October 31, 2020
TAMPA, FL – Today the Organization for Competitive Markets issued the following statement after a series of cattlemen’s meetings held in Florida regarding the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Beef Checkoff Program, a quasi-governmental agency known as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
The statement follows a campaign of misinformation by NCBA president Marty Smith who attacked OCM, it’s board members, and cowardly deflected open conversations related to NCBA’s consistent pattern of spending hard-earned farmer dollars to further the monopolization of industrial agriculture and policies that work against the interest of the very cattlemen who’ve funded NCBA for decades.
“OCM stands firmly in support of putting more farmers back on the land, and reigning in the egregious and illegal activities NCBA continues to engage in. NCBA president Marty Smith, was invited to speak with stakeholders in his home state who simply wanted to engage in an open dialogue on how to solve the radical declines of beef prices that have shuttered the industry, and furthered the globalization of industrial agriculture now controlled by a monopoly of four big packers.
“The meetings were not initiated by OCM and came to fruition as a result of Florida cattlemen who requested OCM attempt to bring industry stakeholders together for the betterment of the industry. Smith’s cowardly disparagement campaign, and failure to disclose NCBA’s partnerships with the World Wildlife Fund, Humane Society of the U.S., and the ASPCA, is simply the ‘pot calling the kettle black,’ and Smith should be ashamed of his actions.”
OCM, along with more than 250,000 farmers and ranchers across America, the Heritage Foundation, and others have been pushing for checkoff reform and pushing to advance the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, S. 935/H.R. 5563, introduced this Congress by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in the Senate and Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) in the House. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has cosponsored the bill in the 116 th Congress, as well as Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO).
“It was disappointing that once again NCBA was not willing to participate in current industry discussions,” said Vaughn Meyer, president of the Organization for Competitive Markets.
“NCBA president Marty Smith’s attack against OCM board member Marty Irby is disparaging, and hypocritical as NCBA has partnered with both the Humane Society of the U.S., ASPCA, and World Wildlife Fund,” said Mike Eby, executive director of the Organization for Competitive Markets.
The OFF Act has received endorsements from the Journal Times, Muskogee Phoenix, Kenosha News in Wisconsin in 2020 and we’ve also gotten some recent additional press on the bipartisan support in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Daily Caller’s 2018 Investigation on the Dairy Checkoff revealed numerous abuses, and the Government Accountability Office’s 2017 reportclearly reported evidence of the need for checkoff reform.
Further information regarding the corruption of commodity checkoffs and the 10 most egregious abuses of the checkoff programs is below: