Most Americans are in contact with the work of a checkoff every day without even knowing it. Whether it’s buying a new pair of jeans, eating a steak or pork chop or even walking across a carpeted floor—all of these things are made possible or even better because of national checkoffs. Virtually every checkoff started for the same reason: to drive demand through research, marketing and/or promotion.
Softwood lumber producers established their checkoff in 2012 after two decades of market-share erosion. Many of the programs funded initially were focused on promotion, including a campaign to expand softwood lumber into commercial and multi-family construction, targeting architects, developers, engineers and contractors.
After eight years of checkoff investments, the industry has experienced 6.3 billion board feet of new demand and an incremental $2.4 billion of revenue. Most recently, softwood lumber producers overwhelmingly approved the continuation of their checkoff and are now considering an increase in the assessment to fund even more work.
In 2008, Americans ate just two pounds of mangos a year. That same year, the national mango checkoff was established, and leaders began to invest in programs that researched the nutritional benefit of mangos.
Research results were then used in a national advertising campaign that enticed consumers with chef-inspired recipes, health facts and inspirational images of mangos. Fast forward to 2019 and consumers now eat nearly six pounds of mangos a year, almost a threefold jump.
When the soybean checkoff was created in 1991, there was an oversupply of soybean oil, driving prices down. Checkoff leaders began funding research to find new ways to use soybean oil, including in industrial applications. One of those efforts was plastic polyols made with soybean oil, replacing petroleum as a primary ingredient.
The checkoff remained involved in this technology, eventually connecting researchers and fabricators with end users. Today, the polyol technology funded by the checkoff can be found in countless products, including Ford vehicles, John Deere tractors, Goodyear tires and even carpet backing from multiple manufacturers.