April 25th, 2016
Today, the Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC) is pleased to announce a stunning victory for Missouri’s independent cattle farmers over corporate agriculture, with the defeat of the proposed Missouri beef checkoff. MRCC, a statewide farm and rural organization that represents independent cattle farmers, led the “Vote NO” campaign.
This was a tremendous victory for Missouri cattle farmers and the future of our industry. Thousands of family farmers said loud and clear that they do not support paying any additional beef checkoffs.
According to the results announced today by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, 77% of registered producers voted in the referendum and 75% of those voters said “NO” to a new beef checkoff.
“Missouri cattle producers are on the right side of history and this vote shows that we are willing to stand up and fight for the future of our industry,” said Darvin Bentlage, cattle farmer from Barton County, MO. “We will not cave to special interests and unaccountable government agencies attempting to take over our industry.”
This new checkoff was an attempt to force Missouri’s 50,000 cattle farmers to pay over $2 million a year into a new unaccountable state beef checkoff program. U.S. cattle producers have already paid over $2 billion into the federal beef checkoff program, which has been a failure. Beef consumption is down 32%, 40% of Missouri cattle operations have gone out of business, and more and more of our checkoff dollars are going to promote foreign beef. Adding a new mandatory checkoff clearly was not the answer.
Unfortunately, organizations that supported this new state beef checkoff continue to demonstrate that they are out-of-touch with the vast majority of Missouri’s cattle farmers.
“This was not only a fight against the new beef checkoff, it is also a fight about what kind of livestock production we want in Missouri—corporate controlled industrial livestock production, or a future for family farm agriculture,” said Roger Allison, cattle farmer from Howard County and Executive Director of MRCC. “This vote is an example of how we can and will fight and win for our independence, democracy and the future of family farms.”