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Farmers Group Pulls Out of Beef Checkoff Working Group

08 September 2014

US - The US National Farmers Union has pulled out of the beef checkoff working group.

The NFU took the step because it said the working group was “a bridge to nowhere and a waste of time and resources”.

NFU said it has been working for the past three years to reform the beef checkoff system with other beef industry stakeholders.

But it said that the process was unlikely to result in necessary reform the union felt it was time for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to react to beef producers’ demand to reform the system.

NFU President Roger Johnson (pictured) said: “After three years of pushing for real reforms in the beef check-off programme, NFU has decided that the process has become a bridge to nowhere and a waste of time and resources.

“The working group was designed to bring together vested parties from across the beef industry and to attempt to reach a consensus on substantial reforms that would make the check-off a stronger, more effective tool for the beef industry.

“Sadly, it has become clear that in reality, there is no willingness from key players within the group to allow real reforms to take place.

“NFU remains willing and eager to engage with others who are interested in reforming the beef checkoff, such that it operates in a manner like other checkoff programmes.”

The NFU said that following reforms are necessary:
• The CBB must have the authority to carry out checkoff projects on its own, similar to other checkoff oversight boards.
• The CBB must be allowed to enter into checkoff contracts with non-policy organizations and private companies, such as ad agencies and public relations firms, in order to prevent policy-driven organizations from using checkoff dollars to fund overhead for political activity.
• The beef checkoff must be completely refundable.
• A referendum on the continuation of the beef checkoff must occur every five years.
It is our recommendation that USDA consider rewriting the beef check off program under the 1996 generic research and promotion act.

 

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