OCA President Questions Motive of Second Beef CheckoffTue, 11 Nov 2014 12:13:48 CST
US Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack published to the Federal Register Monday a request for information about what the cattle industry, the individual producers and beef industry groups, want to see in a new separate beef check off. It doesn't ask producers if they want a second beef checkoff, but he wants to know what they would like to see in a new checkoff molded under the 1996 generic commodity act, which gives the US Department of Agriculture a lot more authority than the 1985 Act that the current beef checkoff is set up under.
Richard Gebhart is Past Chairman of the Federation of the State Beef Council and is the current Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association President. From what he sees its all a power grab on behalf of the Ag Secretary and some of the groups he favors in the beef industry.
"It just makes no sense to me when he has a program in effect that was proved to return $11 to $1, has a producer approval rating of 70 percent plus for a long time," Gebhart said. "I would think the administration would like that kind of approval, but I don't understand why we would put in parallel system. It makes me sad that politicians take the checkoff, a producer program and play politics with it."
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm News Director Ron Hays interviewed Gebhart recently at the quarterly board meeting of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association this past week in El Reno. You can listen to the feature by Clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
Gebhart challenged anyone who criticizes the checkoff and say it's politically charged to attend one of the Beef Promotion operating committee meetings. Gebhart said the committee is made of ten people selected by the US Ag Secretary and ten people the Federation of State Beef Councils have selected.
"When you walk in that room, especially over the last two or three years, you have no idea what policy organization those people belong to," Gebhart said. "They are there to do their very best they can for producers."
In the news release, Secretary Vilsack announced his plans to ask the cattle industry questions about what they want to see in a new separate parallel beef checkoff program. He said the one common denominator of the groups that have been meeting on how to improve and reform the beef checkoff has been the need for money. Vilsack said this is a way to deliver those additional dollars. He is looking now for input from the cattle industry. He did not ask if producers wanted a second checkoff but rather what it should look like. Vilsack wants the cattle industry to respond to his request quickly. The deadline to answer the questions in the public register notice was December 10th.
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.
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