Livestock Marketing Association











LMA Opposes USDA Creating Second Beef Checkoff

December 16, 2014

Kansas City, Mo.

The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) submitted comments opposing USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s plans to create a second Beef Checkoff under the Commodity, Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1996. Cattle producers already pay a $1 Checkoff each time cattle are sold. This program was created in 1985 under the Beef Promotion and Research Act. If USDA moves forward with their plans, the second Checkoff would run at the same time as the current Checkoff.

The LMA is the leading national trade organization for more than 800 livestock marketing businesses located throughout the United States. LMA represents more than 75 percent of the regularly selling local livestock auction markets. Approximately 36 million head of cattle are sold at livestock markets each year, making the markets a major collector of the dollar remitted to state beef councils under the current Beef Checkoff. For example, approximately 80 percent of the Checkoff funds in Tennessee and 60 percent of the funds in Oklahoma are collected at livestock markets.

Recognizing the important role that the current Beef Checkoff has in beef promotion, education, and research, LMA has been an active participant in a cross industry Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group. The group has been meeting regularly to discuss changes to the current Checkoff including a producer vote on increasing assessment rate. LMA has seen positive movement from this group and believes that USDA acting now, while the working group and the respective member organizations are finalizing an alternative solution, would be premature.

In addition, LMA emphasized the foundational belief that any Beef Checkoff program in the United States must be shaped and driven by the livestock industry and especially the producers paying into the program.

“We have concerns about the creation of a second Checkoff, as we have not experienced industry support for the creation of a second program,” said Dan Harris, LMA President and owner of Holton Livestock Exchange in Holton, Kan., in LMA’s comments to USDA. LMA has particular concerns that the new Checkoff could be collected for three years prior to a producer vote asking if the new Checkoff was desired.

“Additionally, two separate Checkoff programs would increase operational costs and could lead to divergent messages and strategy,” Harris continued. “From a collection standpoint, there is a risk that two programs will create unnecessary confusion in the collection of funds, especially if monies are collected in different circumstances and sent different places.”

After asking the Secretary not proceed with a second Checkoff, LMA provided feedback to the questions USDA asked in their notice, focusing on how a second Checkoff would need to be structured to maximize producer control and limit collection complications.

See LMA’s full comments here.

About the Livestock Marketing Association

The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., is North America’s leading, national trade association dedicated to serving its members in the open and competitive auction method of marketing livestock. Founded in 1947, LMA has more than 800 member businesses across the U.S. and Canada and remains invested in both the livestock and livestock marketing industries through member support, education programs, policy representation and communication efforts.


November 2, 2023

Florida auction market bounces back after Category 3 hurricane

As Hurricane Idalia grew closer to Florida’s Big Bend on Monday, August 28 — just two days before it would hit land — many residents were prepping for the storm. But for Alvin “Ab” Townsend and his nephew Rick Greiner, there was a different kind of preparation taking place. Tuesday is sale day at their Townsend Livestock Market, and it was business as usual, despite the uncertainty of what might come. “I started calling some of our buyers,” Greiner says. “And as long as they were going to buy cattle, we were going to have a sale.” So, sell cattle they did. They got through 400 head before they needed to shut down and head home. Early Wednesday morning, the Category 3 hurricane made landfall. Greiner couldn’t get out of his house, but Townsend — along with his wife and sister — were able to drive to the auction market that’s been in the family for four generations. At first, he thought they were at the wrong place. “It didn’t look anything like our place,” Townsend says. “Everything was just on the dirt. The building, our pens, everything was just on the dirt.” Moving On  Before Wednesday had ended, the family had called John Kissee, regional executive officer at Livestock Marketing Association. As longtime members, as well as clients of the association’s Livestock Marketing Insurance Agency, they knew they were covered.  Kissee understood Ab and Rick would want to move quickly but took time to ensure all bases were covered, insurance-wise. Kissee called back the following day, as promised. He told them the tear down and clean up could begin after taking photos to document the damage. By Monday, excavators were scraping the slab where the auction market once stood. Greiner says they had no choice but to move quickly, and they had no intention of missing more than one sale day. They started getting pens up and brainstorming how they’d hold the following week’s auction with less-than-ideal infrastructure.  To be safe, they didn’t advertise. And yet, they still got 400 head. It went well and they doubled their numbers the following week. Of course, there were challenges to selling in such makeshift facilities — like the Tuesday it rained all day and there was no barn to offer cover. But Greiner says they remained grateful through it all. “You don’t have to look very far to see somebody who’s got it worse than what we had,” he says. “We’re just lucky to be back to work and selling good cattle for our good producers.” A Helping Hand Both men are quick to credit the role Livestock Marketing Insurance Agency played in their recovery efforts. “I wouldn’t want to imagine not having Mr. John to call,” Greiner says.  Townsend agrees. “The thing with insurance,” the third-generation auction market operator says, “is you don’t need it until something happens. But then when something happens you better thank the Good Lord you had it. Because what would we have done?” Not only did Kissee and the insurance adjuster make the process a breeze, but Townsend says it never felt like a business transaction. “They’re more than just a company,” he says. “LMIA is a group of people who cares.”