Maine Beef Council
Maine Beef Council



The $1 Beef Checkoff 

Congress enacted the Beef Promotion and Research Act, the "Beef Checkoff Program," with the passage of the 1985 Farm Bill. Producers approved making the Beef Checkoff Program mandatory in 1988, withe 79 percent voting in favor of it.

Producers asked that the checkoff program be built on these tenets:

  • All producers and importers pay the equivalent of $1 per head each and every time a beef animal is sold throughout its lifetime.
  • One-half of the money collected by state beef councils -- 50 cents of every dollar -- is invested through the beef council in each state.
  • All  national checkoff-funded programs are budgeted and evaluated by the Cattlemen's Beef Board, a stand-alone organization of checkoff-paying producer volunteers.
  • Cattlemen's Beef Board producer members are nominated by producer organizations in their states and appointed by the US Secretary of Agriculture.

The Beef Checkoff Program acts as a catalyst for change and was designated to stimulate the beef supply chain to sell more beef and stimulate consumers to buy more beef.

Producer Confidence In Checkoff Growing

Producers’ attitudes toward the beef checkoff program are quite favorable and have improved noticeably in the past year, an independent national survey of 1,200 producer has found. Currently about three in four approve of the program, a five-point positive shift in the past 12 months. There only has been one other time in checkoff history, where approval levels have increased by at least this amount in a one-year period. The last time approval levels were this high was in 1994. Producers have consistently tended to rate the checkoff positively. In the past five years, approval levels have ranged between 68 percent and the current level of 74 percent.


Questions? Need a form? Call 207/549-5972,

e-mail or download a form.

By law, all producers selling cattle or calves, for any reason and regardless of age or sex, must pay $1-per-head to support beef/veal promotion, research and information through the Beef Promotion and Research Act. Here are some specifics:

  • Whoever makes payment to the seller is considered a "Collection Point" or person and must withhold $1-per-head, remitting those funds to the Qualified State Beef Council (QSBC) where they live. Collection points could include auction markets, feedyards, dealers/order buyers, other producers, auctioneers, clerking services, banks, packers and other entities.
  • The buyer is generally responsible for collecting $1 per head from the seller. By law, both buyer and seller are equally liable to see that $1-per-head has been collected and paid.
  • Also under the Act and the Order, the State Beef Council is legally responsible for collecting monthly assessments as well as a two percent late charge on checkoff remittances if they are not received in our office postmarked by the 15th of the month following the month of sale.
  • No producer is exempt from the checkoff. Buyers who resell cattle no more than 10 days from the date of purchase may file a non-producer status form and avoid paying an additional dollar. They are, however, responsible for remitting collected funds and reporting any transaction to the QSBC.
  • Remember: A dollar or a document! All selling/purchase transactions must be reported. In each case, either $1-per-head or non-producer status form document must be collected by the buyer from the seller to show the dollar has been collected and paid within the past 10 days.
  • If it's more convenient, the seller of cattle may collect and remit funds collected. For instance, purebred breeders selling to many different buyers may wish to remit the checkoff themselves; persons exporting cattle should also pay when the cattle change hands. Buyers should keep receipts showing the checkoff has been paid.
  • Persons in non-compliance with the Act and Order are subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,500 per transaction, plus unremitted checkoff dollars and interest.
  • Research shows the checkoff returns of over $5.00 in terms of cattle prices that are higher than they would have been without checkoff-funded programs.

You can remit without using a form. Jot a note explaining: How many head were sold and the date of sale. Remit $1 per head to: MBIC, c/o Bank of America, 192 Water Street, Gardiner ME 04345. 

Also Visit, a new source of information about the national $1 beef checkoff. This site is designed to explain more about how the checkoff is managed, about the programs funded through the checkoff and, most important, about results the checkoff has produced. Please note that producers now have the option of receiving a monthly newsletter by simply typing in your e-mail address (bottom, left menu at the mybeefcheckoff site) and indicating beef or dairy option.


