What are Farmers Saying about the Organic Check-off Proposal?

CLICK TO SUBMIT COMMENTS TO USDA

USDA wants to hear your unique story– who you are and why you oppose the checkoff.  Even one sentence is enough to be registered.  Make your voice heard by March 20, 2017!

A tax by any other name is still a tax. If it is not totally voluntary, it is a tax. Check-offs are a tool of processors to get farmers to pay for their advertising while they continue to lose markets.
– Richard Larson, Wells, VT

We have experience with paying into the Potato Checkoff.  We would never voluntarily join into such a repressive and wasteful system of mandatory taxation without representation.  The OTA proposal works against the interests of organic family farmers, so we will vote no.
– Jim & Megan Gerritsen, Organic Farmers, ME

I do not support the establishment of a government check off marketing order. This is an intrusion of my liberty as a sovereign citizen of the United States and is unconstitutional.  No citizen should be FORCED to pay for a government program against their will. This requirement amounts to a tax, a obligation which can only be imposed upon legislatively by Congress.  As a recent party to the unanimous US Supreme Court decision, Horne v. USDA in which it was ruled that the USDA’s raisin marketing order’s activity amounted to a “taking” I am committed to abolishing government marketing orders, not forming new ones.  If the OTA feels that a marketing campaign to promote organic sales is worthwhile, then it should solicit its members to voluntarily contribute money to that effort, not require OTA non-members to do so by regulatory mandate.
– Tom Pavich,  Bakersfield, CA  
Tom is the former Treasurer and board member of the OTA, former founding board member and Board President of OFRF and member of the pioneer organic family, Pavich Family Farms.

Agriculture Check-offs have all mostly evolved into a venue for production consolidation whether the money is spent for research or promotion. It is the nature of the instrument in a free enterprise system where economic efficiency is prioritized over social and environmental aspects of sustainability.
– Carmen Fernholz, Madison, MN
Carmen was one of the original Rodale Network farmers. He formerly raised and finished hogs. Today he operates a 400+acre diversified cropping operation with alfalfa, corn, soybeans, flax, rye and wheat. He is a former MOSES Farmer of the Year and is the Organic Research Coordinator for the University of MN.

The OTA (Organic TRADE Association) does NOT represent the farmer with this check-off proposal. All of their “farmer meetings” were met with distain, head shaking, and wondering how an independent company made up of National Food Company cronies, are able to manipulate our Government into taxing the farmer/producer, again, for the benefit of themselves.
As with any other “check off” mandated by our Government, all fail to do what these groups say they will do, resulting in less farmers, more corporatism, more regulation, and under Government control, no more definition between conventional and organic foods. If you want a check-off, take it from the profits of these food companies, not from the farmer trying to make a living.
– Ted Weydert, DeKalb, IL  
Ted is an organic farmer and serves on the Board of OFARM (Organic Farmers for Relationship Marketing).

I’d like for someone to explain to me, a USDA certified organic processor of authentic organic personal care products, how this check-off tax would benefit my small certified organic artisan personal care products handcrafting operation. Is this program going to stop the MASSIVE, widespread “organic” fraud being perpetuated in the personal care marketplace? (Just google organic lotion or shampoo to see the pervasiveness of this problem–how can you not see that this huge “organic” labeling fraud situation cheapens the integrity of organic for EVERYONE?) This check-off tax is obviously more corporate welfare for giant food producers. Our reality is that the majority of our certified organic ingredients come from organic agricultural operations from
around the world–coconut oil, olive oil, cocoa butter, citrus oils, lavender oil, vanilla, many bulk herbals, etc. This tax would do NOTHING to help our small USA-based family business or the global organic operations that we support with the production of our certified organic personal care products.  Oh, and yes, this program is to be administered by corporate industry insiders who will be given the right to scrutinize YOUR private bookkeeping at any time. (This was included in the OTA check-off
proposal).

