CN October November 2023 Vol. 62 Issue 6


being grazed by cows that were near ready to calve. So he placed lower-quality hay in a bale feeder within the pasture. “The hay helps lure cattle into a pasture,” he says.“And I figured that if the cows preferred the hay over the grass, the grass may not be as good as I thought.” Jimmy, Tracy, and their associate, Jesus M. Esparza, manage and run the entire operation. Whether it’s reading DNA and EPDs to produce the best calves, or assuring calves receive preconditioning programs to meet the specs for all-natural or NHTC markets, the operation enables them to take advantage of demand-based markets spawned by the Beef Checkoff years ago.

are on a vaccine protocol to develop a strong immune system. Calves are weaned at 4 to 5 months of age. Taylor prefers to fence-line wean when possible to reduce stress on calves and their mamas. Calves then graze native grasses and gradually move to more hay and feed during backgrounding. Supplements include feed from Livestock Nutrition Center. After backgrounding, calves are usually placed in the feedyard at about 700 pounds, then marketed through quality and production-based grids. Taylor gauges grass quality to help assure cows maintain good body condition scores (BCS) at breeding, usually at BCS 5 to 6. In August, he was concerned about the quality of a pasture

“Our ranch is being paid a high premium for our calves partly because of checkoff-funded research that has helped improve quality,” he says.“That and beef promotion help bring more domestic and international consumers to the beef dinner table. “I believe it would have been difficult to attain our overall success without the demand developed through checkoff funding.”


T he Beef Checkoff has paid for itself many times over.“In 2022, every $1 collected from producers generated an $11.91 return on investment,” says CBB Chairman Jimmy Taylor, a producer from Cheyenne, Okla. Checkoff-supported programs aimed at beef research, promotion and education have created exploding demand for U.S. beef here and abroad. The checkoff and the development of better genetics have led to more than 70 percent of U.S. beef carcasses grading Choice or better. Consumers love it. They pay high dollar for high-quality beef, even during a pandemic and weak economic times. Foreign buyers want the same quality, even in beef cuts and variety meats that may not appeal to American families. “Exports account for 15 percent of U.S. beef sold,” Taylor says, adding that export values increase annually for U.S. carcasses.“Exports account for about $450 in value for every fed animal marketed.” As CBB chairman, Taylor is one of 20 producers on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee that selects checkoff-funded projects dealing with beef promotion, research and education.

There are nine checkoff “contractors” and three subcontractors that make proposals for projects to meet promotion, research and education goals. The goals are developed from input from six key Checkoff Program Committees: Consumer Trust, Domestic Marketing, International Marketing, Nutrition and Health, Safety and Product Innovation, and Stakeholder Engagement. “Our 2024 budget is approximately $36 million,” Taylor explains.“But we have requests for about $49 million in projects. We’re typically $8 million to $10 million short. This year we’re $13 million short of what is being asked for program funding.” All Producers Benefit There are occasional complaints about the checkoff. Taylor stresses as an individual producer, he couldn't come close to matching what the checkoff provides to his family’s operation.“Last year I paid about $400 into the checkoff,” he says.“With that amount, I’m limited to what I could do by myself to promote beef. “But checkoff dollars from me and thousands of other small and large producers pooled together help fund

tremendous programs that help increase beef demand. However, more money is needed,” he asserts. “In 1988, when the first checkoff dollars were collected, the value of each dollar was much higher than it is now. Today, the same $1 per head amounts to only about 35 cents per head compared to the late 1980s.” Even with calf, stocker and fed-cattle prices elevated to record high levels the past couple of years, beef demand has remained high.“Last year domestically, beef demand was at a 33-year high and, internationally, we set an all-time record in value at $11.68 billion in exports,” Taylor says. “The checkoff is doing its job in creating beef demand. The problem is with the dollar shrinking more each year due to inflation, good checkoff programs go unfunded. As the dollar continues to shrink, it will eventually impact our program’s ability to function at the level we are accustomed to. “We need more funding for the checkoff.” For more on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Checkoff, visit


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