Get The Facts!

Frequently asked questions on the beef checkoff and South Dakota checkoff efforts

1. Does the South Dakota Beef Industry Council operate through the use of our state’s Beef Checkoff dollars? If so, what is its role? 

  • Yes. The role of the Beef Checkoff is to build consumer confidence and increase demand for beef as a trusted unbiased source. This is done through state's Beef Checkoff dollars. Remember, the Beef Checkoff was designed as an industry catalyst and it cannot engage in policy and legislative action. This is prohibited by law. 

2. How does the Beef Checkoff use research funded with checkoff dollars

  • Beef safety and nutrition research are key to ensuring consumer confidence. Your Beef Checkoff dollar supported research identifying value added cuts like the flat iron steak, as well as several projects focused around quality, product safety, and health. Your Beef Checkoff dollar also aided research that supported the Certified Lean Checkmark with the American Heart Association and Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet, both highlighting lean beef as a heart healthy protein choice.

3. Does the State Beef Council utilize Beef Checkoff dollars to support youth in our local schools and rural communities? 

  • Thousands of SD youth and their families are impacted through beef education and program support? Programs like the FACS Beef program and Build Your Base with Beef continue to enhance beef’s image and share nutritional data creating confidence in our product. 

4. How are South Dakota's Beef Checkoff dollars used for promotion campaigns? 

  • Beef Checkoff dollars are used for promotion campaigns that showcase beef to millions of consumers including the Sturgis Rally, Sanford International Tour of Champions, and expansion of National Campaigns like the United We Steak promotion that reached millions in Time Square. Beef producers across the state determine the direction of our state's half of the one dollar and use it in the most efficient manner possible.

5. How do contractors receive National Checkoff dollars? 

  • By law, the Beef Promotion Operating Committee and the Beef Board must contract with established national, nonprofit, industry-governed organizations to implement programs of promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications. Contractors are reimbursed only for the work they actually do for the Beef Board on a cash recovery basis and are not allowed to make a profit from a Checkoff Contract. Contractors include, American Farm Bureau Foundation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, United States Cattlemen’s Association, Foundation for Livestock, Meat and Poultry Education Board, North American Meat Institute, United State Meat Export Federation, Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative.

6. How many members sit on the South Dakota Beef Industry Council Board and how are they determined? 

  • The SD Beef Industry Council has 24 board members that work together through committees to direct the one-dollar Beef Checkoff. Each member is selected by and serves on behalf of the 8 partner organizations making up the SD Beef Council. Although many of these organizations have a policy arm, policy is left at the door. The Beef Checkoff is prohibited by law to engage in any policy or legislative action. It is the consumer arm of the industry designed to increase consumer confidence and build demand for beef. 

7. Do our Beef Checkoff dollars engage with consumers in highly populated areas?

  • State to State partnerships offer opportunities to expand the SD Checkoff footprint to consumers in the Northeast region of the United States where cattle numbers are lower in comparison to consumer population. Whether it’s the design and implementation of programs like the Build Your Base program that puts beef in front of young athletes or on the farm ranch tours used to share the beef story and provide insight into modern day production methods, your Beef Checkoff ensures that consumers have access to factual beef information.

8. Are Beef Checkoff dollars audited by a third party? 

  • Yes, Beef Checkoff dollars audited on a yearly basis by a third party. This happens at both the state and national levels and serves as a check and balance to ensure your dollars are being used accordingly as designed by the Beef Act and Order. Your beef council also upholds direct USDA oversight on all communications and contract expenditures. 

9. Are Beef Checkoff dollars used to market beef outside of the United States?

  • Yes, 95% of the global population is located outside of U.S. Boarders. Foreign marketing is essential as we see demand for our product increase through partnerships like those with the US Meat Export Federation. These partnerships allow us to move a variety of beef products.  Last year your Beef Checkoff worked alongside the USMEF to promote U.S. beef in both Germany and Japan.

10. Do Beef Checkoff dollars support programs at a collegiate and industry leadership level? 

  • Yes they do! Whether it is the Meat and Livestock judging teams at SD State University or programs like SDARL and BeefSD. Your checkoff is preparing South Dakota’s young beef leaders for tomorrows work with the consumer. This in turn expands opportunity for beef. 

11. What is the difference between a petition and a referendum?

  • A petition authorized by the Beef Research and Information Act (Beef Act) (7 U.S.C. 2901-2911), is a formal written request from eligible beef producers for the Secretary to hold a referendum on the Beef Order.  If a petition receives the required number of valid signatures, the Secretary will consider whether to publish referendum procedures and hold a referendum. In a referendum, eligible individuals/organizations would vote to determine if the Beef Order would be terminated or suspended.

12. Is the petition calling for an up or down vote on the termination of the Beef Checkoff program?

  • The petitioners are requesting a referendum on the termination of the program. Should a referendum be called, it would ask for a yes or no vote to terminate the program.

13. Who bears the cost of the petition?

  • The organizations/people responsible for the petition must bear the costs of collecting the signatures.

14. Who validates the signatures and who bears the validation cost?

  • AMS validates the signatures and the Beef Checkoff Program is responsible for the cost of the validation.

15. Has a petition occurred in the past with the Beef Checkoff Program and if so, what was the outcome?

  • Yes, AMS received a petition in 1999.  However, after completion of a validation process for the signatures, AMS determined the required number of valid signatures were not obtained.

16. Does the Beef Checkoff pay for the salaries of employees at the SD Beef Industry Council? 

  • Yes. The South Dakota Beef Industry Council is the qualified state beef council responsible for the management of the state’s Beef Checkoff program. Just as any other business or ranch pays their employees for the work they do, the SD Beef Industry Council pays employees for the work they do in marketing, communication, program development and outreach. As with any business it takes certain skillsets, standards, and professionals to carry out the mission of the organization. Hiring the right team is crucial to its success.