Pete Bonds: New checkoff program will boost cattle business

Editor’s note: Pete Bonds is president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He operates the Bonds Ranch in Saginaw, Texas, where he also lives.

Pete Bonds

The Texas Department of Agriculture recently announced that Texas cattle producers voted to establish a state-level beef checkoff program. The referendum passed with broad support, and I believe this a positive step forward for the Texas beef industry.

Since the U.S. beef checkoff program was established in 1985, we have seen added value to the beef cattle we produce. Lately, however, we have been operating under a few disadvantages. Well-funded groups such as The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), have worked tirelessly to push their anti-meat agenda and tried to put us out of business. Additionally, the drought has caused a reduction in cow herds, which in-turn has resulted in lower collections for the national checkoff program. These are some of the reasons I believe the Texas beef checkoff is needed. We must face these challenges head-on and make sure we are doing everything possible to promote our product and educate consumers.

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The Texas beef checkoff will help us expand beef demand and better educate consumers by investing an additional dollar-per-head into a state checkoff fund. The checkoff will be used to extend vital marketing, education and research efforts, which will help enable us to continue providing a safe, abundant and affordable beef supply. This will not only help us promote beef in Texas, but also in the United States and internationally. It is critical that we continue finding ways to enhance current programs and look for others that will increase the profitability of Texas cattle producers. I know these extra resources will help us accomplish our goals.

The state checkoff referendum was initiated by Texas cattle producers and will be controlled by the same men and women who work daily to supply the world with quality beef. The Texas Commissioner of Agriculture has appointed producers to manage the program – men and women with a direct involvement in beef production. It is reassuring to know that decisions on how the checkoff funds will be spent will be made by my fellow Texas cattle producers.

The hard work and efforts by cattle industry groups and producers statewide to establish the state beef checkoff was extraordinary. I would like to thank the Independent Cattlemen’s Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas CattleWomen Association, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Association of Dairymen and the Texas Purebred Cattle Alliance for working with TSCRA to make this a reality. I also appreciate the many Texas cattle producers who got out and voted. Your voices were heard, and now we can move forward with implementation this fall.

 It’s quite simple: If we want to help our industry thrive, we must invest in the future. I believe the Texas beef checkoff program will allow us to build a future that is built to last, and I look forward to seeing the positive results.

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