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What Is A Checkoff?
Agricultural research and promotion programs, or “checkoff programs”, are industry-funded initiatives that improve the market position of a commodity by expanding markets, increasing demand, conducting market and scientific research, and promoting industry initiatives and activities. The industry can accomplish more together than any individual company can accomplish alone. A checkoff program allows an industry to unify and pool resources, as well as identify and address issues that impact its sales, while having a substantially greater investment to drive demand.
Checkoff programs began operating at the state and regional level nearly a century ago. The term “checkoff” originated with some of the earliest voluntary research and promotion programs in which producers marked a checkoff box if they wished to contribute to the program. Today, federal checkoff programs are mandatory, but the “checkoff” name has remained.
In 1966, Congress began authorizing the establishment of checkoff programs at the federal level. In 1996, Congress passed the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act, which authorizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish checkoff programs through the federal rulemaking process, without Congress needing to pass a law. Between checkoff programs authorized by Congress, and checkoff programs established by the USDA, there are currently 21 agricultural checkoff programs at the federal level.
How it Works
The checkoff program collects quarterly assessments from every sod producer in the U.S. based on sales, which will then be used to fund research, national consumer advertising and promotions, equip growers with localized marketing tools, inform and educate key industry stakeholders and more. The results from these initiatives will then provide greater return on investment for all producers.