WASHINGTON (Oct. 20, 2011) – National Farmers Union and a coalition of organizations sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging him to take steps to make funding for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) more transparent and to ensure that more voices are heard when distributing checkoff dollars. The letter came as a result of a Sept. 27 meeting of ten agricultural organizations in Minneapolis.
“It is the recommendation of this group that seats be made available on all Joint Checkoff Committees for one representative from each national nonprofit industry-governed organization that would qualify as a checkoff contractor and desires to have a representative on the committee,” the coalition wrote. “These committee members would be allowed to engage in all deliberations of the committees; but would not have a vote on motions brought before the committee.”
Shrinking herd sizes have decreased the amount of checkoff dollars available. Checkoff money is used for promotional and research purposes within the livestock industry.
“This letter and the Sept. 27 meeting represent good first steps for making the checkoff process more transparent and ensuring more voices are included in those decisions,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “We would have liked to have seen even stronger recommendations to ensure that every livestock organization has a voice at the table and has an opportunity to receive checkoff dollars. Fewer and fewer organizations have access to that money now, which hurts the livestock industry as a whole. The industry would be best served to ensure that the interests of all livestock organizations are considered, and not just a few.”