Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

If Montana cattle producers want to keep half of their checkoff dollar in Montana, they must now sign a consent form authorizing the Montana Beef Council to retain the funds. I encourage all producers to sign and return the form as soon as possible. The beef checkoff has to be paid regardless, and this will allow ranchers to keep half of the funds in Montana control through the 12 Montana Beef Council board members.

Half of the dollar has always stayed in Montana control, but because of a lawsuit between R-CALF USA and USDA, the Montana Beef Council has been ordered to send all the funds to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, unless producers sign a form saying they want half of the funds to stay with Montana.

To me, the benefits of the beef checkoff can be seen right here in our community, as well as across the state. Here in Baker, the local cattlewomen group participate in events to promote beef through samples and recipes, attends health fairs, hosts events to bring urban consumers together with ranchers to learn about beef production and even does classroom education in our local schools. Across the state you can look at the grocery store meat cases with advertisements, posters, recipes and meat case dividers that are provided by the Montana Beef Council with checkoff dollars. And the Montana Beef Council hosts events in our larger cities and partners with organizations ranging from the Montana State University Bobcats and the University of Montana Grizzlies to the Chefs and Cooks of Montana to the American Heart Association. Those are just a few ways I see the beef checkoff in action in Montana, all in the name of promoting beef for all of Montana’s ranchers.

Producers can get the forms from the Montana Beef Council website or by calling their office. You can also request them from brand inspectors and auction markets. If you have questions about the checkoff, call the Montana Beef Council at 406-656-3336. The board members and staff are more than happy to answer questions about how checkoff dollars are being invested.

Dean Wang

Rancher and Bank of Baker Owner