Missouri group sues state over beef checkoff process

The Missouri Rural Crisis Center is suing the Missouri Department of Agriculture over the current referendum process for a proposed $1 per head state Beef checkoff.

Rhonda Perry is the Center’s program director who says there are numerous problems with the process. She says the process disenfranchises some voters and discourages producers from registering and voting. Plus she says the department has refused to hold public rulemaking for determining how to conduct the election, “We were forced to file a lawsuit requesting that they start this process over and that they abide by the law when they do so.”

The Crisis Center is opposed to a state beef checkoff in Missouri. Perry tells Brownfield there is a lack of trust among many producers about how the money will be spent. And, she says the timing is wrong, “Particularly at this time when we’re facing a significant drop in cattle prices with no real change predicted in the coming months. None of us believe this is the time to add another tax to beef producers.”

The lawsuit, filed in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City, is seeking an injunction to stop the state beef checkoff referendum process. Producers vote on the proposal in April.

The Missouri Agriculture Department says it cannot comment on pending litigation.



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