Nevada Democrat Dina Titus recently introduced legislation to create financial controls and transparency for the USDA Ag checkoff programs. Titus said, “The USDA’s checkoff programs have operated without sufficient oversight for far too long. The “Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act” brings much-needed accountability and transparency.”
She feels family farmers shouldn’t be forced to pay into organizations that may sometimes lobby against their interests and threaten animal welfare. Congress authorized the commodity checkoff programs that allow farmers to bill themselves to pay into research and promotion programs for their particular commodities. However, groups backing the legislation say that organizations like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and other groups get access to these funds and don’t use them for their intended purposes.
Marty Irlby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action, says, “USDA’s runaway checkoff programs must be held accountable. Family farmers have a right to know where their hard-earned dollars are being spent.”
Earlier this year, four senators introduced companion legislation into the Senate for consideration.
If you have a story idea for the Washington Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail [email protected]