Approval of beef checkoff remains high
Seventytwo percent of beef and dairy producers continue to be “somewhat” or “very” well informed about the program and 72 percent approve of the checkoff, according to a recent survey of producers. The survey also found that more than six in 10 producers believe it is well-managed, helps contribute to the profitability of their operations, and allows for the representation of their viewpoints. More than seven in 10 believe the checkoff is there for them in a crisis and has value even in a down market.
The producer attitude research was conducted this June by Aspen Media & Market Research to determine awareness of, attitudes toward, and concerns about the Beef Checkoff Program. Findings are based on 900 interviews of a representative random sample of beef and dairy producers nationwide and have a maximum statistical margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.
The study found knowledge about the checkoff continues to be a predictor of favorability toward it, which is consistent with findings in past surveys. Producers who are “very” or “somewhat” well informed are more likely to approve of the checkoff, particularly among those who say they are very well informed. Among this group, 79 percent approve of the program (47 percent of them strongly), while only 17 percent disapprove. There is a similar ratio of approval and disapproval ratings among those who are somewhat well informed (76 percent and 12 percent, respectively), but fewer of them say they strongly approve (31 percent).
There have been some discussions about making changes to checkoff policies or the way it is operated. All of these would need to be voted on by producers. Producers were asked how they might vote on six changes: increasing the assessment by $1; exempting the checkoff on any animal sold for $50 or less; having an opportunity to call for a referendum on the checkoff every seven years; allowing the Beef Board to directly manage checkoff programs; allowing qualified beef councils to be organized on a regional basis; and revising the criteria for determining which organizations are eligible to nominate producers to serve on the Beef Board.
Producers support all of these changes with the exception of increasing the checkoff assessment. Among those likely to vote in a referendum, between 59 percent and 78 percent said they would probably or definitely vote in favor of the other five issues. In contrast, producers have mixed opinions about raising the assessment: those opposed are more numerous (49 percent) than those who would vote in favor (40 percent). — WLJ