National Farmers Union Won't Support Two Beef CheckoffsTue, 18 Nov 2014 18:09:44 CST
The National Farmers Union has supported reform of the beef checkoff program, but they are specific on how they would like to see that take place. This comes after US Ag Secretary announced recently the US Department of Agriculture has published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting comments and input on what the beef checkoff should look at. Vilsack has said one way to increase resources for the beef checkoff for research, promotion and education would be through the creation of a second beef checkoff.
NFU Senior Vice President Chandler Goule said while NFU supports reform, they will not be supporting Vilsack's proposal to create a duplicative, separate beef checkoff.
"We only want one checkoff program in the end ," Goule said. "Having two checkoffs is just to difficult to sell in the countryside and so reforming and having one is the answer."
Radio Oklahoma Network's Leslie Smith interviewed Goule at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to the full interview.
In having a second checkoff created under the 1996 Generic Marketing Act, a producer referendum must be held within the first three years. That's another area of concern for NFU as the program could be up and running before producers have an opportunity to weigh in.
A big source of contention for NFU is the role the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has played in administering checkoff programs. NCBA is the largest contractor of the beef checkoff, which does not sit well with a organization that is often on the other side on policy issues.
"Here my producers are having to pay into this program where 93 percent of the money goes to them (NCBA)," Goule said. "It's time to look at a more flexible system, its time to bring in more players to this system, its time to make it more flexible and more transparent."
The comment period on the second beef checkoff continues through December 10th. Goule said NFU will be providing comments to the Federal Register.
" If it comes out and there will be two checkoff simultaneously, our comment will be very clear that the second checkoff, the reformed checkoff can not be activated until the '85 Act is repealed," Goule said. "We have been very clear with the Secretary (Vilsack) that we really appreciate an opportunity to put together a reformed checkoff, but it will say it not go into effect until the old program is done away with."
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