Today’s reality is that agricultural profitability is determined beyond the end of our driveway. Yes, as farmers and ranchers we can and do what we can from a production standpoint, but the importance of effective consumer communications plays a predominate role in the overall dynamics of influencing the market revenue necessary to keep our farms and ranches financially sound.
Sign-up to Receive Beef Check-off Ballot
In early March, ballots will be mailed from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to qualified cattle producers, who have completed the easy-to-register process of having themselves placed on the check-off referendum list. Those who have not signed up to receive a ballot will not be able to vote on the referendum.
January 17 is the deadline for eligible cattle farmers/ranchers to sign up. To register to receive the ballot, go to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) websiteat www.mda.state.mn.us/food/business/commodityballot.aspx orcall MDA at 651-201-6013.
Consider the Merits
Approving and implementing the proposed Minnesota beef check-off has a number of positive outcomes.
- In a consumer environment where shoppers make their purchasing decisions on the basis of information they’ve been given (often by anti-agricultural and anti-beef advocates), beef producers need to have their voices heard. It is anticipated that the check-off will increase funding by $500,000 to $750,000 which will be used exclusively for Minnesota-based consumer connections. The focus of the consumer outreach will be to increase their understanding of the value of beef in their shopping selection.
- The additional $1 per-head check-off marketing investment is voluntary with a refund available by request through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
- The Minnesota check-off only applies to Minnesota cattle sold in the state and does not apply to dairy animals sold for breeding purposes.
- Minnesota cattle producers have an outstanding story to tell. This is the theme behind the “Raised with Pride, Handled with Care” campaign that the new funding from the proposed check-off will deliver. This outreach will personalize the beef industry by highlighting actual farmers and ranchers and tell the story that Minnesota consumers need to hear.
- Many agricultural organizations, based on their farmer members’ support, including the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, support the passage of this referendum and implementation of this enhanced marketing effort.
All cattle producers can benefit by working together to finance “Raised with Pride, Handled with Care.” A “Yes” vote on the beef check-off ballot this March will put your farm/ranch future on a stronger foundation. For more information go to raisedwithpride.com.
Kevin Paap is a fourth generation farmer from Garden City, Minnesota.