NCBA Urges Opposition to Spartz Ag Appropriations Amendment

DanAgri-Business, Cattle, Legislative

The cattle industry is speaking out against a proposed amendment to the ag appropriations bill.  Introduced by Indiana Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R-IN-05), the amendment states that none of the funds made available by the bill may be used to carry out commodity checkoff programs. Vice President of Government Affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Ethan Lane, says it simply wasn’t necessary.

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN-05)

“The amendment that was offered by Representative Spartz would seek to prevent any federal funds from being used to implement federal commodity checkoff programs. But the strange thing about that is that no federal funds are used to implement federal commodity checkoff programs. They are funded by contributions to those programs from producers throughout the country that pay in,” he explained. “It really speaks to the fact that Representative Spartz and her team don’t understand completely the issue that they’re attempting to impact with the amendment.”

Despite the fact that it wouldn’t actually affect the checkoff funds, Lane says the amendment could add to other efforts.

“I think it’s important in this environment where you have these radical animal rights groups and others trying to gut the checkoff system. We have the OFF Act that’s out there, being pushed by the HSUS Humane Society of the US, ASPCA, and Senator Cory Booker, from New Jersey and Mike Lee, Nancy Mace,” he said. “We don’t want to have any sort of wrinkle in that wall of opposition to these outside forces trying to prevent the producers from promoting their own products and conducting research in the space that they operate in.”

In response to our request for comment, the communications manager for Congresswoman Spartz issued this in an email: “The Congresswoman believes that we need to have transparency in the farm bill for checkoff programs if Congress should provide funding.”

Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s report.

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet News Hour and The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.