Alabama has one of the oldest state checkoff programs in the nation, being enacted into law in 1962. A 10-cent deduction was taken from each head of cattle sold in the state over the next 23 years resulting in more than 1.7 million dollars collected for beef promotion. The state checkoff was placed on the shelf when the national checkoff program went into effect in 1986. In 2003, producers voted to re-activate the state checkoff program with a 50-cent assessment on all cattle sold. In October of 2011, producers voted to increase the state checkoff assessment to $1, a change effective as of January 1, 2012.
The state checkoff program differs from the national checkoff program in three major ways:
- State Checkoff program has a refund provision.
- State Checkoff monies can be spent in a much broader area of programs including production and rural youth education.
- A producer referendum is held every five years on whether or not to continue the State Checkoff program.
The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association is the organization certified by the Alabama Department of Agriculture Board to manage the program. A producer task force representing all segments of the cattle industry and beef organizations meets annually to develop a marketing plan on how checkoff dollars will be spent.