Ag Industry Triumphs Over Activist Groups with Defeat of Lee-Booker Amendment in the SenateFri, 29 Jun 2018 10:06:21 CDT
Thursday afternoon, members of the US Senate gathered in chamber to debate the proposed Farm Bill for 2018 offered by Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow. During the debate, an amendment put forth by Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Cory Booker of New Jersey was considered. The Lee-Booker amendment challenged the Checkoff programs for agricultural commodities across the spectrum, including the dollar per head beef Checkoff, one of the primary targets of the activist group pushing the amendment - the Humane Society of the United States. Ultimately the amendment was defeated 57 to 38. Had it passed, though, it would have drastically changed the way commodity Checkoff programs operate in the US.
In his arguments prior to the Senate’s vote on the amendment, Sen. Lee outlined the parameters of the amendment stating that it would “prohibit Checkoff programs from contracting with any organization that lobbies on agricultural policy with an exemption for research and institutions of higher education. It would also inhibit employees and agents of the Checkoff boards from engaging in activities that may pose a conflict of interest. Furthermore, the amendment would establish uniform standards for Checkoff programs that prohibit anti-competitive activity and any unfair or deceptive practices.”
While the HSUS says this amendment would bring transparency to the Checkoff system, the organization’s critics say in reality, it is just another attempt by the extremist group to inflict harm specifically on animal agriculture. Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow both urged their peers to vote the amendment down, rising to the defense of Checkoff programs and their current structure. The Senate affirmed their judgement, speedily rejecting the amendment, upon which National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester issued a statement cheering the decision calling it “a win for America’s cattle producers who voluntarily created and continue to overwhelmingly support the Beef Checkoff system.”
Kester pushed back on the supporters of the amendment, accusing them of being “militant vegans and extreme political organizations” attempting to advance their ultimate goal of “essentially (ending) animal agriculture.”
Listen to Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays’ coverage of the debate that took place over this amendment on the Senate Floor Thursday during the Farm Bill’s consideration, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is 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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