On behalf of our Oklahoma members, the Organization for Competitive Markets, Oklahoma Stewardship Council, R-CALF USA and others have been leading an effort to stop big agribusiness special interest groups from doubling the Oklahoma beef checkoff tax on cattle producers.
These mandatory fees are intended to be used by the government to research and promote demand for beef. Unfortunately, through questionable if not illegal ways, these tax dollars wind up in the pockets of industrialized agriculture trade organizations.
The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association – an affiliate of the national lobbying organization, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association – has been granted the right by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry to hold a statewide referendum to increase the beef checkoff in the state, as part of a nationwide effort to increase their influence on policy.
OCM and R-CALF USA are heading to court to stop them in their tracks.
The petition accepted by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry to establish the referendum is riddled with issues. For example, many of the petition signatures are those of individuals from Texas and other states, names without any signatures, and children too young to sign their names. Signers were not even required to provide proof of cattle sales. Oklahomans protect their rights as taxpayers by requiring three quarters of the legislature to approve revenue increases. That did not happen in this case. And, the petition signature drive lasted 20 months. That’s nearly seven times as long as signature-gatherers are given for signature drives. For every other signature drive in Oklahoma, you get 90 days.
We need your help to stop NCBA and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. We are just shy of meeting our legal costs for this phase of the litigation. Will you please chip in to help? The first $2,000 contributed by midnight on Wednesday, October 25th will go to our legal fund for this effort.