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Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Angus Productions Inc.

Association Structure Discussed in Leadership Forum

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Jan. 29, 2009) — Potential changes to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) governance structure were discussed during the 2009 Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix, Ariz. A year ago, NCBA members shared concerns related to the association structure with members of a Governance Task Force co-chaired by past presidents Jan Lyons and John Queen. Presented at this year’s Leadership Forum were results of an analysis of NCBA structure by a professional consulting firm.

OPIS LLC, which specializes in association management issues, was engaged to assist the task force with identifying shortcomings of the current association structure and developing solutions.

According to Michael Gallery of OPIS, the current NCBA structure is cumbersome and may even perpetuate divisiveness among the membership. Gallery referred specifically to the separatist nature of the association’s Policy Division, which deals with legislative issues, and the Federation of State Beef Councils, which develops and implements beef promotion programs funded by beef checkoff funds provided by the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board.

Originally, the purpose of the two separate divisions was to maintain a “firewall” to ensure that lobbying efforts directed by the Policy Division were funded only through membership dues, while checkoff dollars were used only to fund programs for beef promotion and research. Legislation that authorized the mandatory dollar-a-head checkoff prohibits use of collections for lobbying efforts.

“We believe the current governance creates a firewall to communication,” Gallery stated. “We’re not suggesting you should relax the required separation of dollars, but there are other ways to do it than the way you are trying to do it now.”

OPIS will assist the Task Force in identifying specific problems with the current governance structure and development of solution alternatives. Pending approval by the NCBA Board of Directors, the Task Force will then propose a plan, including timelines, for implementing a new structure. The plan will be brought before the membership for final approval.

“The devil is in the details,” said Task Force co-chair Jan Lyons, of Manhattan, Kan. “We want and expect members to provide input to help direct this process.”

Editor’s Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API), which claims copyright to this article. It may not be published or distributed without the express permission of Angus Productions Inc. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at (816) 383-5270.