S.D. Farmers Union passes checkoff policy
During the 99th South Dakota Farmers Union State Convention, members passed a resolution that could ultimately lead to changing the oversight of beef checkoff funds.
Specifically, the Beef Checkoff Reform Resolution encourages Congress to expedite a vote on the beef checkoff under the 1985 Food Security Act and urges its elimination. In addition, South Dakota Farmers Union supports a national beef checkoff under the 1996 Commodity Promotion Act.
“South Dakota Farmers Union members believe that those paying the checkoff tax need to be better represented,” explained Doug Sombke, S.D. Farmers Union President. “This would create a more hands-on approach and allow for the allocation of checkoff dollars to be determined by a producer-elected board. This is how other commodity checkoff funds are managed, and it’s time for beef checkoff funds to be managed in the same way.”
A fourth-generation crop and livestock farmer from Conde, Sombke, like all cattle producers, is familiar with the $1 checkoff tax which is paid each time a bovine is sold. He added that the management of beef checkoff funds is a national issue recognized by Sec. of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.
“Secretary Vilsack is working to resolve this issue and has asked for agriculture producers and the organizations that represent them to introduce solutions,” Sombke said.
Now that the Beef Checkoff Reform Resolution passed at the state level, Sombke and the South Dakota delegates will encourage its passage during the National Farmers Union Convention held in Wichita, Kan., March 14-17, 2015.
“This is where policy change begins. We are a grassroots agricultural organization, policy is drafted at the state level by the farmers and ranchers who have skin in the game,” explained Matt Sibley, S.D. Farmers Union Legislative Specialist, who helped draft the resolution.
–S.D. Farmers Union