By Julie Harker
The head of R-CALF USA says the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and affiliates are engaged in unlawful lobbying in a letter urging Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to abandon his plans for a second beef checkoff program. Bill Bullard tells Brownfield the NCBA and 45 of its state affiliates are prohibited from lobbying because they receive funds under the current 1985 Beef Checkoff program.
“Really, what it’s doing is showing how brazen NCBA and its affiliates are in their lobbying even though that’s unlawful.” Bullard says R-CALF asked the ag secretary four years ago to suspend NCBA’s contracts through the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and Beef Checkoff when an independent accounts report revealed the NCBA misspent more than $216-thousand dollars of producers’ money. Bullard says his group has been urging Vilsack to take action ever since.
“And now that Secretary HAS taken action, even though it’s not the specific action we asked for, it WILL result in reforms in the (beef) checkoff. So, we’re going to support the reforms we’ve been calling for through this process, so we’re pleased the secretary has taken action.”
The NCBA contends a second checkoff would threaten state beef councils which Bullard claims are wasting a lot of checkoff funds.
AUDIO: Interview with Bill Bullard (below) (7:45 min. mp3)