– Diana Kaye, Owner Terressentials

 

Whether certified or not, farmers who farm with organic methods and practices represent the antithesis of an economy that centralizes production and distribution, and dilutes the little profits that come to farmers by giving it away to others who do not produce the food. My neighbors are largely dairy farmers (some of them organic), and they struggle with the system to stay in business. Keep the “system” out of organics. Organics will become meaningless if it goes corporate.
– Daniel Sullivan, Organic Farmer, NY

We strongly oppose the proposed Organic Check-off Program.
– Neva Alsip, Organic Farmer, OK

We should be supporting organic farming with as much effort as we have been agribusiness interests for decades. It’s time to replenish a safer, more locally available, sustainable farming model which is better for our land and people.
– Chris Ducey, Organic Farmer, CA

We pay enough in fees to get certified as organic. We do not need further economic burdens. Let organic farmers do their jobs; support and publish their research. Don’t charge them for marketing campaigns they don’t need and won’t do them any good.
– Diane Skoss, Organic Farmer, NJ

We don’t need this unwanted tax.
– Dave Minar, Organic Farmer, MN

We don’t need this to market our products. Why add another layer of bureaucracy, cost and such to the consumer by taking it from the producer. Makes no sense whatsoever.
– Michael Evenson, Organic Farmer, CA

We do not want a check-off!!!!!!!
– Tim Clay, Organic Farmer, IL

We do not need the government to charge us for marketing that does not help the local small farmer directly.
– Bennett Lyons, Organic Farmer, CA

We do not need an Organic checkoff.
– David Minar, Organic Farmer, MN

We do not need an organic check off program.
– Jeff Hill, Organic Farmer, KS

We as dairymen have been disenchanted with the check off programs that are national programs. We were led to believe that they would be more efficient than our local programs, but history is not proving this to be true. The current program being offered (pushed) by the Organic Trade Association does not have the support of Organic Producers and would be primarily to the benefit of processors, using organic producers’ money.
– Janet A Baker, Organic Farmer, WA

We are already putting in 18 hour days while losing more than $30,000 last year alone. DO NOT INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF CHARITY WE ARE ALREADY GIVING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BY MAKING US PAY FOR SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T EVEN PROMOTE THE HEALTHFUL MILK WE ARE SUPPLYING.
– Linda Rodriguez, Organic Farmer, WI

We are already in a deficit situation for most larger-scale organic crops in the United States. An organic checkoff program that includes ANY money spent on promotion will only serve to increase organic imports. Therefore, organic imports alone should be assessed through a checkoff, and American organic farmers should not be penalized with additional taxation.
– Mary-Howell Martens, Organic Farmer, NY

We are a part of a check-off program like this with the Apple Association, and it is a disaster that is costing us business as well as the collection fees. Please do not do this to us!
– Louis Lego, Organic Farmer, NY

Until we have FAIR representation on the NOP board, (some current board members have corporate interests influencing their decisions), I will not support a checkoff.
– Randall Willrett, Organic Farmer, IL

This provision will damage small scale producers and educational nonprofits like the one that I work for. We are small enough that we’ve been doing our own educational work for years. If my customers have a question about certification they ask me. This year our organization is struggling to meet our operating budget. We will be negatively impacted by an organic check off program.
– Connor Murphy, Organic Farmer, CO

This program would not be in organic farmers’ best interest, as evidenced by the other commodity programs that don’t ultimately benefit farmers. Keep hands off organics!
– Sean Coder, Organic Farmer, AR

This is not needed and not welcome. These programs always, Always, ALWAYS end up working against the interests of the farmers they claim to help. This is nothing more than an effort to get us to pay for our own destruction and enslavement. As a direct marketer I’m already paying for these efforts, I need not pay someone else to do it for me and likely in a way that will directly compete with my message and for my consumer dollars.
– Pete G, Organic Farmer, KS

This is an absurd program. Please give farmers a voice!!
– Nils Langenborg, Organic Farmer, CA

This is a raw deal for small farmers. Our markets are hyper-local and in no way would benefit from a national campaign. How about working on less government overhead (specifically the completely bogus tax we pay to “register” each year with CDFA on top of paying CCOF for Organic Certification), rather than adding another level of nonsense?
– Daniel Paduano, Organic Farmer, CA

They have never done one thing for me!!
– Hershel Carmichael, Organic Farmer, NM

These funds will not be used to promote organic agriculture. Why should I have to fund it? To promote GMO soybeans that I don’t agree with?
– Rodney Graham, Organic Farmer, NY

These attempts to garner funds and to out-regulate organics is an attempt to force organic producers out of the market place.
– Ruthanne Jahoda, Organic Farmer, CA

The USDA is not promoting Organic Farming now, so why would I expect that to change if there is an organic check-off fund?
– Elmer Lehmann, Organic Farmer, KS

