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Agricultural News

Past NCBA President Disappointed NFU Leaves Checkoff Discussions

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:33:16 CDT

Past NCBA President Disappointed NFU Leaves Checkoff Discussions

The beef checkoff enhancement working group has been around three years now. National Cattlemen's Beef Association Past President Scott George, a dairy producer from Cody, Wyoming has been serving as the NCBA representative during that timeframe. He is surprised by all the talk in recent days about the possibilities of dumping the act and order, the basis of the checkoff since 1985 and going to a 1996 generic checkoff law instead. He said to make changes or enhancements to the checkoff its not that simple.

"The current beef checkoff is under the 1985 Farm Bill and it is law and then there is a proposal possibly to consider looking at the 1996 generic commodity act and try to work something there," George said. "...You can't just walk out and kill a law and replace it with another without some legal maneuvering and working with Congress in this case and also with the producers. One thing all producers need to remember is no matter what is proposed its going to have to go to the producers in referendum form for their approval."

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm News Director Ron Hays recently interviewed Scott George about the state of the nation's beef checkoff program. You can listen to feature by Clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.

Earlier this month the National Farmers Union board voted to withdraw from the beef checkoff discussions. The board action was not unanimous as the largest Farmers Union state (by membership), Oklahoma, voted not to pull out of the talks. George said called the announcement surprising and disappointing.

The informal working group of ag organizations have been meeting and working together for about three years. George said in December of 2013, US Ag. Secretary Tom Visas met with representatives from all 11 groups at this office in Washington DC. At that meeting George said Vilsack expressed his support for the beef checkoff and his desire to enhance the program.   Vilsack told the group he wanted them to work together and find compromise. That would require give and take and Vilsack said that means everyone may not get what they want.

Following the meeting with Vilsack, the 11 groups agreed to meet together for three facilitated meetings. George said a facilitator was hired to help work through the progress. He said at the last meeting the group requested that staffers leave the room, leaving just the producers to talk.George said they came up with some compromises. This became the base for the memorandum of understanding. The MOU was recently completed after the Summer Cattle Industry Conference in Denver. George said he is hopeful the remaining groups will consider the memorandum of understanding and will discuss it soon.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Scott George
right-click to download mp3


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