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Agriculture Today

Texas beef federation celebrates 50 years

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March 27, 2013 | 4,187 views | Post a comment

AUSTIN -- It was a presence well before the mandatory $1-per-head beef checkoff was created in 1985. And the Federation of State Beef Councils recognizes that presence, celebrating its 50th anniversary as a force for grass-roots participation in beef check-off programs.

The Federation was originally created as the Beef Industry Council of the National Live Stock and Meat Board in 1963. It moved to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association when the Beef Industry Council and the National Cattlemen’s Association merged in 1996 to form the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. While it has had two homes in its lifetime, the Federation’s role has not changed through the years, according to Texas Beef Council Chairman Ken Leiber, a beef producer from Fort Worth.

“The Federation allows producer interests and opinions to flow from the grassroots level up by having significant input in the workings of the national Beef Checkoff Program,” Leiber said. “Fifty years ago producers recognized the importance of grass-roots control which led to a unified state-national partnership to enhance beef demand-building efforts throughout the country.”

By the time the Beef Industry Council was created in 1963, many states had already created their own state check-off programs, and supported a coordinated national effort that could build on their efforts. More states would soon join them; by 1980, another 25 states had formed councils. Today, there are 45 state beef councils qualified by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board to collect the $1-per-head mandatory national beef check-off in their states.

The first voluntary beef check-off program in Texas was formed in September 1954. The program grew out of studies which took place by the promotion subcommittee of the Public Relations Committee of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. This committee launched the Texas Beef Council, which was then developed as a separate and independent organization. More than 3,000 cattle producers joined the program by paying a self-assessment of 5 cents per head, with a $10 minimum. Allied industries and suppliers such as feed mills, banks, and stockyards also contributed to financing the program.

“The mandatory beef checkoff program began in 1986 forming our current organization,” said Texas Beef Council Executive Vice President Richard Wortham. “Still today, the Federation is the core of a solid state-national partnership. About 700 producers who sit on state beef council boards help make decisions about in-state promotions and supplements to national and international demand-building programs.”

The beef councils voted overwhelmingly in July 2010 to maintain the partnership between the Federation and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, while creating more independence for the Federation. Since that time, Federation leaders and staff have been working to perfect a structure that ensures greater independence, while still preserving a 16-year successful working relationship within the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

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