Organization for Competitive Markets Disappointed about Checkoff Money Going to USFRATue, 22 Nov 2011 10:18:24 CST
In a Tuesday news release, The Organization for Competitive Markets has expressed concern about commodity checkoff monies being invested into the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), which equaled more than six million dollars from commodity promotion programs during FY 2011. The following is their statement.
Farmers and ranchers are mandated to pay into these programs to promote the commodity they produce and by extension, promote their financial interests. However, it appears that a significant portion of these funds is being allocated to a private organization to support promotion that is questionable under check-off act legislations.
USFRA is a confederation of more than fifty big Ag advocates, who promote their industrial vision for agriculture to consumers and the general public. Their philosophy and interests are diametrically opposed to that of traditional farmers and ranchers whose good name they have usurped and are attempting to trademark. They have retained high-powered and expensive communications and public relations firms to craft and propagate their message.
The $6.26 million which USDA AMS reported to have been transferred from commodity promotion programs represents more than half of the total USFRA budget as reported on the USFRA web site. We also know that USFRA received additional funds from programs for which AMS does not have oversight responsibility. The USDA AMS report purports to justify the propriety of the transfer of these funds but their rationale appears to OCM to be highly suspect. A detailed analysis is being conducted to determine if the use of the funds by USFRA is in accord with the legislative acts establishing these programs.
Fred Stokes, OCM President remarked; "Family farmers and ranchers are compelled to fund these commodity programs but it appears their money is being used to advance an agricultural structure which would abolish independent family agriculture."
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