Legislation was passed in the 1985 Farm Bill that established the first national checkoff program. This self-help assessment program provides a vehicle for producers to pay one dollar per head each time cattle are sold. In October of 2011, producers voted to increase the state checkoff assessment to $1; a change effective as of January 1, 2012. These funds are collected at the state level with half of these monies staying instate and the other half going to the national Cattlemen’s Beef Board where they are pooled to provide programs to increase consumer demand for beef.
In 1988, cattle producers throughout the U.S. voted overwhelmingly to make the checkoff program mandatory with 79% voting in favor. Producer support over the years has been strong with approximately 70% of the producer’s surveyed voicing support for the national program. In Alabama, the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association is the qualified state beef council. The ACA collects and administers the national beef checkoff program in the state.