What is a checkoff program?
A checkoff is an industry-funded generic marketing and research program designed to increase domestic and/or international demand for an agricultural commodity. This can be done through promotion, research and new product development, and a variety of other marketing tools. These programs are similar to businesses funded by shareholders (producers, processors, handlers, importers, etc.) with a board of directors that is accountable to the shareholders.
Who pays for the checkoff?
Each checkoff program is supported entirely by its respective industry, which could include U.S. producers, processors, handlers and importers. NO TAXPAYER OR GOVERNMENT FUNDS ARE INVOLVED. Contribution rates vary with the different checkoffs, but they are always based on a percentage of net sales or assessed at a set rate per production unit. Checkoff program participants contribute at the same program rate, no matter where their operation is located.
How do checkoffs benefit producers, processors, or importers?
The fundamental goal of every checkoff program is to increase commodity demand, thereby increasing the potential long-term economic growth of all sectors of the industry.
Do checkoffs benefit consumers?
Yes, checkoff programs benefit consumers by providing:
Product information to help make informed choices.
Research to create new and improved products that meet consumer quality, safety and nutritional expectations.
Who directs checkoff programs?
Checkoff programs are directed by industry-governed boards, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. These boards are responsible for allocating funds and approving business plans and programs, with USDA approval.
Checkoffs educate and inform key audiences and lead to product innovations and better choices.
Do checkoff programs receive government assistance?
No. Checkoffs are funded entirely by their respective industries, NOT by taxpayers or government agencies.
How is the federal government involved in checkoff programs?
Checkoff programs were established by acts of Congress. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has primary oversight responsibilities. USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) provides additional oversight responsibilities for checkoff program activities in international markets. USDA reviews and approves all checkoff program budgets, producers communications, advertisements, news releases and projects.
Who started checkoffs?
Checkoff programs are assessments brought into existence by the industry supporting them and made mandatory through an act of Congress. Checkoffs are directed and fully-funded by their respective industries, to stimulate demand and strengthen industries.