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Published November 07, 2009, 01:00 AM

Oacoma man sets goals for future of beef group

The new president of the South Dakota Beef Industry Council says he’s hoping to continue responsible management of the organization’s Beef Checkoff dollars as he and other cattle producers wait for the economy to improve. After serving two terms as vice president, Merrill Karlen, of Oacoma, was elected SDBIC president. He’s been a director on the council since 2003, representing the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.

By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic

OACOMA — The new president of the South Dakota Beef Industry Council says he’s hoping to continue responsible management of the organization’s Beef Checkoff dollars as he and other cattle producers wait for the economy to improve.

After serving two terms as vice president, Merrill Karlen, of Oacoma, was elected SDBIC president. He’s been a director on the council since 2003, representing the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.

He’s also a director on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee.

Karlen said he became involved with the SDBIC as a way to reciprocate what had been accomplished by the council’s Beef Checkoff program.

The SDBIC administers the program, which charges producers $1 for each head of cattle sold. The collected money is used for promotion, education or research programs. Half of each $1 is given to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for national programs. The remaining 50 cents is invested in either national or state programs, depending on the decision of the SDBIC.

“I’ve always been interested in working in the industry, trying to help out when I can,” Karlen said. “The industry’s been good to me and I’m trying to give something back.”

Karlen said current economic conditions have taken a toll on cattle producers, but most are staying hopeful for future economic recovery and that will mean good things for area cattlemen.

“Cattlemen aren’t immune to what’s going on in the national scene,” Karlen said. “I think, in the long term, we’ve got a lot of optimism and a lot of positive things to look forward to.”

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