In 2010, an audit of the equivalent of just nine days of beef checkoff program spending found more than $200,000 in improper spending by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), including the use of tax dollars for lobbying and overseas vacations. USDA then performed a full audit of the program but did not release it to the public, claiming it would cause embarrassment for USDA and fracturing of the beef industry if the details were made public. We have been fighting the USDA, and now NCBA as an intervenor, in federal court over a Freedom of Information Act request since 2014 to see the spending details of these federal tax dollars. Read more.
For decades, federal laws protected family farmers from monopoly power in the food industry. In October 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Secretary Sonny Perdue, withdrew critical protections intended to shield family farmers and ranchers from abusive practices by big agribusiness corporations. More than 80 farm and food organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of farmers, called on President Trump to reverse this decision, but were ignored. We are suing the Trump administration for illegally rolling back the Farmer Fair Practices (GIPSA) Rules. Read more.