If you don’t follow the beef industry very closely then you have been missing the battle of the beef check off dollars. Traditionally all the check off dollars have gone to the Alberta Beef Producers but there was growing dissent within the industry as to what the ABP was doing with that money for the industry’s benefit. As of April 10, 2009 you will be able ask for a refund from the ABP which is much similar to the Barley Commission of Soft Wheat Growers.
Much of the criticism surrounding the move is that the dollars will leave the system and be out elsewhere.
In talking to Rick Paskal, an Iron Springs based cattle feeder, he really disagrees by saying, “This is is just not so.” Paskal sees that most cattle-feeders that ask for a refund will place the funds with another association or will use the money for business related type expenses like purchasing feeder cattle.
I am sure that this story will continue to shake the halls during beef meetings over the next 12 months as industry participants continue to speculate on the affects on the industry. From my perspective I just hope that the end result is a more stable and profitable beef business in Canada. This must be the end goal for all decisions in the beef business going forward. If the neigh-sayers are correct that this decision will just increase the amount of fragmentation in the beef sector then we will have new problems to address in 24-72 months.