Letter: Independent cattlemen finally represented at checkoff hearing

beef cattle


Have you ever gone to the polls and voted on an issue then come to find out it’s not exactly how it was explained to you?  That’s how the Ohio Beef Marketing Plan is.

On Dec. 13, I traveled to the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg to deliver testimony on why the Ohio Beef Marketing plan needed to be eliminated. Five people attended as the public information was only listed on the ODA website, even the Ohio Beef Council which collects the tax and spends it didn’t have a public post or notice about the meeting, probably for fear of cattlemen like myself showing up and asking questions like “Why aren’t we promoting Ohio Beef?”

The main question I asked was “What is the return on investment to the cattlemen in Ohio?”

I had to first explain that I was in the cattle industry (the taxpayers) and not the beef industry (tax benefactors). I don’t break down carcasses, have the ability to turn up or down the chain speeds at processing plants, set the price of box beef or manipulate the price farmers and ranchers receive for cattle. And I most certainly don’t import beef or invest in fake meat plants.

Then I went on to testify that checkoff money was being sent and used by organizations “specifically the NCBA” against the cattle industry. Cattle marketing policies like M-COOL “Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling” and stiffer Packers & Stockyard Act laws were being lobbied off the docket or repealed. The NCBA even testified before Congress for the repeal of M-COOL saying “Beef is beef whether it comes from Montana, Mexico or Mazatlán,” and the U.S. government’s lobbying reports also indicated that NCBA lobbyists’ main objective was to prevent the introduction or inclusion of M-COOL.

One of my last questions was around the allegedly $11.91 return on investment that the checkoff gets for cattlemen and women.

My testimony lasted only 15 minutes and, in the end, I presented the ODA rep with a binder full of factual information and related articles.

Like other cattlemen across this state and country, I worked an outside job in construction for 35 years and ran work for several reputable companies. If at any time questions and allegations of that magnitude were asked about job-related problems or performances and were not answered, I would have been immediately fired.

It is now up to the Director of Agriculture Baldrige for a determination on a referendum. The executive director of the Ohio Beef Council always claims that producers overwhelmingly support the checkoff. Here’s her chance to actually prove it. Anyone wanting a copy of my testimony, email Dhydefarm@windstream.net.

Dave Hyde
Regional Director for R-Calf USA
Vice President of Buckeye Quality Beef Association
Jefferson County, Ohio

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