Beef industry commission restores state checkoff

george quackenbush | July 21, 2023

The Michigan Beef Industry Commission voted Thursday to restore a state checkoff program on the sale of cattle in Michigan. The move is expected to generate as much as $500,000 annually for the Commission, which works to inform consumers about the dietary benefits of beef consumption, build consumer trust and promote the safe, responsible practices used to raise and process beef. 

Checkoff programs are a tool commonly used by agricultural commodities to support their respective industry programs. Michigan had a state checkoff program, which assessed producers one-tenth of a percent on the sale of all cattle, but shelved its program when a federal dollar-per-head checkoff program was created in 1985.   

The MBIC has operated for nearly 40 years on one half of the federal dollar-per-head checkoff revenue. Industry leaders noted the buying power of a dollar has decreased significantly over time. In recent years, producer organizations have recommended MBIC re-start its state-authorized percentage-based checkoff with a $1-per-head cap. The commission’s vote today means Michigan will join 18 other states with a state checkoff in addition to the federal program.    

“This change is long overdue,” said MBIC Chairman Monte Bordner. “This is about growing consumer trust, improving beef’s visibility, and enhancing our educational programs. A state checkoff program will modernize our efforts and raise our voice in support of Michigan cattle producers more effectively. This decision was a decade in the making but has been among my top priorities as chair of this commission.” Michigan beef leaders say the state program will also help ensure that money raised by Michigan cattle producers goes to directly support Michigan’s beef industry and create in-state opportunities.   

“Michigan beef producers are facing intense pressure today,” said MBIC Executive Director George Quackenbush. “Consumers in Michigan and around the nation are more disconnected than ever from how their food is raised, have been fed a distorted image of how beef is raised by groups intent on removing beef from the diet. As the face and voice of the beef industry, we need a modernized resource model to inform this conversation more effectively and to keep beef at the center of the plate.”    

Michigan’s checkoff program is set to begin Jan.1, 2024. Quackenbush said the coming months will be spent working with producers and others in the sector to ensure a smooth implementation.    

On July 20, 2023, the Michigan Beef Industry Commission will be considering the proposal to restart Michigan’s state checkoff.  The proposed state checkoff rate is 10 cents per $100 in value, capped at $1 per head and would be collected alongside the current federal $1 per head checkoff.   The proposal will be discussed at online listening sessions hosted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 10:00 am on June 29, 2023 and at 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm on July 13, 2023.  All meetings are open to the public.  

june 29, 2023 meeting info


10:00AM EST: Meeting ID: 215 959 570 847 Passcode: 6onG7e 

Dial-In: 248-509-0316 Phone Conference ID: 771 527 995# 

july 13, 2023 meeting info


1:00PM EST: Meeting ID: 258 471 023 748 Passcode: FmWimK 

Dial-In: 248-509-0316 Phone Conference ID: 547 086 831# 

7:00PM EST: Meeting ID: 299 819 908 881 Passcode: 5Fa66E 

Dial-In: 248-509-0316 Phone Conference ID: 115 956 596# 

Michigan’s State Checkoff- a brief history 

The Michigan Beef Industry Commission is the face and voice of beef producers in Michigan, working to build consumer demand for beef by growing consumer trust and promoting beef’s value.  Consumers have never been more disconnected from where their food comes from, which allows outside voices to leverage misinformation about beef very successfully.  Presently less than 1/3 of Michigan consumers have a positive perception of how cattle are raised.  We must do more to educate consumers about what beef producers do, and the many benefits of the product we produce.   

MBIC is focused on educating the public about the value of beef, growing trust in how we raise beef, and making our programs visible.  An updated funding mechanism is critically needed to support MBIC’s efforts to achieve these goals.      

In recent years, producer organizations have recommended MBIC re-start a state check-off that existed before the national program was established in 1985. We’re working hard to get the word out to producers around the state about this proposal to re-start our state checkoff, why it’s needed now and what it will mean for the future of the beef industry in Michigan. 

Michigan’s Checkoff Timeline


Michigan Beef Industry Commission was established by the MI legislature via Public Act 291.  The legislation authorized the commission to make an assessment of not more than 1/10th of 1% of gross receipts from the sale of all cattle.


Cattle producers throughout Michigan pledge their support to MBIC by the passage of a state referendum.


The Beef Promotion and Research Act was passed as part of the 1985 Farm Bill, providing the base for development of a national, producer-funded beef promotion and research program — the Beef Checkoff Program.  The assessment rate prescribed by the federal law was $1 per head.


Michigan Beef Industry Commission is certified by the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board to operate as the Qualified State Beef Council in Michigan.  The Commission votes to set-aside the state assessment and begin collecting the $1 per head national beef checkoff.


Beef producers vote to continue the one dollar per head national beef checkoff.


The Michigan Cattlemen’s Association and other organizations approve policy supporting an increase in the National Beef Checkoff of at least an additional $1 per head.


After attempts to increase the National Beef Checkoff are thwarted, Michigan agriculture organizations begin approving policy supporting reinstatement of assessments under Public Act 291 of 1972 (the state checkoff).


An industry task force including representatives from the Michigan Cattlemen’s Association, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Milk Producers Association and Dairy Farmers of America approve a recommendation requesting MBIC restart state checkoff.


Michigan beef producers urged to give their opinion on the recommendation via a statewide survey with 69% responding in support of the recommendation.  However, with a prolonged decline in fed cattle prices from early 2015 into 2016, the Commission determined it was not the right time to restart the state checkoff.


The Michigan Beef Industry Commission restructures staffing and gives up a long-standing lease to maintain operations with reduced revenue.


MBIC Directors identify 4 strategic focus areas for the Commission. They include:

  • Enhanced Consumer Education
  • Improved Consumer Trust
  • Increased Visibility
  • Greater Financial & Operational Stability

For more information or to speak with an MBIC staff member, please contact us or call [517] 347-0911.