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Mace Introduces New Checkoff Transparency Bill

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) has introduced the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act to reform and bring accountability and transparency to Commodity Checkoff Programs.

Applauded by the Organization for Competitive Markets, the group claims checkoff programs “have long been plagued by scandal after scandal for misappropriation of funds, lack of transparency, and misusing farmer and rancher tax dollars against the best interests of the producers.”

“This program has devolved from producing ‘Got milk?’ ads to creating taxpayer-funded lobbying firms, and it needs to stop,” according to Mace. Mace and Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) co-sponsored the legislation.

The bill would amend the authorizing checkoff laws to ensure the programs cannot contract with organizations that engage in lobbying, conflicts of interest, or anti-competitive activities that harm other commodities. It would also require that they publish all budgets for public inspection and submit to periodic audits by the USDA Inspector General.