NCBA Calls on USDA to Explain Checkoff Role in Group's RestructuringWed, 26 May 2010 5:49:09 CDT
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association sat down with USDA officials on Tuesday in Washington to discuss USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack's letter to the President of the NCBA, Steve Fogelsong, regarding concerns of USDA about the restructuring plan that NCBA is contemplating. Click here for our story of May 20th that has details of the concerns- and a link to the full letter.
NCBA President Steve Fogelsong says that it's obvious from this meeting that "USDA wants to have a clear picture of what the Federation's role is in the new NCBA structure." The Federation that Fogelsong refers to is the entity that was created by the Checkoff law of the late 1980s that is the Federation of State Beef Councils that was originally the Beef Industry Council of the National Livestock and Meat Board. That group and the old NCA merged in the mid 1990s even as the new NCBA continued the role of the major checkoff contractor for doing the work of the checkoff at the direction of the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion Board.
The decision was made over a year ago that NCBA needed a new governing structure- and according to an interview that we did back in the winter at the Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio with Jan Lyons, who has been a co-chair of the Goverance Task Force for the organization- Click here to jump back to January and the Podcast that we did with Jan Lyons and her explanation of the restruturing plan- there was a conscious decision made to bring the Federation side of the organization closer to the Policy side instead of making the firewall higher. Lyons told us that both arguments were considered and that it was felt to be able to respond to the challenges the industry faces today- a closer relationship was justified.
At the meeting in San Antonio- there were folks raising concerns- including the soon to be Vice Chair of the Cattlemen's Beef Board Tom Jones of Arkansas, as well as CBB board member from Oklahoma Bob Drake, who was the last President of the old NCA before the merger was consumated. Click here for our conversation from Janaury with Tom Jones on the governance plan. And, our conversation with Bob Drake from Davis, Oklahoma can be heard by clicking here.
The meeting with USDA was followed by a News Teleconference by the NCBA- and Fogelsong, along with Scott George, Chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils, explained what USDA was wanting from the cattle group- and what the next steps are. Steve Fogelsong told reporters that USDA's Avalos ran the meeting and that Secretary Vilsack did not attend. He also said CBB has not weighed in yet on NCBA's significant changes since the convention in late January. USDA has asked the NCBA to respond to all points raised in the letter of earlier this month- NCBA promised a speedy and detailed reply- and both producers told reporters that they would be working on that quickly.
Click on the Listen Bar to hear an overview of what was said during the Conference Call on Tuesday afternoon.
NCBA next meets with reps of the groups that sent a letter to USDA back in March (the groups include American Farm Bureau Federation, Livestock Marketing Association, National Farmers Union, National Livestock Producers Association, National Milk Producers Federation and the US Cattleman’s Association) raising their concerns about the new structure and how checkoff dollars were being pulled closer to being influence primarily by NCBA's view of the world. Click here for our story of that letter from mid March of this year. That meeting happens later today at the offices of the American Farm Bureau in Washington- and we understand that the meeting will be chaired by Bob Stallman, President of the AFBF.
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