USDA Claims Confidentiality for 12,000 Pages of Federal Checkoff Spending Records

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCM Moves Forward in Freedom of Information Case despite USDA’s Attempt to Conceal NCBA’s Abuses of Beef Checkoff Funds LINCOLN, NE – March 31, 2017 was the USDA’s court-ordered deadline to choose transparency or secrecy in a lawsuit over records from an audit initiated in 2011 of the federal Beef Checkoff Program. It chose secrecy. Out of a total of 12,341 pages of financial records from the audit and sought by the Organization for Competitive Read More …

Agriculture.com: SF Special: A Constant Battle for Beef Checkoff Transparency

Agriculture.com By Anna McConnell 3/21/2017  It all started when former Kansas City Star investigative reporter Mike McGraw overheard a conversation at the 2012 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Five years later, he’s unsure exactly what he heard and can’t locate his notes from the convention, but it was enough that the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) started balling its fists and marching toward the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board (CBB), also known as the Read More …

NCBA Files to Keep Up the Cover-Up of Abuses of Beef Checkoff Funds

On Tuesday, in a desperate move to conceal the truth about how cattlemen’s Beef Checkoff funds have been spent, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) filed a late claim to intervene in a case that has been ongoing for nearly two years and on an issue that the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has been pursuing for over five years. In October of 2014, OCM filed the original complaint for injunctive relief, demanding the Office of Inspector General Read More …

Evaluating My Beef Checkoff Return on Investment

In 1985 most cattlemen proudly acknowledged the passage of the Beef Promotion Act and Order that authorized a $1 per head checkoff assessment (Beef Checkoff) for the promotion of our own product, beef. These were exciting times with great expectations for improving both beef demand and severely depressed cattle markets. The passage of the Act and Order culminated many years of congressional debate and wrangling which began in 1972. Many changes were made to the Act and Order Read More …

The Beef Checkoff: A Broken and Failed Program

Organization for Competitive Markets In the early 80’s, after several years of losing market share to other meats, especially chicken,U.S. beef cattle producers initiated a Beef Checkoff Program (Checkoff Program) to promote beef. The program came into being on the third referendum and was included in the Farm Bill in 1985 as the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985. In 1996, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) became the prime contractor of the Checkoff Program, receiving the Read More …

36 Groups Urge Ag Secretary to Enforce Beef Checkoff Program’s Prohibition Against Conflicts of Interest; Urge Other Reforms

Joint News Release For Immediate Release: Contact: Bill Bullard: (406-670-8157) Fred Stokes (601-527-2459) September 11, 2014 36 Groups Urge Ag Secretary to Enforce Beef Checkoff Program’s Prohibition Against Conflicts of Interest; Urge Other Reforms Washington, DC – In the wake of this weekend’s announcement by the National Farmers Union (NFU) that it was withdrawing from the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group (working group), 36 organizations sent a joint letter today to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to Read More …

Briefing for USDA AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo

Ms. Alonzo, I am Fred Stokes representing The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), a sixteen year old non-profit advocate for a fair marketplace for what farmers and ranchers buy and what they sell.In other words, we want the game to be straight. I thank you for giving us this opportunity to express our concerns regarding the Beef Promotion and Research Program, commonly known as the Beef Checkoff. OCM has associated itself with other like-minded groups, including the Humane Read More …

The NCBA Beef Checkoff Contract: A Blatant, Fundamental and Egregious Conflict of Interest

To my bitter disappointment, the many efforts at reform of the cattle markets over the past 16 years have been frustrated by meatpackers and their minions. Chief minion has been the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). This organization is believed by many to be on the side of beef cattle producers. However, it has opposed every major market reform initiative; most notably the ban on packer ownership of cattle, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and putting the teeth Read More …