AFR Disagrees With Likely Move by NFU to Withdraw From Beef Checkoff Working GroupThu, 21 Aug 2014 16:39:24 CDT
The Legislative Committee of the National Farmers Union is recommending to the full board of the NFU that they end participation with the working group of several organizations that have been meeting for three years in an attempt to find a way to improve the beef checkoff to everyone's satisfaction and to be able to have a referendum that would ask cattle producers to support a second dollar to be collected on every sale of an animal.
Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union says the recommendation is "strongly supported" because he says many of his members believe the process has become a waste of time, being controlled "largely by NCBA who doesn't want any reforms to the checkoff" while NFU members have been insistent that there needs to be reform and that "we need to separate that organization from the checkoff."
Johnson adds that there are reforms that his group wants- and will now ask USDA to help them explore how to make them happen. The reforms that NFU want include "CBB, the Cattlemen's Beef Board, should have the authority to determine how those dollars are spent" and that "the CBB itself ought to be allowed to enter into contracts with other groups in terms of how to spend those dollars" and that "the CBB have that direct authority over those dollars not policy organizations that ends up interfering with that process."
Johnson adds that NFU thinks the referendum should be fully refundable and that there should be a full vote by producers every five years in order for the checkoff to continue to be authorized.
While Johnson seems confident that his board will back the Legislative Committee, the President of the largest State Farmers Union in the country, Oklahoma's American Farmers and Ranchers, says they are not on board with Johnson and the Legislative Committee. Cattle and wheat producer Terry Detrick of Ames, Oklahoma says he has communicated with the Legislative Committee, NFU Leadership and their lead lobbyist Chandler Goule on this issue, going point by point with the resolution that the board will be voting on in September- saying it is not the right thing to do.
Detrick believes that if NFU is sincere in their desire to make changes in the Checkoff, they should stay engaged in the process. Detrick has served several years as a member representing Oklahoma producers on the CBB, the Cattlemen's Beef Board, and he says that in recent years, there have been major improvements to making a rather convoluted process a lot more workable- and that he is confident that the firewall between the policy side of NCBA is separated from the work done as a contractor for the Beef Checkoff.
Detrick talked with Farm Director Ron Hays about the NFU's likely move to walk away from the Beef Checkoff working group- and you can hear his thoughts on why he disagrees with that direction- and why NFU needs to stay at the table. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear that full conversation.
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