Vilsack Address Beef Checkoff MOU, Still Touts His Plan of Second CheckoffWed, 18 Mar 2015 15:33:40 CDT
This past week seven groups signed off on a so-called Memorandum of Understanding from the Beef Checkoff Working Group, as the groups try to move forward on getting a vote successfully for a second dollar for the dollar per head checkoff. One group decided not to sign the MOU. That was the U.S. Cattlemen's Association. Another group pulled out of the discussions all together last year. That was the National Farmers Union.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays was at the NFU annual convention earlier this week in Wichita, Kansas. One of the speakers was U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. One of the questions came from the audience during his presentation had to do with checkoff and his thoughts on the MOU. Click or tap below to listen to his response on today's edition of the Beef Buzz.
"I would imagine the groups that sign onto the MOU recognize that there is legislation that would be required to implement whatever it is they all agreed to, so the path forward would be to see if that can happen," Vilsack said. "Obviously there will be folks who think it's a good idea and folks who think it's a bad idea and with this Congress who knows, right, who knows?"
The Secretary reminded the audience that he tried to come up with an alternate plan in creating a second beef checkoff. An idea that no one supported, including NFU. Vilsack said he made an effort to figure out how to get more money into the beef checkoff because he believes there is need for additional research and marketing. He said both are need with the competitive nature with other protein sources domestically and internationally.
Another area of concern is the dietary guidelines recently put out by USDA and the Health and Human Services. Vilsack said those recommendations are based on a review of existing research.
"So if you are not doing enough research, then the body of research that the experts review will less than it is in some other area, so it just makes sense to me we just need more resources," Vilsack said.
Vilsack said he tried to get everyone in a room to come to an agreement. When that didn't work he used his power to create a second beef checkoff, to collect another $1 per head and devise a new way to get more resources into the system. When Vilsack talked with NFU President Roger Johnson, he realized no one supported the idea, not even NFU.
"There wasn't going to be anybody, not even my wife and kids, who think that's a good idea," Vilsack said. "I said ok fine, you guys figure out and you still haven't figure it out. So, I don't know whether if this piece of legislation is going to get through or not. You know and if it doesn't, you got the same old, same old. At least with my idea, you would have tried something different."
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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