The Beef Checkoff is a $1 tax on every head of cattle sold. The money is supposed to support the promotion and research of beef. Missouri cattle farmers pay over $2 million every year into this federal program.
Now, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) wants to increase the checkoff tax from $1 to $2-$3 per head, and the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) is lobbying for a $.50 (or more) per head brand new state beef checkoff tax. This is an unpopular, unaccountable use of farmers’ hard-earned money. And, it’s bad for all of us who care about family farms, good food and the democratic process.
The same organizations that are lobbying for this new money also lobby for things like: getting rid of our Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), doing away with local county control, allowing foreign corporations to own Missouri farmland and opposing enforcement of anti-trust laws. And, they supported the so-called “Right to Farm” constitutional amendment. In short, these commodity groups, funded with farmers’ dollars, support policies that promote the vertical integration and corporate control of the livestock industry at the expense of independent family farms, rural economies and consumer choice.
In the 2014 legislative session, a bill was proposed to allow the state beef board to increase the state’s beef checkoff tax.
MRCC engaged literally hundreds of beef producers to call their legislators & the Governor in opposition. As a result, they did not have the support to pass the beef checkoff as a stand-alone bill & had to amend it to an omnibus bill that passed in the last two days of the session.
Fortunately, Governor Nixon vetoed the bill. Then, corporate agri-business and their shiny-shoed lobbyists attempted to override the Governor’s veto, but we were able to defeat that attempt.
But, in 2015, this proposal is coming back, and the Governor will have serious pressure from corporate ag to sign the bill. And the USDA has just proposed a second beef checkoff program that producers will be expected to fund. Let’s say no to this agri-business supported tax—Support Family Farms, Not Corporate Farms & Multi-National Meatpackers.