Haymaker, first off, NCBA does NOT control the Beef Checkoff! Second, there IS more than one player controlling the beef checkoff! The CBB has representatives from many organizations. While I do not have the number breakdowns as to organizations represented, I don't believe NCBA members are a majority on the board. The CBB makes all the decisions as to which projects from which potential contractor will get the jobs, that is, CBB makes ALL decisions on where/how/for what the money goes. BTW, even your treasured LMA is represented on the CBB. However the desire of some of their members to spend the money for lobbying would be illegal under the checkoff law.
BTW, Haymaker, I did explore the River Walk and some other places in San Antonio. Missed that great Museum of TX Cultures this trip, but did quite a lot of touring the area between Ft. Worth and Frederiksburg and the 'scenic' route from there through the mtns. to San Antonio, then south east to Corpus Christi and Kingsville, then back along the coast and up to Houston before heading for Jackson, MS. Also spent a few hours at the stock show on Sunday before leaving SA. Saw some very impressive Brahma cattle. We had fantastic steaks at Texas Land and Cattle Co. steakhouse on the Riverwalk. Even got to be a 'good samaritan'. Two little boys, not over six and eight years of age were lost and asked for directions. I sent them into the TLC we had just walked out of to ask directions, telling them we didn't know the area well. I knew a law officer was just inside the door as he had given us directions for a short-cut to our hotel. Moments later he came up beside us with the boys in hand, telling them how dangerous it is to "just decide to go for a walk" without your parents when you are a tourist in town and of their ages. Really scary to think of them going off alone like that, as they were a long way from where they said they were supposed to be, and it was getting dark.
FH, I understand your point that having too many people making decisions is 'untidy' at best. Representative governance is the alternative to chaos. Just read the letter to ed. in Tri-State Livestock News this week contrasting the NCBA and R-CALF conventions to get the full meaning of that statement! The complex system of the two divisions of NCBA and the CBB is that way in order to gain the most representation of the most cattle producers making decisions in the most fair, yet workable manner. I know there are people who choose not to believe that because they have another agenda not well served by that system.
Re. the NCBA convention......there is a lot in the Ag media of reports of the action taken, speakers, workshops, etc. We saw/heard most of it and thought the educational stuff was tops. The meetings went smoothly. I did miss some of the discussion forums due to inability to be in two places at the same time. It seemed that people were pretty focused on studying issues and hopefully, decisions arrived at were mutually satisfactory where there was any differing opinions. That was reflected in the general session. Of course one person could not attend every committee meeting, but didn't hear of much discord, though generally there is strong discussion on at least a few issues in committee. The crowds were huge, with many standing-room only sessions and scrambling by staff to get more chairs, larger rooms, etc. to accomodate drop-in attendees. People were pretty mellow, maybe due to good prices, mild winter for most, etc. Sure did like the British born newsman who subbed for Chris Matthews. His talk was an inspiring cheering session for the values and the people of this, his adopted country.