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ND Stockmen's to seek increase in $1 beef checkoff

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- The North Dakota Stockmen's Association will lobby the 2015 Legislature to double the $1-per-head checkoff ranchers pay when they sell cattle.

The national beef checkoff hasn't changed for three decades, prompting seven states to increase the checkoff on the state level. Chairmen of the House and Senate agriculture committees say that for North Dakota to become the eighth, the Stockmen's will need to justify an increase.

Stockmen's Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson says the buying power of the dollar checkoff has diminished, and the beef industry needs to stay competitive.

Under the Stockmen's proposal, half of the $2 checkoff would go to a national board and the other half would stay with the state Beef Commission. Ranchers would have the option of asking for the second dollar to be refunded.