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OCM filing beef checkoff suit with HSUS help

The Organization for Competitive Markets announced Thursday that today, with help from the Humane Society of the United States, it would file a lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the Agriculture Department from sending beef checkoff dollars to groups tied to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

The Agriculture Department supervises the beef checkoff, which gets its money from $1 assessments on each head of cattle sold. The money is to be used for beef promotion, research and education.

The plaintiff is Mike Callicrate, vice president of OCM and owner of Callicrate Cattle Co., in St. Francis, Kan., and the suit names the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, USDA, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee as defendants, according to a report in Farm Futures.

HSUS is highly controversial in farm circles, but during a news conference, OCM President Fred Stokes said, according to the Farm Futures report, “We are very eager to accept that support. Every cowboy out there owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Humane Society of the United States. It’s time to set aside your chores … and put a dog in the fight.”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President J.D. Alexander expressed “disgust” in a news release following the announcement.

“HSUS is an organization going state-by-state, vowing to end production agriculture by outlawing scientifically validated production practices in animal agriculture,"”said Alexander, a cattle feeder from Pilger, Neb.

“Their efforts put people out of business and often jeopardize the well-being of livestock.”