Effort to make beef checkoff voluntary fails in the House

Many legislators want rules changed.


By Dylan Sherman, North Dakota Newspaper Association Education Foundation

via Williston Herald Media (ND) - Feb 17, 2021


BISMARCK – An attempt to make the state beef checkoff payments voluntary failed in the North Dakota House on Feb. 9 by a vote of 41 to 53. However, legislators said changes need to be made in the future.


House Bill 1487 would have made the $1 beef checkoff paid to the state Beef Commission voluntary for local producers. Beef producers now pay a $1 per head checkoff on all beef sold in the U.S. and a second $1 per head to the state Beef Commission. Beef producers can request a refund for the state checkoff payments.


Beef producers in favor of the bill told the House Agriculture Committee on Feb. 5 about difficulty they face in applying for a refund and where the checkoff money is being spent in state.


Rep. Sebastian Ertelt, R-Lisbon, the sponsor of the bill, argued that the checkoff is another tax for producers, from a non-elected board.


“This is a tax, you can call it a checkoff, assessment, a fee or you can call it whatever you want, but it’s a tax,” he said...