WICHITA, Kan. (AP) A Kansas rancher has filed suit claiming the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is improperly using “beef checkoff” funds to influence government action and policy.
The federal lawsuit by Michael Callicrate names the U.S. Agriculture Department, the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board and three other defendants. It seeks to bar the USDA from giving any checkoff dollars to the Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
The filing was announced Friday in Kansas City, Mo., at a conference of the Organization for Competitive Markets. The organization has been critical of the checkoff program and supports the lawsuit.
The checkoff program generates more than $80 million annually to strengthen beef sales through promotion and research programs.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association which is not named as a defendant criticized the lawsuit. USDA officials declined comment.