The USDA cannot be trusted. The check-off system is fundamentally broken from the farmer’s perspective. It is money that has been, is, and will be used against our interests.
– Pete Gasper, Organic Farmer, KS

The trend of history and science is in our favor. We do not need the “help” of the advertising industry.
– Arthur Harvey, Organic Farmer, ME

The potential for misuse of funds and more corporate involvement/corruption/control in our government is too great with this type of program.
– Susan Yerry, Organic Farmer, NY

The OTA does not speak for me or hold my interests at heart. Do not add more hardship to struggling family farms!
– Helen Krayenhoff, Organic Farmer, CA

The original Organic Standards and Certification process and verification was established and functioned very well without USDA intrusion. The USDA usurped and changed the effective organic certification process to allow large agribusiness access to the organic market. The USDA has corrupted the original standards and imposed additional costs on the small organic farmer. I am opposed to any further intrusion by the government and its agencies into organic farming.
– TG Mueller, Organic Farmer, NJ

The Organic Trade Association does not represent me!!!
– Steve Taylor, Organic Farmer, ID

The amount of fees/charges/mandatory pay outs/etc that farmers are expected to foot is absurd. We are already a struggling industry and this program is simply another way to bleed us out. The OTA has unfortunately missed another opportunity to connect with farmers at a grassroots level (something they claim to have a passion for doing) and instead have continued their pandering to DC bigwigs with zero interest in the livelihoods and success of organic farmers.
– Caitlin Couture, Organic Farmer, CA

Thank you for providing this opportunity to stand free of the OTA and USDA-NOP check off.
– Charlie Greene, Organic Farmer, NY

Stop trying to kill organic. Consumers want us and we want to farm this sustainable way.
– Norma Tofanelli, Organic Farmer, CA

Stop this program now.
– Jeff Moyer, Organic Farmer, PA

Stop the check off!!!
– Joseph Dietz, Organic Farmer, MN

Small organic farmers should not be charged to support large agra-business operations.
– Dennis Dierks, Organic Farmer, CA

Small and mid-sized farms do not need to pay for industry marketing schemes.
– Robert Kuljis, Organic Farmer, OR

Please understand that this is a serious issue for us and we will not let it go.
– Cindy-Lou Amey, Organic Farmer, NH

Please don’t force organic producers into this system. I believe that organic is a production method and I don’t want it to become another commodity without adequate returns to the producer. OTA is representing the processing industry on this issue, they have left the best interests of the organic producer in the dust. Processors already get a make allowance, let them advertise the end product, we produce a raw material.
– Darlene Coehoorn, Organic Farmer, WI

Please do not make it more difficult for farmers who are choosing to grow organic.
– Jordan Thompson, Organic Farmer, CA

People recognize my product and all good organic products by the obvious quality. We don’t need this kind of marketing help at all.
– Jan Dietrick, Organic Farmer, CA

Our family farm has been certified for twenty years. This is not something along with our certification fees, the time to keep an audit trail, and the paperwork records we keep already that needs to be added on to our burden. Nor should it be added on to our customer costs that already pay a premium for our product and we are not subsidized.
– Michael Makinajian, Organic Farmer, NY

Our cost of production is high enough without adding a check off tax. I am adamantly opposed to this. Nothing in this proposal will help the small farmer struggling to survive.
– Robert Keatley, Organic Farmer, WI

OTA does not represent our farm. We prefer to do our own advertising at our own expense.
– David Via, Organic Farmer, OR

OTA does not represent me. This is their scheme to tax farmers without our voice. Leave the farmer out of this.
– Theodore Weydert, Organic Farmer, IL

OTA does not represent any organic farmers in Florida. The people who sit on the board of OTA do not care about organic farmers it is all about money again and again.
– Kevin O’Dare, Organic Farmer, FL

Organic is a production method, not a commodity.
– Daniel Coehoorn, Organic Farmer, WI

Organic farming is the only way we want to farm. It is a lot of work and time consuming paperwork and trails. It was our decision to go organic and we have enough fees to pay–we don’t need or want another mandated checkoff!
– Paul Olson, Organic Farmer, WI

Organic farming is for the most part small farming. It is difficult enough to make a living without added encumbrances.
– John Whitman, Organic Farmer, CA

