R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard today filed a request
for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and/or Privacy
Act (PA) for copies of all records of communications between the U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA) and the eight groups that have banned R-CALF USA from
participating in the meeting of the Beef Checkoff Industry Input Group (Checkoff
Industry Group) to be held Sept. 24, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. USDA
representative Craig Shackelford is scheduled to make a presentation at the
The eight groups that banned R-CALF USA from participating in the upcoming meeting include:
National Cattlemen's Beef Association, U.S.
Cattlemen's Association, Meat Importers Council of America, American National
CattleWomen, American Farm Bureau Federation, Livestock Marketing Association,
National Livestock Producers, and National Farmers Union.
"The purpose of this Freedom of Information
Act and/or Privacy Act request is to ascertain the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's role or involvement, if any, in the scheduling of or planning for
the meeting to be held on September 24, 2012 . . . This request is necessary
because a decision was made by the Beef Checkoff Industry Input Group and/or the
U.S. Department of Agriculture to ban me or any other representative of R-CALF
USA from participating, in any way, at the meeting," Bullard wrote in his
Bullard's request continued: "This request is inclusive of all communications and contacts between USDA officials and the aforementioned organizations during the entire period August 10, 2012 through September 20, 2012 regardless of whether such communications or contacts are directly or indirectly related to the upcoming, September 24, 2012 meeting . . . because the organizers of the September 24, 2012 meeting (i.e., the eight organizations listed above) asserted that the basis for excluding R-CALF USA from the meeting included a lawsuit that was filed against the USDA on August 10, 2012."
"We hope USDA was not involved in excluding R-CALF USA, but given USDA's refusal to take any remedial action after learning that NCBA (National Cattlemen's Beef Association) had misused hundreds of thousands of producer checkoff dollars, it's not a far stretch to suspect that USDA is complicit in trying to stop us from restoring the credibility of the Beef Checkoff Program," Bullard commented.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit http://www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.