Brownfield Ag News | OCM: Beef Checkoff Suit Against USDA at Critical Phase

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Brownfield Ag News
By Tom Steever

Audio is available at above link.

The executive director of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) says that group’s Beef Checkoff suit against the USDA is at an important phase. Joe Maxwell tells Brownfield OCM has worked five years for the opportunity to file briefs and make its argument in federal court.

“Farmers and ranchers should have the right to know how their taxes are being expended,” Maxwell told Brownfield Ag News Friday, “so it’s critical now because we’re finally down to the important phase of making those arguments to a federal judge.”

OCM is getting pro-bono legal work on the case from attorneys for the Humane Society of the United States, according to a news release and confirmed to Brownfield by Maxwell.

A cattle producer and leader in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is disappointed about the lawsuit.

“It’s disheartening that (those pressing the lawsuit are) disappointed in how those dollars get invested, because the return on investment has shown to be very good,” said Dawn Caldwell, from Nebraska, chairman of the NCBA Federation Division. “The last (return on investment study) we did was $11.20 for every dollar invested.”

Joe Maxwell wants to make clear that OCM doesn’t take issue with the checkoff itself.

“We strongly support the Beef Checkoff,” said Maxwell.

The suit, according to Maxwell, addresses the release of government documents, but he says OCM hopes to one day have a U.S. branded beef program.

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