Tax reform legislation reintroduced | National pig breeder

Members of Congress introduced the Opportunities for Equity in Agriculture Act, designed to reform and bring accountability and transparency to reform USDA’s commodity collection programs.

Under federal law, farmers of certain products (including pork, eggs, beef, and corn) are required to donate a portion of their sales to levy programs. These mandatory fees are intended to be used by the US government to research and market these products. Well-known examples of past levy-funded advertising campaigns are “Got Milk”, “Pork. The Other White Meat ”,“ The Incredible Edible Egg ”and“ The Beef. That’s what’s for dinner. Levy programs raise more than $ 850 million annually from American farmers and ranchers.

However, the levies have faced reports of embezzlement, lack of transparency and misuse of taxpayer money from farmers and ranchers.

“This legislation will bring much needed accountability and transparency to USDA collection programs that have operated without sufficient oversight for too long,” said Bill Sponsor Representative Dina Titus, D-Nev. “Family farmers should not be forced to contribute to organizations that sometimes lobby against their interests and threaten animal welfare. “

The OFF law would amend laws authorizing direct debits to ensure that programs cannot contract with organizations that engage in lobbying, conflict of interest, or anti-competitive activities that harm other products. It would also require that they publish all budgets and disbursements of funds for public inspection and submit to periodic audits by the USDA Inspector General.

Commodity levy programs have been established to serve as mechanisms through which agricultural industries pool money for commodity-specific promotion and research purposes. Fees are mandatory, from the smallest local farmer to the largest farms. The monies collected go to industry-specific federal councils, which are required by law to use these funds for mutually beneficial advertising campaigns and research.

“The USDA Checkoff program was supposed to ensure that American farmers of all sizes could promote their products across the country and around the world,” said another sponsor of the bill, Rep. Nancy Mace, RS. vs. “For years, smallholder farmers have seen their hard-earned money used to fund the lobbying efforts of huge multi-billion dollar agricultural conglomerates. This program has gone from producing “Do you have milk?” From commercials to the creation of taxpayer-funded lobbying firms, and it must stop. “

“USDA’s runaway tax programs must be held accountable, and family farmers have a right to know where their hard-earned taxes are being spent,” adds Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action and board member of administration of the Competitive Procurement Organization. He also asserts: “Levies remain under fire for their lack of transparency, the misuse of funds and harmful anti-competitive practices that have bankrupted millions of American farmers and harmed billions of American farmers. ‘animals.

Mike Eby, Executive Director of the CMO and President of the National Dairy Producers Organization, comments: “The levy is an example of how farmers have lost their voice. We are disappointed that historically the USDA and Congress seem to have little regard for the millions of farmer dollars that are used for purposes that are not made public. “

“The CMO strongly supports the return of more farmers to the earth and the containment of the gross and illegal activities in which the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association continues to engage,” said Vaughn Meyer, president of CMO and cattle rancher from Reva, South Dakota. “The OFF law is proudly supported by more than 250,000 farmers nationwide and the United States House should quickly hold a hearing to address payroll tax reform.”

The measure is supported by more than 250,000 farmers and ranchers across America in an unlikely coalition of allies that includes OCM, AWA, AWF, NDPO, the American Grass-fed Association, the National Taxpayers Union and the National Farmers Union.

The OFF law was first introduced in the 115th Congress by Titus and former Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., In the US House and in the Senses. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Cory Booker, DN.J. in the US Senate.

An amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill reflecting the OFF law was one of only three amendments allowed to vote in the U.S. Senate, but the measure was not included in the final agricultural bill enacted. Lee and Booker have since been joined by Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., And Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. in the tax reform effort and senators plan to reintroduce the measure in the Senate in 2021.

The Organization of Competitive Markets, the National Organization of Dairy Farmers, Animal Wellness Action and the Animal Wellness Foundation are solely responsible for the information provided and is fully owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all of its subsidiaries are not responsible for the content of this information asset.

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