From South Dakota Farmer’s Union
President Tom Jones Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board 9000 E. Nichols Ave., Suite 215 Centennial, CO 80112
July 6, 2011 Dear Mr. Jones:
Trying times call for a leader who provides stability, foundation and the moral compass to lead their members through every battle. At every point in a divisive issue that leader’s head is being called for by the opposition. Through it all, that leader must stand their ground with conviction and serve the people they were elected to represent. You are that leader, Mr. Jones.
Your call to lead the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) during these trying times in our beef industry has shown that you have a great capacity to navigate the checkoff paying cattlemen and women through the battles we face. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has hijacked our producers’ checkoff dollars and used those funds against them. They‘ve committed fraudulent acts through misappropriating funds. They’re running their policy organization with 70% of their funds coming through our producers dollars. The blatant attempt by NCBA to seize more power through their proposed Gover- nance Task Force (GTF) has shown their naivety to the wishes of the checkoff paying cattlemen forcing the CBB to seek a stronger, independent stance as to how checkoff dollars are spent. Thankfully, with your leadership we will see stronger independence which is the wish of our over 9000 members. The smear campaign against you and the entire CBB by the NCBA is unwarranted and downright disrespectful. I want you to know that I, as President of the South Dakota Farmers Union, stand behind you and your leadership of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.
Unfortunately, NCBA doesn’t realize they have started this mess, and have given our industry a black eye. The corruption within their organization should be enough for every checkoff paying producer to call for complete separation of our check- off dollars and NCBA. I hope the NCBA would first publicly apologize to every producer for misusing their funds. Secondly, I call on NCBA to support the proposed changes to the Roles & Responsibilities Committee. If NCBA is incapable of completing these two simple tasks, immediate separation is required. After separation, NCBA should be put on probation for no less than five years and not be able to contract our checkoff dollars for at least that period of time.
It is unfortunate that the continuous pressure by NCBA brought the resignation of Mr. Ramey last week. He is a good man and doesn’t deserve the attacks by NCBA. We wish him the best as he moves forward. I realize the same pressure is being directed toward not only you, but the entire CBB executive committee and it cannot be easy for your or your families. I want you to know that not only do I encourage you to hang in there until the end but also want you to know that you have a friend in the cattle industry. I will personally devote my staff to supporting you and the CBB through these trying times. Your leadership is greatly appreciated and respected, thank you for all that you do.
Doug Sombke President, South Dakota Farmers Union