The post below comes from Parke Wilde and the U.S. Food Policy blog; like everything else posted here it’s available in the public domain.
Coup d’etat in the Beef Industry: Tom Jones Resigns as Chairman of Cattlemen’s Beef Board
The industry trade press has mostly been absent from duty. The Rod Smith article for Feedstuffs about the Ramey resignation ignores the multi-million dollar questions about financial management, but spends whole paragraphs on an accusation that Ramey listened in on a conference call to which he was not invited. That seems to me like a trivial matter. Smith’s brief today editorializes that Jones “was also caught up in the apparently now-failed maneuvers by the board’s executive committee to restructure how beef checkoff programs are approved and funded by trying to pull the Federation of State Beef Councils out of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA).” I imagine most beef producers must be appalled at the anti-reform spin and will seek their information elsewhere. Won’t somebody in the trade press give this story the real investigation it deserves? Or will it all be swept under the rug?
In his resignation letter today, Jones cites family concerns and also writes:
I am so sorry to the members of this Board who truly want what’s best for every producer. Keep doing the right thing. Doing what’s right is all that matters. Some board members put their allegiance to their chosen association before their oath of obligation to serve all producers who pay the checkoff. This is a dangerous position to take. The checkoff program could benefit from positive change and it is difficult to work for that when your allegiance causes you to wear blinders to the change that is needed. It will also be impossible to defend those attitudes if or when this program is challenged.
I have never in my life seen as much public defamation and misrepresentation as I’ve seen lately. I know many of you as friends. This kind of behavior is beneath us as people of agriculture. When I see that kind of action, I look for the real purpose behind it. More often than not, that purpose is fear – fear of change, fear of the future. Fear may cause someone to want to hide the true issues, which are often based on the desire for money and power. My resignation from this Board certainly won’t solve all of the issues before the Board. You still have a lot of work to do and empty calls for “getting along” won’t get you anywhere.