The Roundup -

A Steak in Ag

 


R-CALF USA may be defined as a non-profit producer organization, but our work benefits anyone who eats meat and lives in an economy that includes agriculture. We’re more than a producer organization; we’re your organization!

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves R-CALF USA’s Request to Investigate Cattle Price Collapse.

In a letter signed by the chairman and ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), respectively, along with the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), respectively, the GAO is asked to investigate the cause of the sudden 15.1 percent drop in fed cattle prices that occurred during the latter half of 2015.

“We are pleased the Judiciary Committee agrees that the evidence we provided regarding the dysfunctionality of our fed cattle market warrants a careful investigation into the current structure of our industry and our industry’s susceptibility to anticompetitive practices,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

The Judiciary Committee’s letter specifically requested the GAO to conduct “a review of the structure of the market and of any possible anticompetitive conduct.”

R-CALF USA filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging that the Beef Checkoff tax, which collected more than $80 million in FY 2015, is being unconstitutionally used to promote international beef, to the detriment of U.S. cattle producers.

“The Checkoff’s implied message that all beef is equal, regardless of where the cattle are born or how they are raised, harms U.S. farmers and ranchers and deceives U.S. citizens,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. “Despite what we know to be clear evidence about the high quality of beef raised by independent U.S. cattlemen, we are being taxed to promote a message that beef raised without the strict standards used by our members is the same as all other beef, a message we do not support and do not agree with.”

Our suit, filed recently in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, alleges the USDA’s allocation of Checkoff funds violates the First Amendment by compelling R-CALF USA members to finance the private speech of the Montana Beef Council. The Council encourages a misperception among consumers that harms the business of independent producers. Those non-domestic beef products promoted by the Council, R-CALF USA says, are “less safe and less wholesome than those produced by the organizations’ members and originate from cattle not raised using the U.S. cattle industry’s rigorous animal husbandry practices” “Checkoff money being raised here in the U.S. is being used to advertise beef being raised under conditions that are not transparent and that our members have no control over,” Bullard added. “We’re a non-profit association of proud, independent cattle producers from 43 different states who are committed to the safety and quality of our products. Our ranchers shouldn’t have to pay for advertising blitzes benefitting multinational operators that seek to turn our food supply over to huge corporations.”

For additional information on any of the topics mentioned, please visit http://www.r-calfusa.com.

Solely donations and membership dues fund R-CALF USA. Please consider becoming a member or giving a donation. For more info or to join, go to http://www.r-calfusa.com, 406-252-2516.

 

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