Cattlemen’s Beef Board Presents First Checkoff Visionary Award to Florida’s Jo Ann Smith

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 10, 2021) – Today, Jo Ann Smith of Wacahoota, Florida was presented with the Cattlemen’s Beef Board’s first-ever Beef Checkoff Visionary Award during the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention’s Opening General Session in Nashville, Tennessee.

This honor recognizes an individual in the beef industry who has demonstrated exemplary support of and commitment to the Checkoff’s goals and vision.

“Jo Ann Smith has been a tireless advocate for the beef industry for decades,” said Hugh Sanburg, 2021 Chair of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB). “When national trends and fad diets tarnished beef’s image in the late 1970s and early 1980s, demand fell sharply. That’s when Jo Ann and other beef industry stakeholders worked diligently to win approval for a national Beef Checkoff program. Without Jo Ann’s efforts, the beef industry might look very different today.

”More than 40 years ago, as cattle prices were plummeting, a group of cattlemen and ranchers came to Smith, asking how the beef industry could help itself and address flagging consumer demand. The question, “What could we accomplish with a national checkoff?” came up during those discussions.

“As a group, we tried to put together a program that would pass so we would have a checkoff,” Smith said. “That was our ultimate goal. We needed enough money to pull together as an industry and get beef’s message out because new consumers are out there every day – and it’s our responsibility to educate them about why they should choose beef.

”In 1986, Smith became the first chair of the newly formed Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Thanks to the strong foundation that Smith and others established during those early days, Beef Checkoff programs have diligently communicated beef’s great taste, value and nutrition to consumers here in the U.S. and around the world for 35 years.

“Jo Ann’s tenacity, hard work and leadership turned the dream of a Beef Checkoff into reality,” said Greg Hanes, CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. “She has truly been a trailblazer, and all of us in the beef industry are grateful for what she has accomplished – not just in her role with the CBB, but also with the many other local, state and national beef industry organizations she’s been involved with over the years. Truly, there’s no one more deserving of our first Checkoff Visionary Award.

”For more information about the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the Beef Checkoff and its programs –promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and safety – visit

To download videos about the Checkoff’s 35th anniversary and Jo Ann Smith’s path to the Checkoff Visionary Award, visit:


The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The Checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national Checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.