Beef producers will keep campaign - for now

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Beef producers aren't going to follow in the path of pork producers in eliminating their "Beef: It's not just for dinner" industry ad campaign. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Jan. 17 announced that an attempt by some cattleman to hold an immediate referendum on continuing its $1-a-head mandatory assessments to support marketing programs by the Cattleman's Beef Promotion and Research Board had failed. According to the department's Agricultural Marketing Service, 107,883 votes were needed, but no more than 83,464 were submitted, with some of those of questionable validity.

The service's administrator, however, warned the number should be a message. "Thousands of beef producers have signaled their concern," she said, also noting that a department task force had recommended referendums every five years. The cattlemen's last referendum was in 1988. The checkoff program raises about $80 million a year, of which about a third goes into advertising.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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