The following is a press release from the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association:
USCA (July 13, 2011) – The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) said today that the resignation this week of Cattlemen’s Beef Board chairman Tom Jones is strong evidence that the Secretary of Agriculture and Congress must intervene in the national mandatory beef checkoff before the program suffers irreparable harm.
CBB CEO Tom Ramey resigned his position on June 29. Jones, who was an elected chairman of the CBB in February of this year, resigned on Monday, July 11. CBB vice chairman, Wes Grau, Grady, NM will serve as chairman until the CBB meeting in Florida on August 4 when the full CBB will determine further action.
“It is unprecedented in the checkoff’s history for the CEO and Chairman of the CBB to resign their positions almost simultaneously and under pressure from the checkoff’s primary contractor. These are extremely unfortunate times for the beef checkoff and they require intervention by the regulating agency,” said Jon Wooster, USCA President. “These good leaders have been maligned by the contractor that has committed financial transgressions subjecting the checkoff to a federal audit, subordinated the CBB’s authority by committing checkoff funds without the approval of the CBB Executive Committee and, in the process, purposefully excluded CBB staff from negotiations involving checkoff funds. That contractor then launched a calculated attack on CBB leadership seeking their resignations or removal to the detriment of the overall program.”
On July 1, USCA sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the move to oust CBB leadership as well as the ongoing financial improprieties.
“CBB staff and leadership are being attacked and incriminated for essentially doing their jobs; for providing oversight of the checkoff,” wrote USCA. “With the recent audit review findings of expanded financial irregularities, we now find ourselves in a situation where NCBA has apparently decided that its best defense is offense and that includes fostering a culture of hostility and distrust. USCA believes it is essential that the Department of Agriculture step in and get control before producers lose all confidence in the checkoff program.”
Established in March 2007, USCA is committed to concentrating its efforts in Washington, DC to enhance and expand the cattle industry’s voice on Capitol Hill. USCA has a full-time presence in Washington, giving cattle producers across the country a strong influence on policy development. For more information go to www.uscattlemen.org.
Source: U.S. Cattlemen’s Association
Posted by Haylie Shipp