BETTENDORF, Iowa — Illinois Beef Association members
approved a strategic plan for the group that focuses on three areas.
“The IBA board of directors has worked on developing this
plan since the beginning of the year,” explained Reid Blossom, IBA executive
vice president. “This document is the big-picture outline of how one
organization structures itself and functions to address the mission statements
of both the policy and the checkoff divisions.”
Details of the IBA strategic plan were discussed during the
annual meeting of the group held at the 2014 Summer Conference.
The mission of the IBA policy division is “to serve our
members and promote the viability of the beef industry in Illinois.”
For the checkoff division, the policy is “to build demand
for beef through education, communication and marketing.”
The three strategic areas of the plan are: internal
structure and operations, engaging industry stakeholders and representing the
Illinois beef industry.
“For the first strategic area, we need to capitalize on the
resource of our volunteer leaders around the state and keep them informed,”
Blossom said. “We will help them be active leaders at the state and national
level on programs that affect other cattlemen.”
Within the engaging industry stakeholders area, the plan
calls for a three-year goal of a 5 percent annual membership growth to total
2,200 members by 2017.
“This goal also includes doing a better job of delivering
programs to benefit IBA members,” Blossom said.
And for the third area, IBA plans to engage more often with
other agricultural groups in the state to remain the voice of the industry.
“The goal is for IBA to be the go-to source of information
regarding all aspects of the beef industry in our state,” Blossom said. “We plan
to communicate with beef producers, non beef producers and the media.”
IBA members re-elected Alan Adams of Sandwich to serve as
president for the upcoming year. He will be assisted by Mike Martz of DeKalb as
the vice president.
The IBA members have made a lot of improvements in regard to
making contacts with policy makers, Adams noted.
“We need to be thinking about some of the state agencies we
need to work with like the Illinois EPA,” he said.
Another important agency is the Natural Resources
Conservation Service, led by Ivan Dozier, the state conservationist.
“Ivan told us a lot of government money is being turned back
in and that money could be going into member’s pockets,” Adams said. “We need to
find ways to make sure our members get those benefits.”
Several members were elected to open director positions for
the Checkoff Division: District 1 — Don Brown, Davis; District 2 — Liz Novotny,
Princeton; District 3 — Jim Sundberg, Mendota; District 5 — Sara Prescott,
Springfield; and District 6 — Steve Carruthers, Bingham.
For the Policy Division, members elected to serve as
directors are: District 1 — Joe Winter, Elizabeth; District 3 — Sandra
Robertson, DeKalb; District 4 — Dennis Huber, Plainville; and District 5 — Bill
With a unanimous vote, members decided to pursue the
reactivation of the voluntary Illinois 50-cent beef checkoff. The Illinois
checkoff is part of the state statute that was enacted on Aug. 18, 1983, as the
Illinois Beef Market Development Act.
The proposal for the Illinois checkoff is in addition to the
national $1 checkoff that was established by the 1985 farm bill and became
mandatory in 1988 with 79 percent of the cattlemen voters across the nation
“The No. 1 challenge is pretty clear, the beef herd in our
state has shrunk,” Blossom said. “In 1985, we collected $690,000, and in 2013,
the checkoff division collected $309,000.
In addition, he noted, the buying power of the national
checkoff program has decreased dramatically.
“What was once a $1-investment that gave a $1 return has
decreased 56 percent to a 44-cent return on the $1 investment,” he explained.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Martz agreed. “None of
us in this room are living on the same budget as in 1986.”
As a member of the executive board, Martz said, the IBA
staff has brought new ideas to each meeting, but there are not always funds for
“There are a ton of people in Chicago that we’re not
reaching,” he said. “And there are a lot of people in Peoria and St. Louis, so
we need more funds if we’re going to grow this industry in Illinois.”
An Illinois checkoff program has the ability to go beyond
the national checkoff, Blossom said.
“The Illinois beef checkoff is voluntary, and the money
collected in Illinois stays in Illinois,” he added. “It is also flexible, so it
can be used for rural youth educational programs, educational programs for
producers and to promote Illinois specific beef.”
According to the act, producer can request a refund of the
state checkoff within 30 days of the sale. A form to request this refund would
be made available on the IBA’s website.
Several states already have established state beef checkoff
programs, including Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, Washington, Georgia and
“Ohio passed a statewide referendum in March with a yes vote
of 72 percent of the cattle owners,” Blossom said.
In order for a referendum to be held to reactivate the state
checkoff program, 100 cattle owners in each of the seven districts across the
state must sign a petition calling for the referendum. All of these 700 cattle
producers must have owned or sold cattle in the previous calendar year or
presently own cattle.
Once the 700 signatures are collected, they will be
presented to the Illinois Department of Agriculture for certification to request
“A lot of producers benefit from programs, and unless we
talk to them and ask them to support this program, it will never come to be,”
The IBA president stressed the importance of increasing the
available funds for new programs.
“Checkoff directors have things in front of them today that
they never have before,” Adams said. “We’ve just scratched the surface — there’s
plenty more to do.”