Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) is supporting amending the Beef Research and Promotion Act, which legislated the beef checkoff, to allow only promotion of beef that is born and raised exclusively in the United States and to allow additional contractors. Policy was changed during the 42nd WIFE Convention held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in November.
The U.S. has already imported 1.3 million head of cattle in 2018. This is up 4.2 percent from 2017. Promoting only domestic born and raised beef would drop the Beef Checkoff budget by about 1.3 million dollars because imported beef would no longer be paying the checkoff.
WIFE proposes filling this void by opening services from additional contractors and, thus, creating more competition in the use of checkoff funds.
Changing the Beef Research and Promotion Act would require a vote of producers, and WIFE is calling for a referendum to allow additional contractors.
National WIFE President Diane McDonald of Inkster, North Dakota, explained, “Advertising only domestic beef would increase the importance of knowing which meat was domestically produced and which meat was imported. Why should we advertise the safety, nutritional quality and high health standards in our domestic herds if no one can tell the difference at the meat counter?” With that in mind, WIFE is supporting the identification of all meat as to country of origin.
McDonald stated, “The USDA inspected label is not sufficient to identify U.S. beef. Any beef that is inspected by the USDA gets this label—even imported beef.”
Currently, when a hanging carcass crosses our border with an identifying mark as to the country of origin, the minimum that needs to happen to get the USDA sticker is for that carcass to be cut up into smaller parts and inspected. WIFE feels those paying the checkoff should promote the product they raised—not what is imported.
For more information contact Diane McDonald at 701-248-3654.
WIFE is a grassroots organization for women in agriculture focusing on promoting legislation and policies that increase profitability for family farmers and ranchers.