The Beef Industry Alliance

The Beef Industry Alliance

May 11, 2009 15:50 ET

The Beef Industry Alliance: Open Letter to All Beef Producers

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - May 11, 2009) - The Government of Alberta has recently introduced important legislation that will allow you to decide for yourself how your check-off dollars will be spent.

Choice is fundamental to democracy. Without choice there is no democracy. That is why this legislation is so important; it returns choice to our industry.

The beef industry is critical to the Alberta economy but it is one of the few industries that has been forced by law to pay a tax to one and only one organisation every time a bovine is sold. The new legislation introduced by the Government of Alberta changes that by making the checkoff refundable.

A refundable check-off means that you decide where your check-off dollars go. It allows you to support the causes that you feel are important to our industry. If you want your check-off dollars to continue to go to ABP then that is your choice. If on the other hand, there are other organisations that you believe will be more effective at advancing our industry, then you have the choice to support them.

That is why it is so disappointing that ABP does not support this new legislation. At a time when our industry should be uniting to confront issues like access to international markets, ABP seems to be seeking to divide us.

A refundable check-off is an enduring plebiscite. Each year producers will now be able to vote with their check-off dollars by supporting the organisation of their choice. Organisations will now have to earn your trust and your check-off dollars. This will bring accountability to our industry`s governance.

Fear mongering, claiming that money will leave our industry, ignores the fact that in other agriculture industries which do have refundable check-off, producers have continued their financial support. Those of us who believe in our industry will continue to fund effective organisations. If an organisation is effective it will be supported. Such fear mongering ignores your commitment to our industry.

A refundable check-off will not require ongoing involvement of government and it will put control of the beef industry back where it belongs, in the hands of producers. That is the Alberta way.

Our industry needs to come together to address the critical issues facing Alberta beef production and marketing. It is time for a new business model for our industry. We all must work together to ensure that Alberta beef is a profitable business for generations to come. Minister Groeneveld and the Alberta Government have given us that opportunity by giving us choice. We can't afford to waste it.

Sincerely,

Russ Pickett BIA Chairman

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