Manitoulin beef farmer in favour of checkoff rate increase

Funds to go toward ambitious industry-wide marketing effort for Ontario beef

SHEGUIANDAH—At least one Manitoulin Island beef farmer is in favour of the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) approving an increase in its checkoff rate per animal to fund an ambitious industry-wide marketing effort for Ontario beef.

“Like everything else you have to market the product you are selling or producing; it’s important,” said Bruce Wood in an interview last Friday. “And it is nice to see several groups working together to market and promote the beef market.”

“As long as they are using the money wisely, for marketing, I am in favour of it,” said Mr. Wood.

During the Beef Farmers of Ontario annual general meeting on Wednesday of last week, attendees voted 87 percent in favour of the plan after a similar plan was rejected at last year’s meeting.

This year’s proposal varied slightly from the one discussed in 2018, with more details on how the program will be managed, a marketing committee being formed that will be made up of BFO and Ontario Cattleman’s Association members.

The BFO reported that the board of directors of BFO as well as the Ontario Cattle Feeders Association (OCFA) plan to combine marketing efforts into one joint marketing committee, which will be keenly focused on increasing the market penetration of Ontario-branded beef products, both here at home and abroad.

Jim Clark has agreed to manage this marketing committee and assumes the role of CEO of Ontario beef marketing, in addition to his ongoing role as executive director of OCFA.

The committee will provide overarching support and promotion for all Ontario beef brands in regional, domestic and international markets by working with our farmer and partners in the processing, retail and food service sectors.

“By combining the marketing efforts and budgets of both organizations we will unite strengths and avoid duplication of costs, making best use of producers funds, while ensuring sharper focus and better results for Ontario’s beef farmers,” the BFO notes.

The two organizations requested the provincial check-off increase of $1.50 per head combined with the existing check-off to make a total Ontario beef check-off of $5.50 per transaction.

Of the new $1.50, $1.25 will fund the joint marketing committee and $0.25 will be directed to BFO to support consumer and producer engagement efforts.

Mr. Wood said, “consumer perspective is key. If you do a good job marketing and telling consumers about and why a product is good, that, for instance, you get vitamins in beef that you can’t get from anywhere else, it promotes the industry in a positive way.”