Organic farmers, esp. those of us who market direct to consumers, already do more to promote farming and local (and domestic) food consumption than all the check-off programs in the U.S. combined. There’s no way I want to spend ANY of my hard-earned income supporting some marketers, graphic designers, lobbyists and middlemen who aren’t even focused on Organic.
– Wolfgang Rougle, Organic Farmer, CA

Organic farmers do not support this proposed program.
– John O’Meara, Organic Farmer, ME

No to a federally mandated Organic Check-Off program. We are already paying thousands of dollars annually in order to farm responsibly and sustainably. This is backwards. The farmer who is using tons of chemicals annually should be taxed for the future costs of long-term results of massive chemicals going into our bodies, land, air, and water supplies.
– Sally Harper, Organic Farmer, NM

No the organic movement will do their own research so as not to be tainted by the commercial pushers of GM grain and chemical fertilizers.
– Evelyn Riebe, Organic Farmer, IL

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO AND NO—— NO ORGANIC CHECKOFF!!!!!!!
– Tim Cada, Organic Farmer, NE

No more extra taxation of organic farmers! We already have to pay for the costs of annual certification, fees based on our gross sales, in our case CCOF and fees to the State of California for being organic! Organic farmers, the group that is farming in a more environmentally friendly manner has to pay more? for the privilege not to spray conventional pesticides or use conventional fertilizers? The existing fees and taxation to be organic are no way to encourage more organic farming. Another tax to be organic is perverse! This is a cleverly conceived campaign to squeeze more money out of organic farmers for the corporations that see organic as a good marketing ploy.
– Dale Coke, Organic Farmer, CA

No check-off program!
– Pamela Johnson, Organic Farmer, CA

NO Check OFF!
– Diane Kistler, Organic Farmer, NY

Never have this.
– John Toltzfu, Organic Farmer, NY

National organizations just by definition are too large to be effective for the small members which is what ‘organic’ is all about. To co-opt our money to support the large growers is beyond ironic.
– Margaret Graham, Organic Farmer, CA

My view is the money will go to support research and marketing for big corporations and not to benefit the farmer.
– Lou Stephenson, Organic Farmer, IN

Let us have less bureaucracy rather than more. We do not need or want an organic check-off!
– Ray Hoppes, Organic Farmer, OH

Less government is better.
– Richard Parker, Organic Farmer, NC

Legitimate organic farmers already spend a lot of money and take a lot of care to grow their crops organically. Don’t charge them for marketing they neither want nor need.
– David Weckler, Organic Farmer, CA

Keep out of our milk Checks!
– Jonathan Kistler, Organic Farmer, NY

Just say NO to the Corporatization of Organic Food. USDA’s Organic program caters to General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft, ConAgra, Dean, Danone, Smuckers, Coke, Pepsi, and Mars–NOT the small, sustainable Organic farmer or the Local Distribution systems.
– Marjorie Miller, Organic Farmer, IN

Just another tax.
– Lee Thomas, Organic Farmer, MN

In addition to all said above, there is no fee structure that would be fair to all.
– Roger Wechsler, Organic Farmer, WA

I’m sure big ag companies are pushing the check-off with the politicians because they don’t get the money out of the little farmers that don’t use their chemicals and non organic inputs.
– David Rottinghaus, Organic Farmer, IA

I’m a certified organic dairy farmer from NE and it’s frustrating to see how we family farmers pay into checkoffs with the result of systematic loss of market share. I am opposed to the organic checkoff.
– Doug Dittman, Organic Farmer, NE

I would be excluded from the proposed assessment. Opposed nonetheless.
– Bill Jessup, Organic Farmer, CA

I want to emphases that the Organic Trade Association does not represent my views. I resent the fact that they claim to represent organic farmers, when it is processors that they really represent.
– Janet A Baker, Organic Farmer, WA

I ship to organic valley and I do not want them to put a yes vote in for our farm.
– John Stoltzfus, Organic Farmer, NY

I remain as independent as possible from all farm programs, with the exception of NOP certification which is required by law for me to sell certified organic products. I have no desire to participate in a one-size fits all organic checkoff, and I am opposed to all other checkoffs.
– Dana Haugli, Organic Farmer, IA

I refuse to support any program which doesn’t allow organic products to be showcased for the superior products they are.
– Richard Parker, Organic Farmer, NC

I oppose the proposed organic check-off program. Please do not further tax organic farmers who are subject to many taxes, fees, inspections, and expenses that other farmers do not have to pay. It’s really unfair that the most benign form of agriculture is also the most heavily regulated.
– Janet Brown, Organic Farmer, CA

