Elizabeth Harsh and Frank Phelps of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Assoc. met with the Ohio Farmers Union full Board of Directors in early December to promote the upcoming vote to double the amount of Ohio’s state beef checkoff from $1 to $2.
Harsh, executive director of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Assoc. and Phelps, vice president of the organization said the additional $1 levied per head would remain in Ohio.
Both the Ohio and National Farmers Unions have standing policy stating that the organizations only supportive marketing checkoffs that are “voluntary at the time of delivery.”
While the discussion was cordial and OFU’s leadership and county presidents appreciated the duo’s visit, there was a great deal of skepticism as to the national and state beef checkoff programs’ efficacy, especially for independent, small producers.
Mardy Townsend, president of the Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake Counties Farmers Union and herself a grass-fed beef producer asked Harsh whether the checkoff money that stays in Ohio could be earmarked to specifically market Ohio-raised beef. Harsh said the Ohio Beef Council, which makes the checkoff spending decisions, does maintain a freezer beef directory to which family farmers may submit their contact or marketing information.