If you are unfortunate enough to have to be on the receiving end of contributing to any of numerous “check off” programs, the problem that has been going on forever with the Beef Check off should give you cause to check into your particular check off program.
Below is a copy of an email from Organization for Competitive Markets. You can get to their website by clicking through the hyperlink in the body.
March 31, 2017 was the USDA’s court-ordered deadline to choose transparency or secrecy in our lawsuit over records from an audit initiated in 2011 of the federal Beef Checkoff Program. It chose secrecy.
Out of a total of 12,341 pages of financial records from the audit and sought by the Organization for Competitive Markets through the Freedom of Information Act, USDA released less than 175 pages, most of which are already public tax forms. The remaining nearly 12,200 pages of checkoff-related records, however, were completely blacked out-USDA is claiming they are confidential. The bottom line is that USDA is withholding a staggering 98.5% of federal Beef Checkoff Program spending records from the cattle producers who are required to pay into the government program.
The lawsuit is part of OCM’s four-year battle on behalf of cattle producers to force the USDA to release government audit documents and financial records showing how cattle producers’ beef checkoff funds are being spent. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association-the primary spender of checkoff funds-has been fighting to keep the information hidden. USDA appears committed to helping NCBA conceal checkoff records, rather than assuring transparency for the producers it is supposed to be accountable to.
Check out our full press release for more details, and please share to help spread the word.
OCM will continue to battle for full disclosure of the audit and financial records in our effort to bring long-overdue transparency and accountability to the checkoff programs.
Director of Communications and Research
Organization for Competitive Markets