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LETTER: Farmers know their checkoffs work

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To the Editor:

I must correct Alan Guebert’s column, “Nation shoulders 22 commodity checkoff programs,” in the July 10 edition of The Daily Republic. First, farmers fund checkoff programs, not taxpayers. The headline suggests otherwise.

Second, for the dairy checkoff, of which I’m proud to be the chairman, farmers have seen the benefits for decades -- and dairy farmers aren’t the only ones who believe that checkoff helps drive sales. A Texas A&M economic study, part of the United State’s Department of Agriculture’s annual report to Congress, confirms our strategies like working with and through partners, instead of doing traditional generic advertising and promotion, brings positive results.

One example is the checkoff’s partnership with Domino’s Pizza. From 2009 to 2011, dairy farmers saw a return of $7.70 for every checkoff dollar they invested. That’s twice the initial return of $3.90 for the entire checkoff before such partnerships began.

For the past 50-plus years, I’ve woken up before the sun rises to milk my cows -- a lifestyle my family shares with nation’s nearly 49,000 dairy farm families who are passionate about providing people with a healthy, nutritious product.

For several decades, our checkoff program has helped drive sales of our products and farmers know their checkoff works. Every day I talk with farmers, and there’s genuine excitement and appreciation for the checkoff and its role in keeping dairy’s benefits top-of-mind with consumers. They are pleased with what our checkoff has accomplished, and where it’s heading. They like our strong partnerships with restaurant chains, food manufacturers, health professionals and others that are helping drive sales. They also appreciate that the checkoff is leading the dairy industry to build consumer trust.

I’m proud of our checkoff, and would love to hear from fellow farmers on how we can continue to invest our dollars wisely.

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