October 10, 2019
The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund applaud efforts by independent Kansas cattle producers to reform the Kansas beef checkoff program, currently administered by the Kansas Beef Council, in concert with the Kansas Livestock Association – an arrangement rife with obfuscation and lacking in transparency and accountability.
“The Humane Society of the United States has long fought to restore the commodity checkoff programs, which have been corrupted by industrial commodity interests, to their original goal of supporting the American family farmer,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “The clearly improper relationship between the Kansas Beef Council and the Kansas Livestock Association is a perfect illustration of how those interests hide from independent producers – who are required by law to pay the checkoff assessment – how their dollars will be spent. We applaud independent Kansas cattle farmers for seeking full transparency and accountability.”
Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund, agreed, saying, “This country was built on the sweat equity of family farmers and the commodity checkoff programs were originally established with their interests in mind. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the checkoff programs, has colluded with multinational corporations and industrial agriculture groups to keep producers in the dark about how their checkoff dollars are being used. The good work being done by the Organization for Competitive Markets and the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association reports inappropriate expenditures and an improper relationship between industrial beef interests in Kansas, who appear to be doing everything they can to hide how checkoff funds are being spent. We support efforts to impose transparency to the Kansas beef checkoff program, and more broadly, we hope this will serve as a call to action for national checkoff reforms. To that end, we urge Congress to pass the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act (S. 935), which will stop corruption within the checkoff program and provide independent producers with the information they need to understand how their hard-earned money is being spent.”