Reinstating the Iowa beef checkoff?
By LARRY KERSHNER
FORT DODGE – If the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has its way, the former Iowa Beef Checkoff will be reinstated, possibly this year.
A total of 230 people at the 2016 Webster County Cattlemen’s annual banquet Monday night heard an update from Justine Stevenson, ICA’s director of government relations and public policy, who said both houses of the Iowa Legislature have approved bills making its possible to reinstate the Iowa Beef Checkoff.
She said the measure now awaits the governor’s signature, after which ICA members will vote on the measure.
If approved, Iowa cattlemen will continue to pay the $1 assessed on per head of cattle sold for the national checkoff, plus an additional 50 cents to be used expressly for the state organization.
“With the value of the dollar as it is,” Stevenson said, “we need more money to compete with other (meat commodities) out there.”
In the 1980s, Iowa cattlemen were assessed 50 cents per head sold to be used for state beef promotions and research. The state checkoff was eliminated when the national checkoff program was created.
Stevenson said on a national level, the organization is seeking to reverse the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s waters of the U.S. rule, which was supposed to go into effect in August 2015.
She said the controversial ruling could open farmers to getting into trouble with the EPA if they make improvements or other land management changes on their farms.
These can include tiling a low spot in the field to avoid periodic flooding, even though the spot is dry most of the year.
“Right now the rule is not in effect because it’s tied up the courts,” Stevenson said. “But it seems it will take a change in the administration” to assure the rule is completely killed.
2016 queen, princess
Peyton Heslop, 16, of Gowrie, went from serving as the county’s 2015 beef princess to becoming the 2016 beef queen. She was crowned by outgoing queen Emma Clough, of Clare.
Heslop then crowned the 2016 beef princess, Anna Heatherington, 17, of Fort Dodge.
Heslop and Heatherington are both students at Southeast Valley High School in Gowrie.
Heatherington said she’s excited to be the reigning princess, knowing she’ll be the 2017 queen.
“This means that I’ll be able to meet new people,” she said, “and learn more about beef production.”
“It’s a great opportunity to be the princess and queen.”
Tom Hiler, a cattleman from Rockwell City and the district 8 ICA representative, told membership ICA is moving its annual summer convention in Des Moines to later in the year, giving the organization a chance to schedule four regional conventions in order to get more members involved in setting annual policies.
“This is your organization,” Hiler said, “and we need to get your input.”
Following the regional meetings, the annual statewide convention will be set for later in the fall to establish the organization’s goals for 2017, Hiler said.
He said the northwest region, of which Webster County is a part, will be held in Spencer on June 22.
The Webster County banquet concluded with the annual auction for local businesses and individuals to sponsor the trophies to be given in the Webster County Fair beef show.
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