Montana Cattlemen’s Association
Release Date: January 20, 2014
Contact person: Dennis McDonald
The Montana Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) has formed a committee to evaluate the feasibility of leading a nationwide petition drive seeking a vote on the Beef Checkoff Program.
MCA is concerned that since the passage of the Checkoff in 1985, thousands of cattle producers have entered the industry, have paid their $1 per head of cattle sold, but have never had an opportunity to voice their opinion on this $83 million per year program. This is fundamentally wrong and contrary to the basic principles of democracy. A periodic vote is the only means of granting producers the opportunity to voice their support or lack thereof for this program. MCA is also concerned that one national organization serves as the primary contractor and that a disturbingly large amount of all dollars collected goes to implementation costs (administrative fees).
Accordingly, MCA will explore the process involved in a nationwide effort to bring accountability to this mandated program.
MCA is mindful that since the Checkoff was implemented, 28 years has passed without a vote. The Livestock Marketing Association undertook a similar effort in 1998 and collected over 127,000 producer signatures. However, only 83,464 signatures were validated of the 107,880 that was required to force a referendum. A portion of the signatures stricken were from producers less than 18 years of age, despite there being no legal basis for doing so.
MCA expects to make a decision on this effort sometime this spring. For questions or comments, please contact Dennis McDonald at 406-537-2333.