Twenty people are gathering today at the Florida Cattlemen’s Association headquarters in Kissimmee for the first organizational meeting of the new Florida Cattle Enhancement Board.
The group is being funded with state dollars approved by the legislature and governor, and it will be managed as one of many direct service organizations (DSOs) through the University of Florida (UF) for the purpose of supporting research and education to, for and about the Florida cattle industry.
These 20 individuals represent a wide range of the industry’s brain trust when it comes to research and promotion in the beef industry, and the economic impact of the industry as a result of research, education, Extension and promotion.
This DSO is being set up very similar to the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, which organizes and allocates dollars from various sources for research projects and producer communications for the Florida citrus industry.
The original push for the DSO in the cattle industry began several years ago as a resolution of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, supporting a new referendum to increase the beef checkoff to meet the rising costs of research and promotional needs of the industry. But as the proposal for a producer referendum on the checkoff began to move through the legislature, the governor’s office and legislative leaders in both chambers chose instead to allocate some state dollars, thereby avoiding a costly referendum process to add to the checkoff, which the governor saw as an added tax on producers that he wanted to avoid.
The purpose of today’s meeting is to organize the new board officially and to review the rules and sunshine laws that will be part of its responsibilities.
Chairman Eric Jacobson
Vice Chairman Dr. Roger West
Secretary/Treasurer Liz Steele
Chief Operating Officer Jim Handley