OCM Defends Alliance with HSUS
Representing the Organization for Competitive Markets - beef producer Mike Callicrate explained on AgriTalk radio this week why OCM is working with the Humane Society of the United States. According to Callicrate - HSUS approached OCM because of some common interests. He says HSUS likes the family farm and ranch model and is looking for ways to support that - which opened a dialogue between the two groups. Callicrate defends HSUS as an animal welfare group and says he is in complete alignment with their philosophy that animals should be treated humanely. But the National Cattlemen's Beef Association - Calilcrate says OCM is continually on the other side of the issues. He says NCBA fights OCM in Congress, in state legislatures and does so with their checkoff dollars. That's why OCM is demanding a permanent injunction to separate NCBA from checkoff funds.
OCM has filed a lawsuit against USDA and the Cattlemen's Beef Board in an effort to end NCBA's role as a beef checkoff contractor. OCM claims that some of the 200-million dollars NCBA has received as a checkoff contractor has been misspent and diverted to promote policy instead of research and promotion. OCM believes the policies promoted are intended to help large packers and processors at the expense of family farmers and ranchers. Callicrate says the Secretary of Agriculture should have eliminated NCBA as a checkoff contractor two years ago when an Office of the Inspector General review found NCBA had misappropriated some checkoff dollars. NCBA CEO Forrest Roberts notes that the discrepancies were completely resolved to the satisfaction of USDA and the Cattlemen's Beef Board. Roberts also has confidence in the processes NCBA now has in place to ensure the separation of checkoff dollars and membership funds.
Roberts says NCBA does not use checkoff money to fund policies that help large operations at the expense of small farmers and ranchers. He also questions OCM's decision to form an alliance with HSUS - a group he says is all about eliminating animal agriculture and putting livestock producers out of business.
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