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Montana Ag Network : Montana Beef Council an Important Asset to Ranchers

Posted at 8:04 PM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 22:06:49-04

Since 1954, the Montana Beef Council’s mission has been to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international consumer marketing programs thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.

Leo McDonnell is a rancher and former Cattlemen’s Beef Board member from Columbus, and he said there are some big issues impacting today’s ranchers that the beef checkoff can help with.

“Climate change, environmental issues, animal welfare issues and the big one right now on our plate are these plant proteins and culture proteins coming up kind of what I call fake meat,” said McDonnell. “We need this money out there working for us because there’s nobody else going to work on the research and the promotion to help us counter some of the false claims and nonsense we’re seeing.”

He said with issues like these out there, the U.S. beef industry is at a tipping point and now’s not the time to be stepping back but instead should be stepping forward and putting these beef checkoff dollars to work.

“You know I think the Beef Council does a great job regardless of whether you like their structure or not; that will happen in different avenues,” said McDonnell. “But for just getting out there and getting the job done, who else is going to do it? No one. And it needs to be done. It needs to be done yesterday. We need to get these dollars back and get them working for us. If you got differences with how it’s structured, then you know to go through your political routes or whatever and handle it or your policy groups and handle that. But I don’t think anybody wants to see that checkoff go away completely. That’d be crazy.”

He said there are always going to be differences of opinion when it comes to programs like the beef checkoff in Montana but the money that’s being collected and put to work by the Montana Beef Council is doing a lot of good for Montana’s beef cattle industry.

“You know I think you need to handle it like a family or a community. You have to realize we’re going to have some differences, but it doesn’t mean that you abandon people that are important in your life or your family. You focus on where you have an agreement. And I think we can all agree that we need to be doing these projects, continue to promote and continue the research that we do with beef. Keep your focus there and go sign that form.”

The Producer Consent to Fund Montana Beef Council Form is available at Montana auction markets and local brand inspectors or you can download the form by visiting By signing the form, it gives the authorization to retain up to 50 cents per head of the Federal $1-per-head beef checkoff assessment collected on cattle sold.