Please visit the "Producer Communications" section of the national beef website to learn that there are many brochures, beef promotion ads, flyers, and more which are are available for you to read, to better understand how the beef checkoff program operates and is evaluated. The site is:
And now ... some brief history and info about the $1 beef checkoff:

Beef producers created the checkoff as a self-help program to build demand for beef. If was approved in a 1988 referendum by 79 percent of beef producers after their input shaped the program's structure. The producer-directed program acts as a catalyst for change. Through advertising, cooperative marketing, public relations efforts, education programs and new product development initiatives, the checkoff aims to stimulate others to sell more beef.

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.


Q: Who benefits from the Checkoff?

A: Everyone involved in the cattle business benefits in direct proportion to their investment in the checkoff. Research shows a positive return for every $1.00 invested in the checkoff by every producer.

Q: Who has to pay the Checkoff Dollar?

A: Any producer selling cattle for any reason must pay the dollar. Under the law, cattle are defined as "any live, domesticated bovine animal, regardless of age." Besides cattle sold for slaughter, this includes all dairy and beef cattle sold for breeding purposes through auctions, private treaty sales (producer to producer) as well as cattle butchered by the producer and sold privately in the form of fresh beef.

The Buyer
The beef checkoff goes into effect every time a bovine animal is sold. The law requires that $1.00 per head be withheld from the sale proceeds by the buyer (Collection Point) and remitted to the Maine Beef Industry Council. A "Collection Point" is defined as "any person making payment to a producer for cattle." This includes auction markets, feedyards, dealer/order buyers, other producers, auctioneers, clerking services, banks, commission firms, and packers. When cattle are sold, the "Collection Point" (buyer) withholds $1.00 per head from the sale purchase price. These checkoff dollars are sent to the Maine Beef Industry Council.

The Seller
The seller is also responsible. The seller must collect and remit one dollar per head if:

  • The buyer or collection point fails to collect, or
  • The seller is a U.S. owner selling cattle for export

Either the buyer or seller may collect and remit the dollar in private treaty transactions. Both the buyer and the seller are equally liable under the law until dollars collected are received by the Maine Beef Industry Council.

Q: Who is exempt from paying the Checkoff?

A: No one. Special allowances are made for buyers reselling cattle no later than 10 days from the date of purchase. These individuals are defined as "resellers" or "non-producers." This exclusion is for individuals

  • Who receive only a pre-set sales commission or other service fee for selling cattle to a third party.
  • Who owned the cattle for the primary purpose of transferring ownership, such as a dealer or order buyer. 

Q: Where can I obtain the monthly remittance report form?

A: Download one form this site, call the Maine Beef Industry Council at 549-5972, or email us at and forms will be sent.

Q: I'm a Dairy Producer. Do I have to Checkoff private treaty and auction sales on my dairy cattle?

A: All cattle sold must comply to the checkoff. Sales by auction and private treaty of dairy cattle are subject to the $1.00 per head checkoff. A special remittance form is provided by the Maine Beef Industry Council for private treaty sales.

Q: I'm a Purebred Producer. Are my calves and sales of seedstock subject to the $1.00 per head Checkoff?

A: Again, yes. Any bovine animal sold for any purpose is subject to the $1.00 per head checkoff.

Q: I am the seller. If the buyer collects the dollar from me and doesn't remit the checkoff to the Maine Beef Industry Council, am I resolved of the obligation?

A: No. Contact the Maine Beef Industry Council in such cases and we will assist you in informing the buyer of their obligations and the consequences of not remitting collected checkoff dollars. Noncompliance can include a fine up to $5,000 per transaction. In a reverse situation, if the seller objects to paying, the buyer must deduct the checkoff dollars from the check or other sales' proceeds in order to avoid the buyer's liability.

Q: I'm paying my Checkoff Dollars. But how do I know that everyone else is participating?

A: The Maine Beef Industry Council monitors all Maine transactions to verify compliance with the checkoff program. A computer system helps to ensure that we are not missing significant beef checkoff dollars. Severe penalties also discourage noncompliance. A restraining order, then a civil penalty up to $5,000 per transaction, may be levied on individuals who refuse to cooperate. The system relies primarily on the state's beef and dairy producers to invest a small amount to generate increased demand for beef and better profit potential for their business. 




Funded by the Beef Checkoff © Copyright 2019, Maine Beef Industry.