Beef Industry Still Wary of OFF Act

The Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act is regularly coming before Congress. Tanner Beymer, senior director of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says the bill never seems to go away.

“That OFF Act is something that just keeps getting introduced like a bad penny. Luckily for us, it has never been seriously considered for independent floor action in either the House or the Senate. It is usually an amendment to a farm bill. Now, unfortunately, I don’t think we’re gonna see a farm bill during the remainder of this Congress. I think we’re going to be well into 2025 before we even consider seeing a farm bill that can get enacted into law, but at the time that that happens, there’s going to be floor action. This will be an amendment to the farm bill, and we’re going to need to work closely as all of agriculture to make sure that we’re pushing back against these false narratives about commodity checkoff programs so that we can keep these harmful amendments at bay.”

He says the OFF Act has a prohibition on the lobbying ties of groups that might be associated with the checkoff.

“Yeah, and I mean that’s very transparently aimed at NCBA since we do have the policy and Federation divisions and that big firewall between them to make sure there’s no commingling of funds or resources. But we’re not the only organization in agriculture that’s structured like that. That is very shortsighted and narrow-minded, right, because that would also apply to subcontractors as well, right? There are organizations like the American Heart Association or the American Lung Association to do medical research, as is the prerogative of a Research and Promotion Board. Well, now all of a sudden, if we can’t partner with these groups because they employ federal lobbyists, that’s just shortsighted and unnecessary. There are already bans in place to prohibit checkoff funds from being used to influence public policy. We don’t need to add further complications that are only transparently designed to decrease the efficacy of the checkoff.”