Question checkoff funding of bloggers and get kicked in the shins…

FeedstuffsOne of my favorite things about being a reporter is asking tough questions. I love digging and probing to find what Paul Harvey called “the rest of the story.” In a business where journalists are inundated with press releases and story pitches, doing some actual investigative reporting is why many of us got in the profession in the first place.

My column in Feedstuffs this week deals with some tough questions about the beef checkoff. Checkoff organizations, namely the beef checkoff, paid for some number of farmers/ranchers to get started blogging about their operations. This is a somewhat recent discovery, though it is not a relatively new practice.

To that end, I tackled the wisdom of funding “startup beef bloggers” with checkoff dollars.

The response, via Facebook, has been… interesting. My question to my friends and colleagues in the beef industry: are you getting the point of my editorial yet? If not, reread this paragraph:

On the contrary, my concern was illustrated when Feedstuffs asked a question about the practice of Checkoff-sponsored blogs via Facebook, and Burkholder responded with what I considered a fairly terse and defensive tone.

If those anointed with Checkoff dollars can’t withstand minor scrutiny from within the industry, how can they possibly match wits with intellectual heavyweights like Wayne Pacelle or Michael Pollan from without the protective bubble of agriculture?

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About Andy Vance

Grains and Biofuels Editor at Feedstuffs, the weekly newspaper for agribusiness, and resident blogger at If the pen is truly mightier than the sword, I may be the most dangerous man I know...

One Response to “Question checkoff funding of bloggers and get kicked in the shins…”

  1. It tare took me a while to learn exactly what you are talking about. I fear that as more producers start having conversations that they will not truly be conversations however they will be sermons.