Over 100 Ag and Forestry Groups Voice Opposition to Spartz Anti-Checkoff Amendment

September 27, 2023

In a letter sent this week to Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) alongside 129 leading state and national livestock, crop, and forestry organizations voiced its opposition to Rep. Victoria Spartz’s (R-IN) anti-checkoff amendment to legislation that funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Spartz amendment to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act attacks commodity checkoff programs, which are industry-led organizations that exist to promote agricultural products and support America’s hardworking farmers and ranchers.

“As a cattle producer, I am proud to pay into the Beef Checkoff because I know my $1 is doing more for our entire industry than I could do on my own,” said NCBA President Todd Wilkinson, a South Dakota cattle producer. “I urge Congress to stand with real farmers and ranchers over activists and reject Rep. Spartz’s attack on checkoff programs. Our future depends on the investments we make now, and the Beef Checkoff is the strongest tool we have to keep beef on consumers’ plates, strengthening the cattle industry today and for the next generation.”

Checkoff programs are administered by USDA and overseen by farmers and ranchers to promote different agricultural commodities. While the structure of each checkoff is unique to the individual commodity, checkoff boards all pool assessments from producers and use that funding to conduct research, raise consumer awareness, and build higher demand for agricultural products. By promoting these products, checkoffs ensure that future generations of farmers and ranchers can build a strong livelihood in agriculture.

The national organizations that signed on to the letter include the Almond Alliance, American Beekeeping Federation, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Honey Producers Association, American Mushroom Institute, American Sheep Industry Association, American Soybean Association, American Wood Council, Clean Fuels Alliance America, Corn Refiners Association, International Fresh Produce Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Christmas Tree Association, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Milk Producers Federation, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Pecan Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Potato Council, National Sorghum Producers, National Watermelon Association, North American Blueberry Council, North American Meat Institute, Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, Soy Aquaculture Alliance, Soy Transportation Coalition, United Egg Producers, and U.S. Peanut Federation. Additionally, 100 state organizations including NCBA affiliates joined the letter.

Together, these groups represent millions of hardworking farmers, ranchers, and foresters across the entire United States.

View the letter here.

Source: NCBA