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HomeIndustry NewsR-CALF USA Applauds U.S. Representatives Who Stand With Cattle Producers

R-CALF USA Applauds U.S. Representatives Who Stand With Cattle Producers

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 4, 2023— Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives considered amendments to the agricultural appropriations bill, H.R. 4368, regarding U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding of a mandatory electronic animal identification (EID) eartag system and its commodity checkoff programs.

Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY) introduced Amendment #83, which would have cut off all funding to USDA for a mandatory EID eartag system for cattle and bison. Its introduction follows R-CALF USA’s numerous measures to prevent an EID mandate over the years, which include helping pass state legislation that prevent future EID mandates at state levels, stopping the USDA’s first EID mandate attempt in 2011, and litigation that resulted in stopping another attempt in 2019. Earlier this year, the USDA announced a proposed mandate to implement the EID system.

“The United States produces the highest quality and safest meat in the world. We currently have a robust, effective, and affordable animal identification and traceability system in place that works,” said Rep. Hageman on the floor of the House. “This rule will ultimately cost our ranchers millions of dollars in compliance costs, forcing many of our smaller independent operations to sell out. Thus, resulting in further vertical integration of the food supply chain making our independent livestock producers nothing but serfs to the big ranches and meat packers.”

She also said that the primary supporters of the EID rule are the four big packers, two of which are owned by Brazil, and the eartag manufacturing companies.

Rep. Hageman’s amendment failed to pass by a vote of 97-336.

Reps. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) also introduced Amendment #76, which would have barred funds made available by the agricultural appropriations bill to be used to carry out commodity checkoff programs.

Though Reps. Spartz and Massie’s amendment did not pass, the House floor’s debate on the amendment brought to light the lack of accountability along with a long list of scandals in the checkoff programs.

“These may have started out as well-intentioned, but it’s pretty well known in Washington, D.C., that this program has gone rotten and it no longer serves farmers,” said Rep. Massie.

He identified the lack of transparency of beef checkoff audits and the misuse of funds from its contractors, who are barred from using the funds toward lobbying but are some of the biggest lobbyers in Washington, D.C.

The Spartz and Massie amendment failed to pass by 49-377.

Despite these amendments’ failure to pass, much of rural America rallied in their support.

“R-CALF USA thanks Reps. Hageman, Spartz, and Massie, as well as their fellow congressional members who stood with American farmers and ranchers,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bullard. “We continue to stand strong in our support of checkoff reform via the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act (OFF Act) and we stand strong in our fight against mandatory EID. We look forward to continuing these discussions and efforts in the development of the new farm bill.”

The OFF Act, H.R. 1249 and S. 557, would reform checkoffs by prohibiting checkoff programs from contracting with any organization that lobbies on agriculture policy, requiring transparency through the publication of checkoff budgets and expenditures, and more.

Congressional representatives who voted for Rep. Hageman’s amendment included: Reps. Armstrong (R-ND), Barr (R-KY), Bean (R-FL), Bentz (R-OR), Biggs (R-AZ), Bishop (R-NC), Boebert (R-CO), Bost (R-IL), Brecheen (R-OK), Burchett (R-TN), Burlison (R-MO), Carey (R-OH), Carl (R-AL), Casar, (D-TX), Cline (R-VA), Cloud (R-TX), Collins (R-GA), Comer (R-KY), Crane (R-AZ), Davidson (R-OH), Donalds (R-FL), Duarte (R-CA), Duncan (R-SC), Feenstra (R-IA), Ferguson (R-GA), Finstad (R-MN), Fischbach (R-MN), Fitzgerald (R-WI), Foxx (R-NC), Fry (R-SC), Fulcher (R-ID), Gaetz (R-FL), Gallagher (R-WI), Gonzales (R-TX), Good (R-VA), Gosar (R-AZ), Graves (R-MO), Greene (R-GA), Grothman (R-WI), Hageman (R-WY), Harris (R-MD), Harshbarger (R-TN), Hern (R-OK), Higgins (R-LA), Hunt (R-TX), Issa (R-CA), Johnson (R-LA), Johnson (R-SD), Jordan (R-OH), Joyce (R-PA), Kelly (R-MS), Kelly (R-PA), Kiggans (R-VA), LaMalfa (R-CA), Lamborn (R-CO), Lesko (R-AZ), Loudermilk (R-GA), Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Luttrell (R-TX), Mace (R-SC), Massie (R-KY), McClintock (R-CA), McCormick (R-GA), Miller (R-WV), Mills (R-FL), Mooney (R-WV), Moylan (R-GU), Murphy (R-NC), Nunn (R-IA), Ogles (R-TN), Palmer (R-AL), Perry (R-PA), Pingree (D-ME), Radewagen (R-AS), Rosendale (R-MT), Roy (R-TX), Santos (R-NY), Smith (R-MO), Smith (R-NE), Smith (R-NJ), Smucker (R-PA), Spartz (R-IN), Stauber (R-MN), Stefanik (R-NY), Steube (R-FL), Strong (R-AL), Tenney (R-NY), Tiffany (R-WI), Timmons (R-SC), Van Drew (R-NJ), Van Orden (R-WI), Wagner (R-MO), Walberg (R-MI), Williams (R-NY), Williams (R-TX), Wilson (R-SC), and Wittman (R-VA).

Congressional representatives who voted for the Spartz-Massie amendment included: Reps. Beyer (D-VA), Biggs (R-AZ), Blumenauer (D-OR), Boebert (R-CO), Bowman (D-NY), Burchett (R-TN), Burgess (R-TX), Clyde (R-GA), Collins (R-GA), Crane (R-AZ), DeLauro (D-CT), DeSaulnier (D-CA), Doggett (D-TX), Donalds (R-FL), Evans (D-PA), Foxx (R-NC), Frost (D-FL), Gaetz (R-FL), Garcia (D-IL), Good (R-VA), Gosar (R-AZ), Greene (R-GA), Hageman (R-WY), Harris (R-MD), Harshbarger (R-TN), Huffman (D-CA), Johnson (D-GA), Kamlager-Dove (D-CA), Larson (D-CT), Lee (D-PA), Lieu (D-CA), Massie (R-KY), McClintock (R-CA), Mooney (R-WV), Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ogles (R-TN), Omar (D-MN), Perry (R-PA), Pressley (D-MA), Raskin (D-MD), Rosendale (R-MT), Roy (R-TX), Santos (R-NY), Schweikert (R-AZ), Spartz (R-IN), Tlaib (D-MI), Van Drew (R-NJ), and Williams (R-TX).

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