Right or Wrong?

29 Jun
Right or Wrong?
FR:  Hank Maxey, CBB Member, Virginia
TO:  Beef Board members, Federation directors, policy members, state beef council execs and boards, and all checkoff-paying producers,
As Gen. George Patton said, “Nobody wants peace more than a soldier.”
I am a cow-calf producer from Virginia who makes my living in the cow business. I was nominated by the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association and began this process to learn more about the industry that supports my family, and to enjoy the fellowship of other beef producers.
I have learned more than I wanted to know. And you must realize that we have some serious issues that have to be resolved – but there are solutions.
The controversy and mud-slinging seem overwhelming at times, but remember, just because one individual says something louder, cruder or more often doesn’t make it true. The rational, common-sense voice always carries the right answer.
There are a few basic rules in business and in life that we must follow: One of those is that you can’t compromise right and wrong. Giving in to blackmail tactics, media pressure, rumor and misinformation doesn’t solve problems; it only makes them worse.
We are at a crossroads with the checkoff. At present, there is abuse of funds that seems ongoing, with no apology, punishment or willingness to rectify the situation (it’s a catch-me-if-you-can approach). This approach needs to stop now so that we can restore the trust of producers in how NCBA spends checkoff dollars. If NCBA will follow the Beef Board’s guidelines and stop misusing checkoff dollars, we can restore their trust.
There is also undue influence over how dollars are budgeted and which projects are funded (and there is no end in sight for this with the current checkoff structure). The state and national system has worked well in the past, however, the culture seems to have changed with our checkoff partners. They seem to want all or nothing, and that is wrong.
I think there is a reasonable solution. When Qualified State Beef Councils ran the Federation top to bottom, it was in the producers’ hands. However, with the new structure and culture at NCBA, it is NCBA that completely controls the Federation. That said, I will admit that in the last six months, the Federation has slowly moved in the right direction to rectify the situation. A truly independent federation is the right thing, so I encourage the QSBC board members and Federation members to continue working towards independence.
In my opinion, the producers from CBB need to work hand-in-hand with the producers from a truly independent Federation. Producer representatives from all of the other industry organizations should also be involved as CBB and the Federation plan, budget, fund and evaluate checkoff programs.  We need to continue working together but in a different way. This should solve many of our quarrels because this process would be more transparent and more inclusive of all producers.
Finally, I need to address the attacks on individuals. It is malicious and wrong, and this dishonorable tactic is being used to deter individuals from focusing on the main issues. If some QSBCs insist on the removal of certain CBB leaders without knowing the facts, then they should also demand the removal of certain NCBA leaders who performed more serious errors and wouldn’t admit their actions until required to do so. There have been mistakes made by both CBB and NCBA, and both deserve equal treatment for their mistakes.
I suggest that each of you look within before you continue to throw stones. If you don’t stand up for what is right, you’ll fall for anything – right or wrong.
Hank Maxey
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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


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