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Another flare-up in the feud between NCBA and OCM

There’s been another flare-up in the long-simmering feud between the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM).

It began last week with a blog written by OCM executive director Joe Maxwell, who says a “rigged system” allows NCBA to receive more than 27 million dollars in beef checkoff funds.

“They have rigged the system by taking over the Federation (of State Beef Councils),” Maxwell says. “They control who gets to be a contractor and it should not be a surprise to anybody that they select themselves as the prime contractor year after year after year.”

NCBA CEO Colin Woodall tells Brownfield that’s not the way the checkoff works.

“The Beef Promotion Operating Committee, which is made up of producers from throughout the country–who may or may not be members of NCBA– makes the decisions on who gets checkoff dollars,” Woodall says. “There are eight contractors out there and NCBA is one of them.”

And Woodall says NCBA does not use checkoff funds for any policy or lobbying work, as OCM has claimed.

Woodall goes on to accuse Maxwell and OCM of partnering with the Human Society of the United States (HSUS) to create “a smear campaign” against NCBA.

“The HSUS game is to divide the industry because they want us fighting each other–because if we’re fighting each other, then we’re not fighting them,” Woodall says.

Maxwell, former vice president of outreach for HSUS, acknowledges that OCM is working with animal rights group on its beef checkoff lawsuit.

“It is true that the Humane Society of the United States has, pro bono, been leading the legal case to get the records for five years,” Maxwell says. “But for their support in providing the lawyers, we would not even be able to highlight the truth that I just spoke.”

One of big issues in the battle between the two group is NCBA’s successful effort to end mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).

AUDIO: Joe Maxwell
AUDIO: Colin Woodall

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