I must say that the only people who will benefit from this program are the Advertising Agencies and the large companies that sell organic. I thought that our government was trying to encourage small business and locally grown food. Let the local farmers do their own marketing!
– Rita LaBarge, Organic Farmer, NY

I have witnessed how marketing orders in WA State have been hurting farmers for decades. I have watched national businesses assume most of the control of OTA, their efforts to grow organics will pad their pockets. There is no proof these programs help farmers. I am opposed to an organic marketing order.
– Anne Schwartz, Organic Farmer, WA

I have contacted both of my senators in the last couple of years. Sen Fischer’s office actually called today about this, and Sen Johannes did call back last year and asked questions about this. They are interested. I am 100% AGAINST this check off. I should have thought of this myself to fund my work…….
– Tim Cada, Organic Farmer, NE

I grow vegetables organically, (farming), but I do not sell them. However, one day, since I might, this is important to me.
– Marisa Hoke, Organic Farmer, CA

I feel these programs serve only already rich and powerful corporations and individuals. They do nothing more but burden the middle and small operations with another expense in a further attempt to lessen our ability to compete for market share.
– Ross Hunter, Organic Farmer, KY

I don’t want any government ‘help’. I market my own products, and it is very effective. I will not pay into a public cesspool.
– Rich Larson, Organic Farmer, VT

I don’t need or want an organic promotional program, and I don’t want to pay for one.
– Frank Morton, Organic Farmer, OR

I do not want my money to be used to promote the agenda of large corporate multinational companies who now own the majority of organic processed foods. They will dominate the board of this checkoff and tax me without any benefit to me. Just say NO!
– Amigo Cantisano, Organic Farmer, CA

I do not support an Organic Checkoff Program.
– Steve McGowan, Organic Farmer, CA

I do not support an organic checkoff program.
– Julie Bosma, Organic Farmer, WA

I do NOT support an organic check off!! I think it is just a way to snatch our hard earned dollars.
– Diana Saxton, Organic Farmer, NY

I cannot stress how emphatically I am opposed to ANY checkoff program. We will do just fine without any involuntarily imposed additional tax(s) on our farms. The host of current regulations are necessary, though onerous, to protect the integrity of Organics. Additional expense, administered by those with a different agenda is a burden unneeded and unwelcome.
– Alan Gordon, Organic Farmer, CA

I am totally against any form of check off Let the companies that sell the products promote them if there such a big return on the money spent.
– Arden Landis, Organic Farmer, PA

I am strongly opposed to further taxation measures aimed at exploiting organic farmers. I do not trust the USDA to further sustainable agriculture in this country, no do I find their advertising campaigns to be a beneficial use of farmers’ money. The evidence does not point to the effectiveness nor sincerity of these kinds of Check-Off programs & it is clear that small & medium-sized producers will be the most affected & least benefited by the program.
– Qayyum Johnson, Organic Farmer, CA

I am opposed to all check-off programs.
– Charles Brault, Organic Farmer, MD

I am against any kind of compulsory check-off program.
– Kathie Arnold, Organic Farmer, NY

I am against an organic check off!!
– Diana Saxton, Organic Farmer, NY

I am a farmer, consultant, and inspector and I think this bill is bad for small farms and community based foods causing economic hardships on an already stressed industry.
– Seth Rosmarin, Organic Farmer, CA

I am 100% opposed to checkoffs in all forms, but especially an organic checkoff. As far as I am concerned, they are un-American – more like Soviet-style “collective” thinking. The Founding Fathers must be rolling over in their graves. It’s this kind of taxation and government intrusiveness that makes me sad for our country.
– Dana Haugli, Organic Farmer, IA

I already am coxed into the Beef Check Off program. I am a small farm and these programs seem to lean to support the larger farms and not so with small family farms. I am against it. I advertise for me. I am responsible for me. Kind of like throwing good money into the wind…. I would rather I do my own shouting. The beef check off is always calling and reminding me to send them money and I’m like “What have they done for me, Directly for me?” Us small farms need to stick together, not link up with a large corporation type outfit. Keep it Local – Buy Local – Spend Local
– Robert VanWuyckhuyse, Organic Farmer, NY

I agree with the above petition. I am involved also with a conventional non-GMO farm and I find that most checkoffs are a manipulated waste of hard earned money.
– Charles Lambert, Organic Farmer, IL

