NOBULL: Eliminate Onerous and Inefficient Commodity Check-off Programs

This is a very cool amendment. On soybeans, 1/2 of 1% of the gross sales goes to the checkoff. That means that 50 bu/A @ $10 a bushel gives the industry $2.50 for every acre of soybeans. So for every 100 acres of soybeans, you’re giving the industry $250 dollars to pretend like "we’re all in this together." How many worthy organizations do you support at the $250 level? If you have 1000 acres of soybeans, you give them $2500!

The corn checkoff at least lets you file for a refund. I do.

The issue of whether mandatory checkoffs are constitutional went to the supreme courst some years ago. Hog farmers and cattle farmers were particularly involved. The farmers said that the government couldn’t compel them to associate or contribute to an organization they didn’t agree with. The commodity organizations fell back on the argument that, even though the checkoff organizations claimed to be organized by and be the voice of the farmers, the checkoff’s use of farmers money was "government speech" like the government using our tax dollars to educate people about health and nutrition. The supreme court agreed with the industry. Phooey. I was on the first Iowa Corn Promotion Board in 1978 and saw how it was just a mouthpiece for ADM and Pioneer.

The checkoffs were started to make the illusion that all we had to do is "promote" these commodities–something every modern economy knows everything about already. It also was meant to destroy the idea that a farm bill was the answer to unlimited abuse of our land and therefore low farm prices and the delivery of cheap commodities to CAFO’s etc.

Support the amendment.



Eliminate Onerous and Inefficient Commodity Check-off Programs

Including New Proposed Tax on Organic Farmers and Ranchers

Call your senators now to tell them to support

SA 1083. Mr. CRUZ amendment to the farm bill

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no program to promote and provide research and information for a particular agricultural commodity without reference to 1 or more specific producers or brands (commonly known as a “check-off program”) shall be mandatory or compulsory.”

This amendment allows farmers to voluntarily choose whether or not they pay into Federal “checkoff” programs. Currently, anytime a farmer sells a cow, a gallon of milk, corn or soybeans, or any other covered commodity, the producer is required to pay a fee to industry-run organizations. These funds are used to pay for marketing campaigns such as the “Got Milk?” and “Pork, The Other White Meat” or "The Incredible Edible Egg." The problem is that advertising of this nature primarily benefits processors, marketers and retailers, not the farmers—but the farmers are stuck paying the bills!

Starting on Monday June 3rd the full Senate will continue their discussion of the 2013 Farm Bill as recommended by the Senate Ag Committee

Please Call Your Senators’ offices (on or before Monday) and ask to speak to the Staff who deals with agriculture –


  • Tell them Your name, Your Location, Your Farm or business and your interest in sustaining family farms
  • Many small and mid-sized farmers oppose these check-offs due to problems in oversight and because money is spent on programs that do not benefit them
  • Tell them that you want farmers to have the freedom to decide how they spend their hard earned dollars.
  • Farmers do not want to be forced to pay into federally mandated check-off program
  • They do not trust them and they do not see them as beneficial to their business
  • This amendment would effectively prevent the creation of an Organic Check-off Program. Many organic farmers–as well as small businesses that make and market organically certified product and consumers–do not want an Organic Check-off Program!
  • This amendment would allow organic farmers and processors to decide whether they pay into the conventional check-off programs and or use this money to benefit organic and local production

By supporting this amendment you will be giving family farms the freedom to choose how their money is spent.

For more information on the organic check-off please go to:

If you need information on how to contact your senators please go to:

OR Call the Congressional Switchboard, and ask to be transferred to your Senator’s office (if you give them your state, they will tell you who your 2 senators are): 202-224-3121

This action alert comes from the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA), The Cornucopia Institute, Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM) and the Midwest Organic Dairy Farmers Alliance (MODPA).

Mark A. Kastel

The Cornucopia Institute


608-625-2042 Voice

866-861-2214 Fax

P.O. Box 126

Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827