iowa-cattleThe Iowa Department of Agriculture has confirmed that the vote to institute a state beef checkoff passed with 56 percent of producers voting in favor.

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association president Phil Reemtsma, says they did a lot of work to explain the referendum to producers.

“I’ve always said a successful referendum for the ICA is one where we have a lot of participation and then let the people decide the outcome, “Reemtsma says. “Obviously I’m happy with the outcome as well. I believe we did our job in getting it to a vote and trying to get the word out there as best we can.” Beginning on March 1st of 2017, producers will pay the 50 cent checkoff for every head of cattle sold.

“The work is really just beginning. Now it’s the Iowa Beef Industry Council’s responsibility and job to oversee the fund and make sure that those funds are utilized correctly according to what the producers would like to see happen,” Reemtsma says. There’s been a national effort to promote beef for many years, but Reemtsma says they felt the need to do something in Iowa.

He says will be run through the Iowa Treasury and then back to the Iowa Beef Industry Council and will be a separate fund from that national fund and give them more flexibility in using it. “And that’s one of the benefits of a state fund, we have a little more flexibility in how we spend those dollars,” Reemtsma says. He says it will be state dollars helping promote the industry, and he says it could also have some impact on the choices for those who eat beef.

“There may be opportunities for us to develop new products that the consumer wants and the consumer needs within beef,” according to Reemtsma. “And so we are always looking at trying to enhance the marketing to our consumers and having some additional funding to bring new products to the market that they may want is always beneficial.” Reemtsma says anything the checkoff dollars can do to support the industry is important.

“The cattle industry in the last 18 months has been through quite a roller coaster — from record highs in 2014 to record lows in ’15 and part of ’16,” Reemtsma says, “so we have to view this as a long-term investment in our industry. We are hopeful that the funding will help us in Iowa stay in business.” The checkoff referendum was the last big item on Reemstra’s list of things to do as his term as ICA president comes to an end. He runs a cattle operation in Dewitt in eastern Iowa.