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Agricultural Checkoff Programs

June 2, 2022
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Elena Bickell

Executive Summary

Research and promotion programs (also called “checkoff programs”) are organizations funded by agricultural producers and processors to promote the demand for agricultural commodities through advertising, consumer education, and research. Although the programs differ from one another, their ultimate goal is to improve the market position of agricultural commodities, increase demand, and develop new uses and markets.

Highlights 

  • Currently, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) oversees 21 research and promotion programs, each of which covers a different agricultural commodity.
  • Missouri, like many other states, has state-authorized programs that operate together with the federally-authorized programs (such as those for beef and soybeans).
  • Studies indicate that the benefits of checkoff programs generally exceed the costs. However, these studies often do not consider alternative promotion investment options to determine whether it is worth continuing the ones in place.

Limitations 

  • Because not all producers benefit equivalently from promotion and research activities, and measuring program efficiency is not something that researchers universally agree upon, more direct research is needed to determine checkoff program efficiency.
  • Although program assessments are intended to be used for promotion, research and industry information projects, public reports/data that indicate how the collected assessments were spent are not always available.
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