The Opportunities for Fairness in Farming, or OFF Act, was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week. It’s aimed at reforming the federal checkoff system.
“The concern is that this is not about the (Beef) Checkoff. It is actually about animal activists attacking us as beef producers,” says National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s CEO, Colin Woodall.
“The reason why I say that is when you look at the provisions of the OFF Act, the bill that was put in place or introduced, rather, by Senator Cory Booker, who is a Democrat vegan from New Jersey, and Senator Mike Lee, who is a meat-eating Republican from Utah, you can quite clearly see they do not understand how the checkoff works.”
For example, Woodall says the OFF Act says Checkoff money should not be used for lobbying.
“You can’t do that today. It says that checkoff money should not be used to disparage other agricultural commodities. You can’t do that with the checkoff today. It says that the financials of the checkoff should be published so that producers can look at them. All you have to do is go to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board website and you can find the financials of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.”
The legislation also says that the checkoff should be allowed to be investigated or audited by the office’s inspector general.
“Something else that can also happen today. So, you have to step back and say, ‘If all this stuff is already happening, why are they doing it?’ Because it is an attack on the checkoff and the real underlying support here are animal activist groups.”
The OFF Act, Woodall says, is part of a bigger effort to slow down meat consumption.
“They figure the best way to hit us now is just to make it harder for us to do what we do. In all honestly, when you look at that strategy in the checkoff in the OFF Act, it shows that the checkoff is extremely successful because we have been able to build some great beef demand with the checkoff programs.”
Woodall adds that these animal activist groups know if they make it harder to use the checkoff, then that will impact demand.
Source: NAFB News Service