NOTE: The organic farming community is facing a full-court-press by the powerful industry lobby group, the Organic Trade Association. They want to pass a “checkoff” that will tax farmers to fund promotional and research work. The history of these checkoffs leave farmers extremely skeptical, to say the least. Cornucopia, and every organic farming group that has taken a position, has come out against the OTA proposal. The following commentary represents the position of the National Farmers Union, an ally in our work (the author, the President of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, is a certified organic dairyman).
by Darin Von Ruden | Wisconsin Farmers Union President
|Darin Von Ruden|
After three years of trying to work with industry stakeholders to make needed changes to the Beef Checkoff program, the National Farmers Union withdrew from the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group in early September.
The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) also withdrew from the working group, citing similar frustrations with a lack of progress since the group was formed in 2011.
NFU President Roger Johnson went so far as to call the working group a “bridge to nowhere” and a waste of time and resources. I have to agree.
The working group was designed to bring together vested parties from across the beef industry and to attempt to reach a consensus on substantial reforms that would make the checkoff a stronger, more effective tool for the beef industry.
The group also included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American National Cattlewomen, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Federation of State Beef Councils, Livestock Marketing Association, Meat Importers Council of America, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Livestock Producers Association and National Milk Producers Federation.
Sadly, it has become clear that in reality, there is no willingness from key players within the group to allow real reforms to take place. Read Full Article »