Washington Farm Bureau Applauds Signing of 2ESSB 5150: Beef Checkoff Reform Set to Boost State's Beef Industry


On Monday, March 18, Washington Farm Bureau (WFB) joined stakeholders as Governor Inslee signed SB 5150 into law. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Shewmake, modifies the Beef Checkoff program by increasing the state’s levied assessment on cattle while also introducing a refund program. WFB has been engaged in this negotiation for several years, following the collective lead of livestock producers. 

Now that SB 5150 has been signed into law, the Washington levied assessment on beef will undergo an incremental increase of $0.50, resulting in a total state assessment of $2.50 over the next 36 months. In a positive exercise of commodity cooperation, spearheaded by Representative Dent, SB 5150 introduces an optional refund program designed to provide producers with an avenue to reclaim a portion of the assessment collected at the point of sale. Producers will be eligible to apply for a refund of the increased assessment up to $2.00 per head. The refund amounts will be distributed incrementally over the same timeline as the assessment increase, with refunds of up to $1.00 per head available beginning July 1, 2024, $1.50 per head beginning January 1, 2025, and $2.00 per head beginning January 1, 2026. 

Kady Porterfield, Chair of the WFB Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and President of the Washington Cattlewomen, remarked on the program, 

“I have seen firsthand the positive impact that our Washington Beef Checkoff program has made on beef sales in our state. I know that our marketing dollars are being used to drive demand for beef and generate programs that leave lasting impressions on consumers, retailers, chefs, and more. 

“As a rancher, it is so important to me that we continue to provide this type of education to people and keep our story of producing beef and raising cattle at the forefront. If we don’t tell our story, someone else will do it for us and we will not typically like those results. I’m glad to pay the Beef Checkoff as it is a great investment. This recent increase was needed, so that we may be able to continue to maintain and grow our impact without losing any ground.”

As SB 5150 was signed into law, Washington joins 15 other states offering similar refund opportunities to producers for additional state assessments, marking a significant step towards enhancing collaboration and support within the industry.

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