House lawmakers Wednesday introduced the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act to reform and bring accountability and transparency to Commodity Checkoff Programs. Applauded by the Organization for Competitive Markets, the organization claims checkoff programs “have long been plagued by scandal after scandal for misappropriation of funds, lack of transparency, and misusing farmer and rancher tax dollars against the best interests of the producers.” Representative Dina Titus, a Democrat from Nevada, and Nancy Mace, a Republican from South Carolina, introduced the legislation. Mace states, “This program has devolved from producing ‘Got milk?’ ads to creating taxpayer-funded lobbying firms, and it needs to stop.” The bill would amend the authorizing checkoff laws to ensure the programs cannot contract with organizations that engage in lobbying, conflicts of interest, or anti-competitive activities that harm other commodities. It would also require that they publish all budgets for public inspection and submit to periodic audits by the USDA Inspector General.
OCM Applauds Introduction of Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act