Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Commodity Checkoff's, Cussed and Discussed!
The American Soybean Association has accused the United Soybean Board of mis-use of funds among a host of other things.
The Soybean Association is the educational wing of the soybean checkoff and the Board spends the money for research and promotion. Almost every commodity is represented this way in one shape or form.
This might seem like a poor topic to my non-farm and even my non-soybean producing friends but it has some of my friends in ire. I don't like to see them upset. It is about like the dissension and apprehension involved with our new President who was just sworn in minutes ago. Do you pledge all your support or stand back?
As American's and soybean growers we get so involved and dis-interested sometimes we stand back and let someone else do the work. Besides, it is hard enough keeping up with our own daily routine and chores these days.
I have listened to Orion Samuelson, formerly of US Farm Report fame and now AgriBusiness Weekly shown on the satellite networks we watch out in the country and some local channels. I met him at the Farm Progress Show and FFA Conventions several times and he is almost always the voice of reason.
This is what "Samuelson Sez":
News > Featured Columnists > Samuelson Sez
Samuelson Sez - Checkoffs are Essential - 1/19/2009
There are several things, I’m sure, that America’s farmers and ranchers don’t really need in 2009. Today I would like to focus on two areas that I think we could well do without in agriculture, in this new year.
First of all, we don’t need a family squabble in this relatively small agricultural family in the United States. Secondly, I really don’t think we need another farm organization; yet we are getting both in the current controversy over the spending of checkoff dollars in the Soybean Checkoff Program.
Many of you, I’m sure, are aware that the American Soybean Association has filed an official request with the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to check allegations of funds being misspent as well as some questionable personal-conduct activities in the soybean program. The Association wants them fully investigated and corrected.
Now, along with that we have a group of soybean farmers who have formed yet another soybean organization, The United Soybean Federation. I’m not quite sure why and I certainly don’t understand why we need yet another organization in agriculture. Be that as it may, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Shafer, in his news conference at the Farm Bureau Convention in San Antonio last week, said “the allegations are serious and as the overseer of all checkoff programs, the Department of Agriculture will indeed check out the allegations to determine if they are true or false.”
I want to go beyond this single incident however, and talk about the checkoff programs in general; because any “black eye” for any one program is going to spill over to all checkoff programs and raise questions about funds being collected and spent. I firmly believe that American agriculture and producers have benefitted from check-off programs; dollars that have conducted research, promotion, marketing and advertising; dollars that brought us “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner”, “Pork, the other white meat”, “Got Milk?”, “3-A- Day” and all of the promotions that have helped expand the consumption, as well as the nutrition and safety, of America’s agricultural products.
I have been saying for decades that if producers are not willing to invest their time and money into marketing their products, then one of two things will happen. It won’t get done at all or it will be done in a way that will not help producers. We need these checkoff programs; we need the staffs and farmer board members to conduct them in a legal and constructive way; and we need to correct this situation quickly before it infects the entire checkoff system.
My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.
I can't disagree but a statement from Orion or Ed won't settle this disagreement between the Association and the Board. I am afraid the courts will and that is never a pretty situation in any marriage.
What do you think?
I think I just want to see my friends happy. They have worked so hard to get soybeans used and respected as they are. We are really going to need that this year as farmers can't afford to grow as much corn in the past and intend to plant more soybeans.
I can tell you that I have worked hard to get local schools burning biodiesel and a couple thanked me for that last summer when diesel hit $4 per gallon. Soydiesel generates jobs right here in the country where we need them badly right now.
Soy is invaluable in food, feed, ink, platic, so many, many things we need an use.
We don't need our leaders disagreeing.
Stay warm, it is COLD here...