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Iowa moves one step closer to a state beef checkoff

by Ben Nuelle

Iowa moves one step closer to a state beef checkoff. Governor Terry Branstad signed House File 2269 into law making changes to the Iowa Beef Checkoff last Thursday.

Prior to the national beef checkoff, Iowa had its own checkoff through the Iowa Code Chapter 181. For the past few years, Iowa’s cattle industry has shown interest in reinstating the Iowa beef checkoff making changes to code 181 a priority for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association in 2016.

ICA President Matt Deppe.

“We’ve been talking about this topic for quite a while. The need for additional investment. Our producers have been talking about this and so last fall we did a survey through our producer membership that asked the producers to rate different priorities in terms of their interests and add other priorities on that weren’t listed. But also give us some indication in relation to their support for reinstating a state beef checkoff in Iowa that would be a 50 cent referendum per head initially.”

Over 900 survey results were tabulated and showed 80% of those surveyed support reinstating the 50 cent state checkoff. People who don’t like the way the Iowa beef checkoff spends its money will be able to ask for a refund of the Iowa portion.

Iowa Farmers Union President Jana Linderman says she was glad to see the refund option.

“That’s a positive and I think also being able to reauthorize and have a new referendum to approve it every several years is an improvement over the federal check off works. I still have questions of why we need a new checkoff and how the funds will be used but ultimately it is up to beef producers in Iowa to decide whether this is something that will be beneficial to them.”

ICA anticipates a referendum vote later in 2016. ICA will educate cattle producers on when, where and how the vote will take place.