Farmers, advocates concerned about Vilsack’s record on dairy issues

Some dairy farmers and advocates are worried that president-elect Joe Biden's pick for agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, will do little to address their concerns about issues like consolidation, farm bankruptcies and low milk prices. Critics are especially concerned about how Vilsack’s years running a dairy industry trade group will affect his policymaking approach.(No paywall)

Hemp groups to push for checkoff program

Two trade groups announced plans to spearhead a discussion across the hemp industry on the creation of a checkoff program to promote industrial hemp, similar to producer-funded checkoffs that boost cotton, milk, and Christmas trees.

Legislation to reform checkoffs introduced in the House

Legislation introduced in the House on Thursday would reform so-called “checkoff” programs, which impose mandatory taxes on producers of some commodities in order to fund promotional campaigns.

OTA lays groundwork for voluntary organic checkoff

Four months after the Trump administration killed a proposal for a mandatory checkoff program for organics, the industry’s largest trade group said it would move forward with a voluntary checkoff to promote organic food and products.

Ranchers expand lawsuit against checkoff to 13 states

A group of independent ranchers has expanded its lawsuit against the federal beef checkoff to include 13 more states, arguing that the checkoff violates the First Amendment by requiring ranchers to fund the "private speech" of state beef councils. The Ranchers-Cattlemen Legal Action Fund (R-CALF) filed a supplementary pleading on August 9 that expands its existing lawsuit against Montana's beef checkoff program to include beef checkoff programs in Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Farm groups disagree on farm bill checkoff amendment

Thirty-eight farm groups signed on to a letter to the ranking members of the House Agriculture Committee urging them to oppose a farm bill amendment that would more stringently regulate commodity checkoff programs.

USDA kills the proposed organic checkoff program

The Agricultural Marketing Service of the Department of Agriculture issued a preliminary notice Friday morning terminating the proposed organic checkoff program. The program, which was controversial among organic industry stakeholders, would have funded research and marketing for organic products. No paywall

Appeals court sides with ranchers on Montana beef checkoff

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s 2017 injunction against the collection of the Montana state beef checkoff in a decision released Monday. The ruling supports ranchers’ claim that the state's beef checkoff program impinges on their First Amendment rights by obligating them to pay taxes to support “private speech.” As the case between the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) and the Department of Agriculture unfolds, it has greater implications for checkoff programs in other states. No paywall

Pizza Hut adds more cheese to help offset dairy glut

Pizza Hut says it will add 25 percent more cheese to its personal pizzas as part of a deal with the administrators of the dairy checkoff. The deal comes as dairy farmers are facing national overproduction of milk and falling prices.