A few months ago, I caught wind of a new group being formed — the California Cattle Council — and I was not amused. All I heard was that there was going to be another group taking money from California dairy farmers and beef ranchers to “promote” the consumption of beef.
However, after some education on my behalf, I learned something odd. This is a refundable program. What? I had to ask for more information. Here’s what I learned: The California Cattle Council will assess a dollar a head from each head of cattle sold in California that weighs above 200 pounds, but the seller will have the ability to regain that dollar if they wish.
As far as I know, there is no current agricultural council in California that offers such a refund. With this being said, there is a huge amount of stress placed on the council to ensure that the entire process goes smoothly. It is the duty and obligation of the council to ensure that before a single dollar is used, the assessment and refund procedures are transparent and easy to use.
Being a bit of a skeptic of the entire process and after asking so many questions, I found myself nominated to the council as a dairy representative . . . funny how that works! After my selection, I was fortunate to make it to the first California Cattle Council meeting in Sacramento last week, and I could not believe what I heard.
In a large conference room, I sat shoulder to shoulder with some of the most impressive minds and critics I have ever met. Everyone present either owned cattle or processed cattle and were hell bent on ensuring any dollar assessed was used in the most effective way possible. The entire group agreed that there are many issues facing the cattle industry, and we must get a handle on it before things get worse. It was also stated that the way we have advertised in the past does not and has not worked. A new approach is in store, and I will be the first to tell you, you’re going to like what you see.
As of right now there have been no assessments nor will there be until a game plan is set, and logistics firmed up. The implementation date of the assessments is yet to be determined. Stay tuned.
I am confident that this council is going to do great things in the coming years.
Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.