The national check-off is a mandatory levy of $1 per head collected on cattle sales throughout Canada to fund research and marketing activities on behalf of the entire industry. It is collected from cattle producers when they market their cattle by provincial organizations, using their existing collection systems involving auction markets, order buyers, brand inspectors and others who handle cattle sales.
The goal of the national check-off is twofold – to increase sales of domestic and export beef and to find better and more efficient methods of producing beef and beef cattle. The national check-off generates over $8 million annually and is a critical source of revenue to fund initiatives that will advance the industry and build strong markets for Canadian cattle and beef.
The national check-off solely funds research and marketing activities and does not provide any funding to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association which is funded separately through provincial organizations.
The national check-off provides industry funding for the Beef Cattle Research Council responsible for the industry’s national research program as well as funding for Canada Beef Inc. and their work in domestic and U.S. marketing and market development in Mexico, Asia, and more recently Russia and the Middle East.
An independent study evaluating economic benefits from the national check-off shows that Canadian beef cattle producers’ funding of research and marketing activities has delivered strong return on investment — and compared to other commodities falls squarely within the range of values reported for other regions and commodities and is higher in some cases. (See Study Q&A (pdf), Full Study (PDF) and Supplemental Report.
While the national check-off provides the core industry funding for research and marketing, it does not fully cover the costs of all programs and activities. Supplementary funding is obtained by leveraging the national check-off, attracting $6 for every $1 of producer check-off funds. The national check-off provides “industry funds” used as the basis to access matching dollars from other sources.
At the present time, Canada’s beef cattle check-off does not apply to live animals exported from Canada, nor does the levy apply to imported cattle and beef products. It is estimated that application of the national check-off to imported product would generate an additional $800,000 annually.