- DTN Headline News
USDA Dropping Checkoff Plan
Friday, December 19, 2014 5:13PM CST

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) -- With Congress blocking USDA from spending any funds to create a second beef checkoff, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he's happy people within the beef industry could at least find an area of agreement.

In a phone interview Thursday, Vilsack said USDA won't pursue efforts to create another checkoff under the 1996 commodity promotion law. A policy rider in the federal appropriations bill passed over the weekend prevents USDA from continuing to write a rule for the plan during this fiscal year.

An appropriations bill doesn't carry the weight of law as an authorizing act, but the rider gets the point across that Congress doesn't want a federal agency pursuing a particular policy. The secretary said people in the beef industry made it clear they didn't want USDA to pursue a checkoff parallel to the current $1-per-head assessment.

"They agreed they didn't want a second checkoff. That's the first time in three years they have agreed on anything," Vilsack said. "So I hope they can build on that foundation, however shaky that might be, to figure out a way in which the differences and divisions that occur and are in the beef industry can be rectified so they ultimately come to me with recommendations for improvements and changes in the current beef checkoff so there will be a clear path to getting more resources in that checkoff."

The beef checkoff has been set at $1 since the beef promotion law was created in the mid-1980s. Inflation and a declining cattle herd have dwindled resources going into promotion and research. The program right now generates roughly $80 million a year.

Vilsack proposed another checkoff after acrimony stemming from a beef industry working group that has been trying for three years to reach a compromise to increase the checkoff fee while potentially changing how the checkoff distributes funds. Vilsack chastised members of the group for failing to compromise.

"We only proposed the second checkoff in an effort to get folks to understand what was at stake, so we will see what the industry does from here," Vilsack said. "It's unfortunate that we have no mechanism as we speak today to obtain additional resources in the beef checkoff when everyone in the industry knows we have to do more to market, research and promote the beef industry."

Vilsack said he has made every effort to get the working group to get together and seek an agreement. He's not sure about offering more encouragement.

"We've done everything we can do and they have prevented me from doing the one thing I had the capacity to do, so now it's really totally up to the industry," he said. "They are satisfied with the current checkoff -- some are satisfied with the current checkoff, some are not -- but all believe we need additional money, so common sense would suggest and dictate that people get in a room and give a little bit and come out with the consensus position to increase the checkoff and do a better job of promoting, researching and marketing beef. But, at least up to this point, that's not been possible."

Chris Clayton can be reached at chris.clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik
Markets Editor
Monday, December 22, 2014 6:44PM CST
Friday, December 19, 2014 5:20PM CST
Monday, December 15, 2014 5:20PM CST
Technically Speaking
Darin Newsom
DTN Senior Analyst
Monday, December 22, 2014 11:04AM CST
Sunday, December 21, 2014 3:09PM CST
Saturday, December 20, 2014 2:06PM CST
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Thursday, December 18, 2014 6:51PM CST
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 4:08PM CST
Friday, December 12, 2014 1:27PM CST
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Sunday, December 21, 2014 2:51PM CST
Friday, December 19, 2014 5:01AM CST
Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:20PM CST
Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Taylor
DTN Executive Editor
Monday, December 15, 2014 11:10PM CST
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 4:08PM CST
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 4:00PM CST
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Friday, December 19, 2014 9:58PM CST
Thursday, December 18, 2014 4:33PM CST
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 12:10PM CST
Monday, December 22, 2014 4:40PM CST
Friday, December 19, 2014 9:16PM CST
Friday, December 19, 2014 6:04PM CST
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 9:45PM CST
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 10:38PM CST
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 8:49PM CST
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Friday, December 19, 2014 10:49PM CST
Friday, December 12, 2014 8:04PM CST
Friday, December 5, 2014 9:21PM CST
South America Calling
Alastair Stewart
South America Correspondent
Friday, December 19, 2014 3:35PM CST
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 8:43PM CST
Monday, December 15, 2014 11:32PM CST
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Monday, December 22, 2014 12:14PM CST
Monday, December 15, 2014 6:48PM CST
Monday, December 8, 2014 12:08PM CST
Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 6:43PM CST
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 10:13PM CST
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 10:15PM CST
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Friday, December 19, 2014 10:23PM CST
Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:48PM CST
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 11:26PM CST
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Thursday, December 4, 2014 6:34PM CST
Thursday, November 20, 2014 6:09PM CST
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 7:12PM CST
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN