Date: 10/25/2016 12:00:00 AM

Title: Reminder: Request absentee ballot for checkoff vote by Nov. 23

AMES - Eligible cattle producers in Iowa have less than a month to request an absentee ballot for the Iowa state beef checkoff.


The proposed checkoff would be assessed at a rate of 50 cents per head on all Iowa cattle sold. The checkoff would be mandatory, but refunds will be available.


State checkoff could be used more flexibly


The federal beef checkoff has been $1 a head for thirty years. There are few things that have stayed at the same price since the 1980s, so naturally, the power of that $1 has diminished. In the meantime, the beef industry has been faced with increasing global competition and record pork and poultry production. It is clear to many that more investment is needed.


The federal checkoff amount is not the only thing that has stayed the same. While individual programs may have changed and adapted, the way the funds can be used has not changed. Limited mainly to promotion and research related to the beef product, the federal beef checkoff’s scope is much narrower than many other commodity checkoffs and definitely more restrictive than the state checkoff would be.


The state beef checkoff would be 50 cents per head on all cattle sold in Iowa, and the funds generated would be used to address many of the unique challenges Iowa producers have. In an industry that is increasingly dominated by larger producers, Iowa is different. Here, we have a wide variety of operations in size and scope, and with that, some unique needs. The state beef checkoff could not only be used more flexibly than the federal checkoff, but it could be used to address the issues specific to Iowa cattle producers.


Whether it’s research into cattle’s role in improving water quality or research into how Iowa feeders can maintain leverage in today’s cattle market, production research needs will be one of the gaps filled by the state beef checkoff. And unlike the federal checkoff, the state checkoff funds could be used to market Iowa’s beef as different and superior to beef from other states.


Federal Beef Checkoff

Iowa State Beef Checkoff

$1/head since 1986

Proposed 50 cents/head


Beef promotion

Beef research

Foreign marketing

Industry information

Consumer information

Producer communications


Marketing & promoting Iowa’s beef and beef products

Enhancing Iowa’s beef industry image

Production research

Expanding international trade relationships

Providing producer, consumer, and youth educational opportunities



State beef checkoff priorities


The priorities for the state beef checkoff were developed by our producer members, through a survey facilitated in the fall of 2015. As a grassroots organization, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association leaders feel that input from producers is vital when making major strategic decisions. And although the state beef checkoff funds would be administered by the Iowa Beef Industry Council, the same organization that administers the federal checkoff, ICA members will continue to have a voice in how the state funds are used.


As the referendum nears, we encourage cattle producers to reach out to ICA with any questions or concerns they may have about the proposed state checkoff. As is the case with all major issues, we want to hear first-hand input from our members. Visit or call 515-296-2266 to contact us.


How to Vote

Vote by absentee ballot: request a ballot from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship by calling 515.281.5321, or by e-mail at

Absentee ballots must be requested by November 23 and postmarked by November 30.


Vote on November 30: If voting in-person is preferred, producers can also vote at their local county extension office on November 30 from 8 am to 4:30 pm.



About the Iowa Cattlemen's Association: The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents nearly 10,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.”