Under the federal “checkoff” program, a farmer is already legally required to pay $1 for every head of cattle sold.  This added up to over $11 million in taxes on Texas farmers and ranchers last year.  Now large industry groups want to add a state checkoff program.



From June 2 through June 6, Texas cattle owners will be able to approve or reject the proposal by voting at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county offices.  In addition to giving a very narrow window of time, the Texas Beef Council has failed to reach out to cattle owners to let them know about the referendum.



“In other states, votes on increased checkoff fees have been decided by less than 10% of all cattle owners,” said Judith McGeary, cattle owner and executive director of Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. “The big industry groups are only telling people that they expect to vote yes, and they are making no effort to educate the average cattle owner.  This is not a fair democratic process.”



The money is spent on advertising campaigns such as “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner,” as well as salaries and benefits for a large staff.  The claim is that the advertising is supposed to help Texas farmers’ cattle and beef sales.  But meatpacking companies like Tyson and Cargill, as well as national grocery store chains, are the ones who really benefit.



“With this checkoff increase, we will be paying to promote an imported product that has the potential to put our own herds at risk for foot-and-mouth disease, add supply, and reduce prices,” said Mark Hannan, owner of Twin Lakes Dairy in Van Zandt County, Texas.



Checkoff promotions do not distinguish between beef raised in Texas or beef raised in other parts of the U.S. and foreign imports.  Much of the beef sold in grocery stores comes from other countries, such as Australia, Brazil and Mexico.  Yet Texas farmers and ranchers will be forced to pay the bill. 



“There’s nothing stopping the beef industry from having a voluntary marketing program, funded by those who see a benefit from it,” McGeary pointed out.  “We don’t need yet more taxes imposed on our farmers and ranchers.”



If individuals cannot make it to an Extension Office during the voting period, they can also request a ballot by mail. Contact Lance Williams, Texas Department of Agriculture, at 512-463-3285 or Lance.Williams@texasagriculture.gov, between May 19 and June 2 to request a mail-in ballot.



For more information visit: http://www.farmandranchfreedom.org/tx-beef-checkoff. For audio PSAs, please contact alexandra@farmandranchfreedom.org or (512) 537-2692.

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About Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) is a national organization that supports independent family farmers and protects a healthy and productive food supply for American consumers.  FARFA promotes common sense policies for local, diversified agricultural systems. 

Comments
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Brian Cummins
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April 30, 2014
I would like to address some misconceptions on the Texas Beef Checkoff program.

First of all, the Texas Beef Checkoff program is NOT a government tax. It is not paid for by taxpayer dollars and is not a government program. It is an assessment on cattle to be used for promotion, marketing, research and consumer education that is funded by Texas cattle producers. All Texas Beef Checkoff activities are overseen by the Texas Beef Council’s board of directors. The board includes 18 directors nominated by nine Texas beef and cattle organizations and two at-large members elected by the board.

In my visiting with producers on the value of the Texas Beef Checkoff program, I hear a lot of talk about the Checkoff just funds a lot of big salaries. Take a look at the Texas Beef Council's most recent annual financial report and you will see that 88.8% of the funds were used for promotion, marketing, research and consumer education. Only 11.2% was used for administration.

Here are some of the positive ways Checkoff dollars are used. By providing funds to meat scientists, 13 new cuts of beef have been identified that add value of more than $100 per head. The Texas Beef Council used funds to educate nutrition experts, dietitians and others who influence health decisions on beef nutrition, modern beef production and sustainability. TBC partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) Texas affiliate for the sixth consecutive year to share the many ways beef fits into a heart-healthy diet. By partnering with vendors and retail chains, the TBC participated in several cross promotional programs leveraging their dollars by distributing 2.2 million coupons with partners who invested on average $3 for every $1 invested by TBC.

Some of the most important work is trying to reach out to the “millennials” – those consumers born in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Through checkoff funded research, we know that this group enjoys beef, but has some real concerns about preparation, nutition and convenience. Work is being done to provide them with beef products that meets their needs.

The Beef Checkoff program assisted as U.S. Beef and beef variety meat exports in 2013 were up 11% from 2012 levels. That contributed an additional $170 value to a 550 weight steer/heifer in the U.S.

I feel that I get a return on my investment from the Checkoff program. The money is used to educate consumers on the value of beef in their diets, new ways to prepare beef that fits today's fast paced lifestyle, expand sales to foreign markets, develop new cuts of beef that add value to each carcass and last but not least provide education to my fellow beef producers on the principles of beef quality assurance.

anonymous
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May 01, 2014
It was and is controled by the government? If so, then it just like the liar and chiefs obama care,,

As it was and has been forced that every one pays it, There fore it is a form of taxation,,

Just like obama care is nothing more than a health care tax...

Btw,, You cattle people should be getting fat with the prices of beef today,,, Maybe you all should think about fellow AMERICANS,, instead of china and the rest of the rotten world,,,