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MDA seeks members for new beef task force

State Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson has announced plans to create a new task force to help enhance Minnesota's beef industry.

The new Beef Profitability Strategic Task Force will address several key objectives, such as determining what role, if any, the state should play in developing a source/age verification program; identifying the research needs of the beef industry; reviewing Minnesota's regulation and taxation of the beef industry; and considering ways to encourage young farmers to enter into beef production in Minnesota.

The task force will make its recommendations to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).

"Minnesota ranks in the top ten in livestock production nationally and we want to support the success of the beef industry by working with producers to make sure the future of the industry is competitive and vibrant," Commissioner Hugoson said. "We want to help our beef producers continue to meet their industry's challenges."

The 14-member task force will recognize the diverse nature of Minnesota's beef industry and include:

-- Five regional beef producers (a producer per region NW, NE, Central, SW and SE)

-- An order buyer or auction market representative

-- A packer or processor representative

-- A representative from the retailer/distributor/wholesale industry

-- A lender or agricultural finance representative

-- A veterinarian

-- Two representatives from statewide farm organizations

-- Two at-large individuals

Non-committee collaborators will include representatives from the MDA as well as the University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Commissioner Hugoson will appoint the committee, which will begin meeting in early 2008 to set goal and priorities. Committee applicants must fill out the "Open Appointments" form available on the Minnesota Secretary of State's website at Forms are also available by calling MDA at 651-201-6610.

Applications will be accepted through the close of business on Tuesday, Jan. 29.