Texas celebrates Federation of State Beef Councils' 50th anniversary
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 grassroots participation in beef checkoff 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 BIC and National Cattlemen's Association merged in 1996 to form NCBA. 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, Texas.
"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," said Leiber. "Fifty years ago producers recognized the importance of grassroots control which led to a unified state-national partnership to enhance beef demand-building efforts throughout the country."
By the time the BIC was created in 1963, many states had already created their own state checkoff 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 checkoff in their states.
The first voluntary beef checkoff 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. Over 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 Richard Wortham, Texas Beef Council executive vice president. "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."
Beef Councils voted overwhelmingly in July, 2010 to maintain the partnership between the Federation and NCBA, 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 NCBA.
Headquartered in Austin, the Texas Beef Council conducts the $1-per-head checkoff program for Texas beef producers. Its mission is to increase beef demand in the state through programs of beef promotion, research and education. The Texas Beef Council also helps fund national and international beef checkoff programs to increase marketing opportunities for the entire U.S. beef industry. For more information on this and other checkoff-funded programs, visit www.TexasBeef.org or call 800-846-4113.