The Lightning Rod For Checkoff Litigation (NCBA) Responds To Lawsuit…

30 Aug


HSUS, OCM Form Alliance to Destroy Beef Checkoff


– Animal Rights Organization Partners with Fringe Farm Group

WASHINGTON – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander expressed disgust following an announcement that the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has formed a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to destroy more than 25 years of market development and consumer demand building by the Beef Checkoff Program.

Specifically, OCM announced yesterday evening that it will file a lawsuit today seeking an injunction against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. OCM President and Director Fred Stokes stated during the press briefing that HSUS is helping fund its efforts to file the lawsuit. OCM claims to advocate for a fair, competitive agricultural marketplace; however, in doing so it partnered with an organization known for its anti-agriculture agenda. According to Alexander, independent research shows the beef checkoff is supported by nearly 75 percent of cattlemen and women.

“HSUS is an organization going state by state vowing to end production agriculture by outlawing scientifically validated production practices in animal agriculture. Their efforts put people out of business and often jeopardize the well-being of livestock,” said Alexander.

OCM made no secrets about its connection to HSUS during the press conference.

Stokes said, “OCM and every cowboy out there owes a deep gratitude to the Humane Society of the United States.”

Alexander, who is also an independent cattle feeder from Pilger, Neb., said it is paramount for cattlemen and cattlewomen to know that OCM is working with an extremist animal rights group to disable a program dedicated to building demand for beef.

“Their actions will impact consumers by increasing protein costs at the grocery store. They are no friend to family farmers and ranchers or consumers and will be challenged at every corner by NCBA,” said Alexander. “Animal agriculture is vital to sustaining food production and we will not sit by and allow these organizations to stifle our ability to mitigate hunger and feed people here and abroad.”




Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “The Lightning Rod For Checkoff Litigation (NCBA) Responds To Lawsuit…

  1. Tom

    August 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Destroy demand? Really? The NCBA has used the checkoff to advantage the meat packers over the producers in policy, which is against the law and the interests of cattle producers. What a spin the NCBA has put on their own law breaking and the interests of their real members–cattle producers.


    • beefcheckoff

      August 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Tom, thanks for your post. Perhaps the industry and the federal agency charged with oversight of the beef checkoff (USDA) should consider the fact that a particular contractor’s relationship with the checkoff continues to be a lightning rod for litigation that threatens the very existence of the entire program.

      The initial solutions seem simple: separate the Federation of State Beef Councils from NCBA, making the group an autonomous body that’s distanced from NCBA’s influence; change the language of the law to completely eliminate the Operating Committee, further removing the checkoff from NCBA’s influence (the Operating Committee is a dinosaur that’s been around since the checkoff was mandated by Congress); and change language in the law that requires the CBB to use outside contractors and, at the same time, expand the CBB’s authority to conduct checkoff-funded programs, reducing the need for outside contractors that inevitably end up being policy organizations.

      State beef councils have largely been allowed to escape their role in this debacle. They need to be held accountable for their responsibility in this and pressure from the grassroots needs to be applied. State beef councils make up NCBA’s Federation Division. Their outright refusal to vote themselves into a separate, autonomous entity has put the integrity and credibility of the checkoff – indeed its entire future – at risk. If you look at past posts on this blog you’ll see that state beef councils were instrumental in the ouster of Tom Ramey and Tom Jones from their leadership positions with the CBB. The industry needs to consider what’s wrong with that picture and find solid solutions that will enhance broader and more diverse producer representation at the state level on beef councils. How can we expect the CBB to administer and lead the checkoff effectively when state beef councils are allowed to brutalize the leaders who attempt to do the right thing?

      Relative to the current lawsuit, it’s easy to find fault with anyone who invites HSUS into “our” house, but rather than making HSUS the central issue – as NCBA is trying to do – wouldn’t it be wiser to consider what’s brought us to this point and make meaningful changes quickly to the checkoff program so this string of litigation finally stops? This will require some heavy lifting and a commitment from all those involved to the future of the checkoff.


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