By the end of 2018 all cattle producers in Canada will pay a national C$2.50 beef checkoff per animal sold. Previously the Canadian Beef Cattle Checkoff was C$1 per animal marketed and it had been at that pricing since 2002.
Similar to the beef checkoff in the U.S., funding goes towards research and marketing of beef.
Currently, the national beef checkoff in Canada generates an estimated C$7.5 million (US$6.04 million) annually. The increase to C$2.50 would bring the annual checkoff revenue to C$18.75 (US$15.09 million).
The increase to the beef checkoff in Canada was set in motion in 2014 when a document called the National Beef Strategy was developed by beef industry leaders from various organizations.
“It lays out a collaborative business plan to use combinations of research, marketing and promotion, policy development and stakeholder engagement to increase production efficiencies, reduce cost disadvantages compared to main competitors, increase carcass cutout values, enhance synergies within industry and connect positively with consumers, the public, government, and partner industries,” writes Bryan Thiessen, Chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council and manager of Namaka Farms near Strathmore, Alberta.
With fewer cattle and inflation, Canadian cattle producers recognized a change was needed to help fund need research and marketing that will help get beef to consumers around the globe.
“As an industry, we have a responsibility to help pay for the beef research and extension that benefit us and to work more closely with government to ensure priority research is invested in. There’s also a broader range of research needed now because fewer and fewer people have connections to the farm and therefore the public has little understanding about agriculture,” Thiessen says.
Some provinces have already started taking in the $2.50 national checkoff. This past fall both eastern provinces Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia began taking in funding.
The remaining provinces plan to start collecting the increased checkoff amount in 2018. For instance, Alberta producers will begin paying the additional amount in April.
Increasing the beef checkoff has been a debated topic in the U.S. for several years with many individual states holding referendums to increase their local checkoff.
Oklahoma recently had a vote that failed, while Iowa and Ohio had successful referendums in the past few years.
The U.S. still only has a US$1 beef checkoff per head assessment nationally. Annually the U.S. beef checkoff brings in US$72 million for research and marketing.
Canada’s increase to C$2.50 per head in national checkoff is a drop in the bucket compared to the total checkoff assessment some producers pay when adding in their local provinces fee. For instance, in Quebec cattle producers pay an additional C$10.49 per cull cow, and less for younger cattle. Manitoba and Ontario pay C$3 per head for the province fee.
(Note: $1 U.S. Dollar equals $1.24 Canadian Dollar. The national Canadian beef checkoff would equate to US$2.01.)