Canadian beef contributes to the American checkoff, and American beef contributes to the Canadian checkoff... now. It wasn't always that way. Up until our checkoff became national, the imported beef got away without contributing. We were promoting a lot of American (and Australian, etc. )beef with our own money, but we didn't complain.
Here's an overview of how it works up here.
National Check-off: What It Means For The Canadian Cattle Industry
Collection of a one dollar per head National Check-off fee on cattle is commencing in some parts of Canada. The National Check-off fee is good news for cattle producers – it ensures funding for promotion, export development and research. This in turn builds strong markets for Canadian cattle and beef, putting more money into the pockets of cattle producers.
Why A National Check-off?
There are two main reasons. Currently check-off rates vary across the country and a number of provinces are not contributing $1.00 per head to research, promotion, and market development. A nationally uniform levy will be more equitable and will generate an additional $1.2 million (approximately) annually to fund these important activities. Secondly, imports have always had a free ride. Only through a national check-off system can an equivalent levy be applied to imported cattle and beef products. This will generate an additional $800,000 annually.
Does the National Check-off replace the Provincial Check-off?
All provinces with the exception of Newfoundland currently collect a provincial check-off on cattle sales to fund provincial activities, national representation, research, and promotion.
In those provinces that are already contributing $1.00 to national promotion, market development, and research, there is no increase. Those funds will be re-directed through the National Agency to BIC, CBEF, and the newly formed research council.
Some provinces will increase their check-off to meet the $1.00 per head commitment.
All provincial cattle organizations have participated in the discussions leading up to the establishment of the National Check-off. Any future changes to the National Check-off will be ratified by the provincial organizations and the Board of Directors of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. Annually, provinces can direct the use of those funds by indicating the percentage allocation of the levy that goes to each of the three uses.
What is the Status?
Soon the National Check-off fee will be collected on cattle sales throughout Canada. It will also be collected on cattle and beef imports coming into Canada. Those who sell beef and cattle into Canada will now be required to help promote beef in Canada, just as Canadians who sell beef and cattle into some other countries have had to support those country’s market development programs.
Who collects the Check-off?
The fee will be collected through a process with Customs Canada on imports and through the Provinces using their existing collection systems involving auction markets, order buyers, brand inspectors and others who handle cattle sales in Canada. They will send the fees collected to the Beef/Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency. The Agency will administer the funds and direct those funds to three approved activities – promotion, export development, and research.
A Board of Directors comprised of cattle producers and one importer representative will direct the Agency. Its business plan will be presented to the CCA and the provinces each year for ratification.
How will the money be spent?
The National Check-off is directed towards two goals: increasing sales of beef (domestic and export), and finding better and more efficient methods of producing beef and beef cattle.
Increased sales of beef will be achieved through product promotion and development and expansion of new and existing markets. The Beef Information Centre (BIC) and the Canada Beef Export Federation (CBEF) will administer the funds on behalf of the Agency through a contractual agreement.
Better and more efficient ways of producing beef and beef cattle will be developed through research. The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) will administer the funds on behalf of the Agency through a contractual agreement. It will also be tasked with ensuring research is well coordinated throughout the country and is guided by sound industry priorities.
Is the National Check-off refundable?
The National Check-off is not refundable. This is necessary to enable collection of the Check-off on beef and cattle imports coming into Canada.