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Category: Beef Checkoff

Now That’s A Checkoff
— by Lee Pitts

Because it has become a litmus test for its diehard supporters, I am often asked to clarify my position on the beef checkoff. It seems you are either friend or foe; you are either in the fraternity or you are not. But I didn´t quit their club . . . they quit me.

Before the vote on the third attempt to pass a beef checkoff I wrote in this very newspaper that I was going to vote yes, albeit with some reservations.

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Gone in a Mushroom Cloud
— by Lee Pitts

Whether you like your beef with or without mushrooms, a recent decision by the Supreme Court is going to leave a decidedly toadstool taste in the collective mouth of the beef industry for a long time. In upholding a previous ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court the Supremes ruled the mushroom checkoff´s advertising program violated the free speech rights of mushroom growers. In doing so it struck down the mushroom checkoff and opened the door to a challenge of the beef and pork checkoffs.

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Showing Their True Colors
— by Lee Pitts

It´s getting downright dirty out there.

On July 5, the judge in the federal district court in South Dakota hearing the Livestock Marketing Assn.´s case dropped a bombshell. You´ll recall the LMA is challenging the validation process used by the USDA to verify the 145,000 signatures gathered up by the LMA for a referendum. After the mushroom decision, the judge in that case, Judge Kornman, in effect said, why should I rule on whether there should be a vote on the checkoff if it is unconstitutional in the first place?… Read the rest


— by Lee Pitts

Prior to the National Cattlemen´s Beef Association summer conference in Reno, they put out a press release announcing a new wrinkle. According to the release the NCBA officers would host an open microphone forum in Reno and be available to respond to member´s questions and receive input on issues. In other words, they decided to let their members voice their own opinions at a meeting. What´s newsworthy is the organization had to put out a press release to let people know they´d have a chance to express their opinions at an NCBA meeting.… Read the rest


Spinning Out Of Control
— by Lee Pitts

If you thought creative usage of the English language, evasive answers and selective memory were practiced only in Washington D.C. you haven´t been reading the press releases spewing forth from NCBA headquarters. These people could give the Clinton White House lessons on spinning the facts. For example…

High Approval Ratings

ITEM: “What researchers found,” said Chairman of the Cattlemen´s Beef Board, Steve Hailey, “is that 4 out of 10 producers say they´ve never heard of the checkoff, or know very little about it.”… Read the rest


Check-up On The Check-off
— by Lee Pitts

In case you thought it was just we here at the Digest making a big deal about the merger and the subsequent confiscation of the beef checkoff by the NCBA, we share with you quotes from other interested parties. Admittedly, we present more negative comments than positive, figuring that the CBB and the NCBA have already spent four million of your dollars in the last ten months telling their side of the story.… Read the rest


Is Anybody Happy?
— by Lee Pitts

This can´t be what industry elders envisioned when they arranged the merger of the NCA and the Beef Board four years ago. When the NCBA gathers this month in the Phoenix desert for their annual convention they will do so under a big thundercloud of doubt that this marriage of new money and old tradition was maybe not such a good idea after all. With two states recently calling for the removal of NCBA´s head lobbyist in Washington and at least one former NCA President and Beef Board Chairman going public in the past year with their displeasure with the merger, the NCBA “shareholders” confab is more apt to resemble a dysfunctional family reunion.… Read the rest