Oklahoma beef producers defend state checkoff vote

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Some members of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) pushed back against what they say are out-of-state activists attempting to interfere in a vote for a state beef checkoff.

In a statement posted to the group’s Facebook page, 19 OCA members said out-of-state groups “...have either filed or are considering filing a lawsuit to stop the current refundable Oklahoma Beef Checkoff referendum. Earlier this month, one of the out-of-state groups sent out a memo casting a wide net searching for a state beef producer to file the suit.”

The statement also accuses the Organization of Competitive Markets, The Humane Society of the United States and R-CALF of leading a misinformation campaign targeting the referendum.

Beef producers will decide whether to implement a state-based checkoff fee in addition to the current national beef checkoff. The $1 per-head assessment would be managed locally, and in some cases, would be refundable.

But the Organization for Competitive Markets countered with its own accusations of allowing “out-of-state corporate beef interests” to influence the outcome of the referendum. The group filed a complaint with the Office of the Inspector General of the US Dept. of Agriculture. OCM accused the Oklahoma Beef Council and the OCA of inappropriately collaborating on a campaign promoting a “yes” vote on the referendum. The OCA decried checkoff opponents’ tactics.

“It’s unfortunate out-of-state activist groups are meddling in our state’s referendum and beef industry by working to keep Oklahoma beef producers from voting in an Oklahoma state beef checkoff,” according to the statement. “These petty process tactics by out-of-state activist groups have no place in the Oklahoma beef industry.”

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