US beef should be for dinner | Opinion |

US beef should be for dinner

Nov 27, 2017

Your article published online Oct. 26, “Oklahoma beef checkoff to be decided Nov. 1” by Jennifer M. Latzke seems a little one sided. Using the terms “radical activist” and stating ties to Humane Society of the United States seem to indicate which side of the checkoff battle the Journal is on.

As a cow/calf producer I would be glad to pay an extra dollar to support checkoff if it did not go to organizations that, by federal law, are required to support foreign beef imports. If you read the 1985 Beef Promotion and Research Act, and all rules issued since, you will find that importers sit on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. These importers pay large amounts to CBB and NCBA. In fact, for every 592 pounds of imported beef $1 is paid to CBB. Include this with $1 per head of live cattle coming from Canada and Mexico and you see that National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is required to support foreign beef. As of Oct. 30, 828,677 head of feeder cattle have been imported from Mexico. I do not have exact figures for Canada but at this time of year it is well over a million head. Contrast that with approximately 30,000-40,000 head Canada and Mexico take from us each year and you see why importers play a big role in CBB and NCBA.

All members of CBB are appointed by the secretary. These appointments also include representative from companies that import beef as well as state Cattlemen’s Association representatives. These state appointees are required to support imported beef and beef coming from their state cattlemen. It’s the law.

I am not against companies importing beef. However, I am against being taxed to support organizations which support cattle producers in other countries. If JBS wants to send their Brazilian beef to the USA and sell it to American consumers that’s fine, as long as the company does not have a representative sitting on the CBB. Talk about conflict of interest. JBS has a representative sitting on a federal board making decisions about beef promotion and research. Do you think the JBS representative is asking CBB to make sure more USA beef is sent to Brazil?

A simple fix for this issue is to remove importers from the CBB. If that happens all Checkoff dollars collected from USA ranchers will go to support USA Beef for dinner, not Mexican, Canadian, Australian, African, Brazilian, beef.

USA beef is what should be for dinner.

—Bill Yancey, rancher, Prairie Grove, Arkansas