FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(FEB. 19, 2016)
Contact: Kent Wright, 509-435-3590
WASHINGTON STATE (FEB. 19, 2016) – The $1.50 Beef Checkoff – It’s The Law! That is the heading for the Washington State Beef Commission checkoff remittance form. There was a bill SB 6638 led by Senator Judy Warnick to raise the Beef Checkoff, but that has since been halted for the time being. Northwest Farmers Union (NWFU) and President Kent Wright held member and public listening sessions about the proposition of raising the Beef Checkoff around the state prior to the bill being introduced; both in person and through phone and social media communications.
“There are organizational leaders out there who are saying their organizations are in support of an increase in the Beef Checkoff, but we are not one of them as our members do not agree with it,” states President Wright. “Washington Cattleman’s Association was in favor of the bill as were the large feeder and dairy groups, but in our talks with active ranchers there wasn’t the support there.”
SB 6638 introduced by Senator Warnick has been halted allegedly in order for industry groups to come together on what an acceptable bill might look like. Ranchers and industry organizational groups from around the state were in attendance to a comment time in the state’s capitol of Olympia. The hearing for SB 6638 appeared to have enough individuals speak in opposition to it to realize the bill might not have the support originally expected.
Wright adds, “The NWFU wants to see what the Beef Commission proposes to do with the increase in funds along with what they are currently doing with funds as the program appears to focus less on the family farmer and rancher than it does on the final meat products and we feel there needs to be more support and recognition for the family farms and ranches.”
In addition Mark Ellis of Moses Lake, an NWFU member, spoke at the comment period volunteering a number of rancher’s names from various counties around the state who openly opposed the rate hike. Sen. Brian Dansel jumped on this news quickly and added his own account of the wide producer uprising about the increase in fees and he continues to be a opponent of the bill. To express your opinion on the Beef Checkoff go to www.nwfu.org and contact Kent Wright to have your voice heard on the subject.
Northwest Farmers Union is working to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.