If you go
What: Annual spring meeting of the Routt County Cattlemen's Association
When: 1 p.m. Friday
Where: Second floor of the Routt County Courthouse Annex, 136 Sixth St.
Contact: Call C.J. Mucklow, Routt County Cattlemen's president and director of the Routt County Cooperative Extension Office, at 879-0825 for more information.
Steamboat Springs A proposed increase in fees related to beef sales will likely be the meaty topic at a local cattlemen's meeting this week.
The annual spring meeting of the Routt County Cattlemen's Association is Friday at 1 p.m. on the second floor of the Routt County Courthouse Annex. C.J. Mucklow, president of the association and director of the Routt County Cooperative Extension Office, said the meeting will give ranchers and cattle feeders a chance to voice concerns - or express support - for a proposed increase in the federally mandated "beef check-off" fee.
Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger, a West Routt rancher, said every time cattle changes hands the seller is assessed a check-off fee, currently $1 per animal. Check-off fees have been collected federally for 20 years to generate revenue for research and promotion of the beef industry.
In 2006, a task force appointed by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association recommended that check-off fees be raised to as much as $2 per animal, "to assure strong demand-building initiatives for the beef industry in the future and to offset 20 years of inflation."
While a $1 increase might seem small, the money can add up quickly for ranchers who sell hundreds of head of cattle.
"Colorado collects a lot of fees because we have a lot of feedlots," Mucklow said.
"Who gets killed on this is the cattle feeders," added Monger. "But I do think the fee is a necessary thing - otherwise, who else is going to tout your product?"
In January, the task force presented its recommendations to the NCBA's Board of Directors, which is now assessing support for the fee increase across the country.
Mucklow said the Colorado Cattlemen's Association will vote on the increase at a meeting to be held in Steamboat later this spring.
Friday's county meeting also includes updates on agricultural land trusts and a controversial watershed protection ordinance proposed by the Steamboat Springs City Council - and opposed by numerous local ranchers - in December 2006.
A citizen committee is currently reviewing the ordinance, which is designed to protect local water sources but could restrict future agriculture-related activities on some rural lands outside city limits.