ND Beef Checkoff under pressure at Capitol

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 7:41 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The state agency overseeing the state’s beef industry is under presser from ranchers and cattlemen who are upset over how membership fees are used.

The Beef Checkoff, where ranchers pay $2 per cow, is a tax used to fund the state’s Beef Commission. According to the commission, that money is used for education, marketing, and research on beef.

Ranchers critical of the program say they want fairer representation on the beef commission to rethink how the money is spent with an emphasis on direct aid to ranchers.

“I mean, we’ve just gone through a drought, we’ve probably six years of low prices probably below the cost of production, we’re losing producers constantly, and we gotta figure out how to get a handle on this,” said Kerry Docker, Independent Beef Association of North Dakota.

The Beef Commission said they make $2.2 million per year from the checkoff.

They added they have been increasing transparency and have been improving access to refunds.

Supporters of the commission say the system isn’t broken and the checkoff funds a lot of good programs as-is.

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