If you are a livestock or crop producer, you are probably paying into a mandatory checkoff program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Those checkoff programs have been a bone of contention between grower groups who favor payment to mandatory promotion, research and communications programs and those who want the entire checkoff system to be voluntary.
The biggest split between cattle producers can be found in Montana, where a lawsuit last year challenged the Montana Beef Council’s right to hold half of the checkoff dollars generated to be used for their purposes within the state. A federal district judge put an injunction on the Montana Beef Council, which was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
R-CALF USA, who filed the suit, is now going back to Judge Brian Morris and the U.S. District Court in Montana, to ask for the ruling to be expanded to an additional 13 states. Iowa is not one of those states, but the top three cattle states are included: Texas, Kansas and Nebraska, which on their own generate about $12 million each year.
(The full set of states in the R-CALF expansion of the Montana ruling are: Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin.)
Bill Bullard serves as Chief Executive Ofiicer of R-CALF USA. Bullard has been active in the protest against a mandatory checkoff since its inception. On several occasions he has out-talked and outflanked by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and its state affiliates and has drawn criticism from those who support the industry’s self-help program as it now stands. He spoke with Ron Hays, of the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network.
AUDIO: Profit Matters 8-13-18