Will NCBA-CBB Meeting Really Iron Out Differences?

A recent meeting between CBB and NCBA is a positive start, but more needs to be done.

Troy Marshall 2, BEEF Contributing Editor

May 6, 2011

2 Min Read
Will NCBA-CBB Meeting Really Iron Out Differences?

All the grassroots pressure that has been exerted regarding the rift between NCBA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board at least led to the two sides having some constructive discussion and a structured dialogue. NCBA and CBB officers met this week in Denver and were able to sit across a table from one another and talk.

They agreed, among other things, that it is important that each recognize the other’s role and that they work together; that the checkoff program staff is doing a great job and have developed excellent programs but that staff at the executive level have some improvements to make in their relationships; that NCBA needs to work harder to make everyone feel welcome at industry meetings; that a more clear understanding of the compliance process needs to be developed; and that NCBA will continue to be a checkoff contractor.

Admittedly, I remain in the cynic camp. Reading the emails that have been exchanged and learning how one-sided the communication has been in some areas, I’m not sure that honest communication is the goal, but hopefully I am wrong. Much of the rhetoric is couched in terms of the checkoff but in the end, there are groups and leadership opposed to NCBA policy, and groups and leadership supportive of NCBA’s longstanding role with the checkoff.

Ultimately, this is a debate about whether or not the checkoff is to become a political tool. Sadly, if that is what it proves to be, it will not survive as structured. As one leader active in the process told me, cattlemen can get caught up in personal agendas but in the end, they always do what it is right. I suspect this time will be no different, we just need to take steps to ensure that the checkoff is not used as a political tool and remains focused on building beef demand as efficiently as possible.

Looking back over the recent past, it is clear that the checkoff has enjoyed success—the state beef councils continue to do great work and producers understand the importance of the checkoff now more than ever. It is hard to believe we have taken the checkoff to the brink of its survival with so much good going on. That is why I believe the games will stop and we will get back to building demand, as long as grassroots producers make it known that they will accept no less.

About the Author(s)

Troy Marshall 2

BEEF Contributing Editor

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock and World Champion Horse Judging teams. Following college, he worked as a market analyst for Cattle-Fax covering different regions of the country. Troy also worked as director of commercial marketing for two breed associations; these positions were some of the first to provide direct links tying breed associations to the commercial cow-calf industry.

A visionary with a great grasp for all segments of the industry, Troy is a regular opinion contributor to BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly. His columns are widely reprinted and provide in-depth reporting and commentary from the perspective of a producer who truly understands the economics and challenges of the different industry segments. He is also a partner/owner in Allied Genetic Resources, a company created to change the definition of customer service provided by the seedstock industry. Troy and his wife Lorna have three children. 

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