Indiana cattleman says proposed anti-checkoff amendment misses the mark

An Indiana cattle producer and policy vice-chair of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says he’s disappointed with Indiana Congresswoman Victoria Spartz’s proposed amendment to the ag appropriations bill. 

Tim Schwab tells Brownfield the amendment targets programs like the Beef Checkoff. “She does not want any public tax dollars to go toward the checkoff,” he says.  “No public dollars go toward the checkoff.  That’s not how the checkoff works.”

Schwab says checkoff programs, like the Beef Checkoff, were developed by producers.  “It was passed by farmers,” he says.  “There have been some attempts to do away with it as far as a referendum, and they’ve all failed.  We feel like the majority of cattle producers believe in the checkoff and what it does.”

Brian Shuter, a 4th generation cattle producer and the Indiana Beef Cattle Association executive vice president says it is concerning when a representative takes a personal position and chooses not to represent their constituents.  

The Spartz amendment would prohibit USDA from using any tax dollars to administer commodity Checkoff programs. NCBA says this legislation is completely frivolous and wastes congressional time because no taxpayer dollars are being used to administer Checkoff programs. Instead, these programs are funded entirely by those who pay into them, not American taxpayers. 

The American Soybean Association, the National Pork Producers Council, and the National Milk Producers Federation have issued a joint release rejecting the anti-checkoff amendment.  

AUDIO: Tim Schwab, Indiana cattle producer

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