The Political Animal Podcast: The Role of the USDA Checkoff Problems in Harming Animals and Family Farming in the U.S.

Mike Eby, chairman of the National Dairy Producers Organization

Mike Eby, chairman of the National Dairy Producers Organization

Dairy Checkoffs Gaming the System

Dairy Checkoffs Gaming the System

Wayne Pacelle

Wayne Pacelle

Animal Wellness Action Executive Director Marty Irby

Animal Wellness Action Executive Director Marty Irby

Joseph Grove

Joseph Grove

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, January 20, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Role of the USDA Checkoff Problems in Harming Animals and Family Farming in the U.S.

By Marty Irby

Dairy farmers are grappling with a wide array of problems: milk prices have been on the decline; foreclosures, bankruptcies, and suicide rates are on the rise; and Mother Nature has taken her toll, while the plant-based beverage sector continues to gain market share.

It’s been a tough few years for family farmers in the dairy business, and the backdrop for much of this is a checkoff program that was supposed to help them, but seems to be doing quite the opposite. Big Agriculture is vaccuuming up the hard-earned dollars of family farmers and using those funds to lobby against the interests of the people it purports to represent.

Episode 6 of the Political Animal is about Big Ag's big secret — a series of USDA checkoff programs for beef, pork, dairy, and other commodities. Major trade associations divert checkoff dollars that by law are restricted to commodity marketing programs and research and instead use a large share of the money for salaries, office operations, and lobbying. And that means lobbying for policies that often hurt family farmers, and animals.

Some lawmakers want to turn this situation around. U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) introduced H.R. 5563, the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, in the House this month. The measure's companion bill, S. 935, was introduced in 2019 by U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Today, host Joseph Grove, and Animal Wellness executives Wayne Pacelle and Marty Irby are joined in this episode by Mike Eby, the chairman of the National Dairy Producers Organization, and one of three candidates vying for president of the National Farmers Union discussing the need for checkoff reform and the OFF Act.

The Political Animal podcast is a weekly segment that not only delivers timely information but offers insights and analysis you won’t hear anywhere else. We’ll offer in-depth discussions of local, state, or federal policy and elections, and the effects of laws and regulations on corporations. We hope you’ll listen today, and also check out Episode 5: Fighting a Diabolical Plan to Round Up Tens of Thousands of Wild Horses. Episode 4: Big Cats: Endangered in the Wild and in Danger as Captives in the U.S., Episode 3: Michael Vick and the Continuing Battle Over Animal Fighting, about the renewed attention on convicted dog-fighter and NFL player Michael Vick and implementation of the latest animal fighting law, Episode 2: Shark finning, horseracing, and the PACT Act that includes a layered discussion of how the committee process works and why it's so difficult to even get common-sense measures into law. If you missed our first episode, you can listen here: Episode 1: 2019 Victories for Animals.

Wayne Pacelle is the founder of Animal Wellness Action, president of the Center for a Humane Economy, and former president of the Humane Society of the U.S. who conceived the idea of the PACT Act. He founded the Humane Society Legislative Fund and prior to that, he was executive director of The Fund for Animals. The Non-Profit Times named him seven times as one of the nation’s top 50 non-profit executives, and in 2005, he was named executive of the year. Pacelle is a two-time New York Times bestselling author of The Bond, and Humane Economy.

Marty Irby is the executive director at Animal Wellness Action. Irby worked in the United States House of Representatives for Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) serving as Communications Director and Animal Protection and Agriculture Policy Advisor. He is a former president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association, where he led the charge to bring an end to the painful practice of “soring” walking horses. Irby is a Heritage Foundation Congressional Fellow, former director of equine protection and rural affairs at the Humane Society of the U.S., and native of South Alabama who grew up on a horse and cattle farm. He graduated from the University of South Alabama with a degree in Communications, attended Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., and was named by The Hill as one of nation’s Top Lobbyists for 2019.

Joseph Grove is a freelance writer and six-time recipient of awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. His background also includes hosting a radio show called Jargon on WQMF FM in Louisville, Ky., and podcasts for Bisig Impact Group and Southern Gaming and Destinations. He began dedicating his volunteer time to animal issues in 2014 and currently works as a court-appointed special advocate for children in family court in Shelby and Spencer Counties in Kentucky.

Animal Wellness Action
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Animal Wellness Action is helping animals by promoting legal standards preventing cruelty. You can help animals by making a donation today.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

Marty Irby
ANIMAL WELLNESS ACTION
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Source: EIN Presswire