Generic advertising does not work. Tell me how they propose to promote organic without disparaging non-organic food?
– Jim Goodman, Organic Farmer, WI

Check-offs don’t work period. The only research ever done by conventional check-offs only benefitted the Family Factory farms. Little farms were forced out of business.
– George Wright Jr., Organic Farmer, NY

Checkoffs invite big corporations that ruin family farms.
– David Heiens, Organic Farmer, KS

Check Off programs are a side arm of corporate Ag giants…let’s try to keep them out of organics.
– Orin Moyer, Organic Farmer, PA

Check off $$ have never, ever helped farmers. They are collected to help the buyers of my products, not to help me. NO CHECK-OFF!!!!!!!!
– Wayne Meyer, Organic Farmer, CA

Bad idea!!!! Vote it down.
– Mark Wheeler, Pacific Botanicals, Organic Farmer, OR

As per reasons cited above check-off programs are ineffective and unfair. We don’t need another one!
– Ron Parling, Organic Farmer, MI

As far as I am concerned the conventional check-off put small family farms out of business. We don’t need a catchy slogan like “GOT ORGANIC MILK”!!!!! The research will more than likely lead to organic GMO’s??????
– George Wright Jr., Organic Farmer, NY

As an organic farmer, I am opposed the Organic Check-Off program- honestly all check offs. I would be better served to keep my money to use as I like for promotion of organics.
– Amy Krasne, Organic Farmer, IA

As a farmer check off programs have never benefited me. Only a few large interests. No check off for organic farmers EVER.
– Ryan Rich, Organic Farmer, CA

As a dairy farmer in Washington State we have paid into our State Dairy Promotional program. Since the National program was instituted, and a good share of the money that is collected in this state, and now goes into the national program we have become disenchanted with Federal Promotion Programs. I am not at all comfortable with “The Organic Trade Association” and its policies and lack of transparencies, and its representation of Processors, who tend to make a profit under all circumstance, and farmer do not. Promised increased sales (the reason for the promotion deducts) have not proved to be so.
– Janet and Robert T. Baker, Osceola Jerseys, Organic Valley Producers, WA

Any additional taxation on our business will put us out of business.
– Thomas Green, Organic Farmer, AR

A mandatory check off is not helpful.
– Jeffrey Creque, Organic Farmer, CA

As an organic farmer I do NOT want to be further taxed with an Organic Check-Off Program. I do NOT support a federally mandated Organic Check-Off program. I do not want my pay check cut either directly from paying into an Organic Check-Off or indirectly because my customer/buyer has to pay into one. I do not want to be forced to pay into a federally mandated check-off program. I want to have the freedom to decide how I spend my hard earned dollars. I oppose an organic check-off because I do not trust the USDA Federal Research and Promotion Programs due to problems in oversight and because money is spent on programs that do not benefit on-farm research or improving my bottom line. In fact, the history of Federal Research and Promotion Programs shows that they have actually worked to reduce farmers’ profitability. Check-off funds are used to pay for marketing campaigns such as the “Got Milk?” and “Pork, The Other White Meat” or “The Incredible Edible Egg.” This advertising primarily benefits processors, marketers and retailers, not the farmers—but we farmers are stuck paying the bills! The Organic Trade Association does not represent me on this issue. I DO want farmers to be able to continue to be exempt from paying into conventional programs and I DO want that exemption to be extended to all operations that are organically certified.
– Susan Pelican, Woodland, CA

As an organic farmer I do NOT want to be further taxed with an Organic Check-Off Program. I do NOT support a federally mandated Organic Check-Off program. I do not want my pay check cut either directly from paying into an Organic Check-Off or indirectly because my customer/buyer has to pay into one. I do not want to be forced to pay into a federally mandated check-off program. I want to have the freedom to decide how I spend my hard earned dollars. I oppose an organic check-off because I do not trust the USDA Federal Research and Promotion Programs due to problems in oversight and because money is spent on programs that do not benefit on-farm research or improving my bottom line. In fact, the history of Federal Research and Promotion Programs shows that they have actually worked to reduce farmers’ profitability. Check-off funds are used to pay for marketing campaigns such as the “Got Milk?” and “Pork, The Other White Meat” or “The Incredible Edible Egg.” This advertising primarily benefits processors, marketers and retailers, not the farmers—but we farmers are stuck paying the bills! The Organic Trade Association does not represent me on this issue. I DO want farmers to be able to continue to be exempt from paying into conventional programs and I DO want that exemption to be extended to all operations that are organically certified.
– Howard Beeman, Organic Farmer, CA

