Lee Pitts: Or So We Were Told

First printed in the Livestock Market Digest By Lee Pitts Ever since the beef checkoff went into effect on July 18, 1986, we could count on regular “independent survey results” informing us that 70% or more of all cattlemen approved of the beef checkoff. Typical of such glowing report cards was the one that told us that for every beef checkoff dollar collected, cattlemen were receiving back $11.20 in revenue. You’d have to be a complete, knuckle-dragging ignoramus Read More …

Voice from the Ranch: Nebraska Cattle Producer Screwed by JBS Speaks the Truth

The world’s largest beef processing corporation, JBS, is underpaying family farmers and ranchers for their cattle. Even worse, our government is letting them get away with it. A recent announcement of yet another case where a JBS meatpacking plant failed to properly weigh and keep track of cattle delivered to its plant resulted in a paltry settlement between JBS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), highlighting how USDA is failing the American farmer and rancher. USDA Secretary Read More …

New JBS Violations Highlight Weak Enforcement of Packers & Stockyards Act

Today, Organization for Competitive Markets received information indicating that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will be releasing the terms of a settlement agreement with JBS Swift over its gross mishandling of beef carcasses at its Grand Island, Nebraska facility, its largest beef processing plant in the U.S. This unconscionable practice led to probable underpayments to cattle producers in violation of the Packers & Stockyards Act. In a soon to be released press statement, AMS Read More …

GIPSA is Dead; the Fight for Producer Protections Continues

In a move designed to take a thorn out of the side of the world’s largest meatpackers, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue put the final nail in the coffin of the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) by formalizing the elimination of the standalone agency and transferring its delegation to the historically big agribusiness-friendly Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Among its duties, the now defunct GIPSA agency was responsible for enforcement of antitrust law in Read More …

Nov. 2018 Drovers Poll: Beef Checkoff Not Working for Cattle Producers

On November 13, 2018, Drovers issued a poll asking the question, “Do you believe the Beef Checkoff is helping to stimulate beef demand and support your cattle business?” Two days later, the polling showed that 70 percent of Drovers’ audience who responded voted no. Even more telling was the more than 50 comments on the poll, which were removed from Drovers’ website that afternoon. However, screenshots of the deleted comments were preserved. See all of the deleted comments Read More …

OCM Beef Checkoff Transparency Lawsuit Moves Forward

In a FOIA case four years in the making, USDA is forced to explain to the court why it will not release government audit documents Lincoln, NE — Yesterday marked the start of the most critical phase in a four-year legal battle between family farmers and ranchers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over USDA’s refusal to release public audit and financial documents related to Beef Checkoff Program spending. By law, farmers and ranchers are mandated to Read More …

Over 200 Farm, Food and Rural Groups Endorse Agribusiness Merger Moratorium Bills

Broad and Diverse Coalition Urges Members of Congress to Cosponsor Landmark Legislation Washington, D.C. — Today, a broad-based coalition of 213 farm, food, rural, faith and consumer advocacy organizations delivered a letter to Congress endorsing food and agribusiness merger moratorium bills and urging members of the House and Senate to cosponsor the legislation. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced the Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2018 companion bills this Read More …