I grew potatoes for 40 years and paid an assessment to the national potato promotion board. The only ones that benefited were those working for the board, wrote the aids, or got free trips to the conventions. It did not help the price at all. Just check last year’s whole sale potato prices. They were the same as they were in 1975, here on long island!
– David Wines, Organic Farmer, NY

I do not trust the USDA Federal Research and Promotion Programs. This only benefits marketers and retailers. They are the ones that need to pay for their own promotion!!! I am producing a product that is already in short supply. I need all the income I can get to support my own expansion!!!
– Steve Straits, Organic Farmer, OH

Small farmers need to have an automatic voice, not measured by how much they feel like paying in. The market pressures are so high, margins too tight, justifying a bureaucratic payout is lunacy. Locally sourced organic food is better.
– Gregg Stiner, Organic Farmer, Maine

The OTA is not the first of its kind of a generic checkoff. The conventional fruit and vegetable industry in 2009 proposed a generic multi commodity checkoff through PBH (Produce for Better Health Foundation). It FAILED. http://www.perishablepundit.com/docs/kaiser-backgroundbrief.pdf Here is the paper that created concern and opposition for the Generic PBH checkoff.
– Bryce Stephens, Organic Farmer, Kansas

Let us choose our own way to advertise. I don’t want to have my products railroaded by someone who has no idea about what I grow and I certainly don’t want to have to pay for such garbage.
– Janice Hazeldine, Organic Farmer, NJ

This only pushes out more farmers. Where will our food come from?
Lucy Kuiper, Organic Farmer, PA

Collectivism should have died with the Soviet Union, but it is alive and well in the United States through mandatory, “collective” agricultural checkoffs. Whatever happened to good old American independence? If Communism was scary, corporate cronyism is even scarier and has pretty much decimated rural communities and environmental health in the name of “feeding the world.” Go ahead Comrade – be just another cog in the wheel, always looking over your shoulder.
– Dana Haugli, Organic Farmer, IA

Stop feeding the bureaucratic tapeworm.
– Wilson Klein, Organic Farmer, NJ

This check-off really does not serve the interests of the organic farmer. The proposed budget for administration costs alone should send off alarm bells that someone else will be profiting greatly from this check-off.
– Liz Bawden, Organic Farmer, New York

I have been farming organically since 1981. The OTA does not represent me. I have and will develop my own markets, thank you very much. Another example of “Farming the Farmer”. Enough! This program was conceived and is being pushed by people who make their living off of the actual producers of Organic food. I am talking about the merchants, processors and large corporations who have consolidated the organic label into a generic faceless commodity. These kinds of programs offer absolutely no benefit to farmers but I will be forced to pay for their benefit. They are bleeding us to death with their fees so they can market “their” products. This, even though, by their own admission, the demand for organic products exceeds the supply. How does bleeding existing farmers dry create more organic farmers?
– Jeff Larkey, Organic Farmer, CA

If the people creating the checkoff think it’s such a good idea, why don’t they fund it themselves?
– Chris Klebaum, Organic Farmer, WA

Stop the over regulation of small farms.
– Cliff Francis, Organic Farmer, OR

“Since the 1980’s, Missouri cattle producers have been paying over $2 million per year in the mandatory federal beef check off tax and are now faced with the threat of millions more of their hard-earned dollars going to a new state check-off. And it is definitely not clear that we have gotten our money’s worth. Since 1985, when the beef check off was passed by Congress, the U.S. has lost 35,000 feed lots, the per capita consumption of beef has dropped by 28% (from 79.2 pounds to 57.4 pounds) and Missouri has lost 40% of our beef producers. The vast majority of current check off dollars paid by cattle producers ends up in the coffers of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). And, unfortunately, the NCBA consistently supports positions that benefit meatpackers at the expense of independent cattle producers. NCBA opposes COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) and enforcement of anti-trust laws, and even the Farm Bill; but they support Packer Ownership of Livestock and giving Fast-Track Trade Authority to the President. Mandatory check-offs have proven to be unaccountable to producers, and once they are put into place are virtually impossible to stop.”
– Rhonda Perry, Missouri Rural Crisis Center