Callicrate rails against NCBA, praises HSUS

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Representing the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), beef producer Mike Callicrate appeared on AgriTalk radio Tuesday to discuss the organization’s lawsuit against USDA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which seeks to end NCBA’s role as a beef checkoff contractor. NCBA’s CEO Forest Roberts provided a response.

In the lawsuit filed on Aug 10 in Kansas City, Callicrate and OCM claim that some of the $200 million NCBA has received over the years as a checkoff contractor has been misspent, and diverted to promote policy rather than research and promotion. They also charge those policies are intended to help large packers and processors at the expense of family farmers and ranchers.

Some of the most interesting discussion related to Callicrate and OCM’s alliance with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has been widely reported in trade media.

“HSUS came to us knowing our policy of fighting for family farmers and ranchers and a fair income at the farm and ranch gate,” he says. “They said we have some things in common.”

Ninety-five percent of HSUS supporters eat meat.” He adds. “They just don’t want to eat the NCBA’s version of meat . They don’t want to eat meat from these big meatpacking plants with fast chains, with contaminated meat, where workers have to speak 110 different languages, where they are treated as a disposable resource, where they are exploited.

“They don’t like the way animals are treated under the Smithfield-Tyson-JBS-Cargill model of food production. So they said ‘hey, we like the family farm and ranch model, we want to support that, what can we do to help?’  And of course we opened a dialog. We aren’t going to turn them away because someone said one time they are anti animal agriculture. They’ve been called an animal rights group. They are not that, they are an animal welfare group, and I’m in complete alignment with their philosophy that animals should be treated humanely – as well as people.”

Callicrate goes on to say HSUS is working to try to build a humane economy where people are given the opportunity to succeed and to be in business without monopoly power putting them out of business.

“I honestly don’t care where they’ve been. I want to know where they are going, and if they’re there to support me in my effort to reestablish a marketplace that’s fair and just, around family farm and ranch agriculture, then I am willing to work with them. They do not have a vegan agenda, they do not have a vegetarian agenda.”

As for NCBA, Callicrate says his organization has continually fought NCBA on all critical issues that he believes are important, from  COOL, securing borders, mandatory price reporting and World Trade Organization issues that threaten family farmers and ranchers. “NCBA lands on the other side of the issues, fighting us in Congress, fighting us in our state legislatures and doing it with our checkoff money.”

The lawsuit, he adds, is not seeking damages, but rather demands a permanent injunction to separate NCBA from checkoff funds. NCBA can collect money from those they represent, Callicrate contends, naming big packers, retailers, food service that he says are opposed to family farmers.

Callicrate also contends that beef producers have lost market share, beef demand and their share of consumer dollars spent on beef under NCBA’s management of checkoff dollars. He says the Secretary of Agriculture should have eliminated NCBA as a checkoff contractor when a review from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found NCBA had misappropriated some checkoff dollars.

Representing NCBA, Forrest Roberts expressed extreme disappointment over the lawsuit. Referring to the OIG review, which was conducted two years ago, he points out that the discrepancies were completely resolved to the satisfaction of the USDA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. He also expressed total confidence in processes the organization has put in place to ensure the separation of checkoff dollars and membership funds which can be used for policy-related activities, a separation which he says the organization takes very seriously.

It is absolutely incorrect, Roberts says, that NCBA uses checkoff money to fund policies that help large operations at expense of small farmers and ranchers, adding that they have ability to demonstrate the accusation is untrue.

Roberts says the lawsuit comes at a time of great challenges, such as the drought and its impacts on markets, and of great opportunities such as building global demand for U.S. beef. He calls the action a distraction, “but we are going to face it straight up.”

He also questions the integrity of OCM in forming an alliance with none other than HSUS, which he says is all about eliminating animal agriculture and putting livestock producers out of business.

NCBA, he says, will continue to “do our best to produce a climate where producers have the freedom to operate responsibility and pass their operations on to next generation. That’s our focus.”

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Mississippi  |  August, 16, 2012 at 09:10 AM

You are known by the company you keep. You can bet HSUS has some motive in being involved in the lawsuit and it will not be good for animal agriculture!

Sheyna Strommen    
North Dakota  |  August, 16, 2012 at 09:20 AM

The HSUS doesn't have a vegan agenda? Why, then, do they promote Meatless Mondays?

South Dakota  |  August, 16, 2012 at 09:34 AM

I don't have much use for the NCBA but once you have gone to bed with HSUS the smell never leaves.

Scott B    
Maryland  |  August, 16, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Hey, here is a thought, ask the HSUS folks what they think about castration, even using the fancy tool Mike sells. I suspect they will find that process to be inhumane at several levels. Then what Mike? Repent and give the profits to HSUS so they can stop folks like you!

MD  |  August, 16, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Well Mr. Callicrate you may wish to actually read what HSUS is against. Do not castrate (your product is the worst according to them). Do not seperate family groups. Tell all the folks living in dry areas to not wean anything early.

August, 16, 2012 at 10:52 AM

The HSUS is looking at this as a way to decrease the positive and truthful information that we put infront of our customers not to mention a way to decrease our ability to fund research that makes beef safer and better. As a smaller cow/calf producer I don't believe that it is anybodies business what price I get for my calves (manditory price reporting). My calves are worth more because I take the steps needed to add value to those calves. It doesn't matter if you have 5 head or 500 head you can get top dollar every time you sell calves if you provide a calf that is WORTH top dollar.

Hope,ks  |  August, 16, 2012 at 11:13 AM

What cattleman would jump in bed with HSUS?

Dalhart, Texas  |  August, 16, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Mr. Callitrate has a bad case of mis-placed aggression. HSUS is using him to advance their vegan/anti-agriculture agenda. Unfortunately, he won't realize that he is a mere pawn in HUSU's war against this country's food producers until it is too late.

Scott B    
Maryland  |  August, 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM

You say you don't have much use for NCBA. Might that be because you honestly don't know what they do every single day on behalf of his great industry? Come on out this way. I will take you on a tour of our farm, buy you a steak dinner and we can drop in to the NCBA-DC office for a visit. It will make your head spin. These is no more dedicated, harder working, professional and industry-focused group of folks anywhere. Ignore the hate speech and see for yourself. I dare you!

Richland, IA  |  August, 16, 2012 at 11:46 AM

They would - and have in every discussion of castration - call it mutilation. Callicrate Mutilator probably wouldn't sell as well.

Kansas  |  August, 16, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Well said, Will. Callicrate is a fool on a fool's errand. He has no discretion in political alliances. Much like many other politicians who have sacrificed security for personal political gain. Problem is, we will all pay a price for one fool's lunacy.

South Dakota  |  August, 16, 2012 at 01:05 PM

Thanks for the invitation. I am a little busy trying to survive a drought now but maybe in the future I will take you up on that. How do I get in contact with you?

Scott B    
Maryland  |  August, 16, 2012 at 01:12 PM

Dennis, I understand your situation with the drought and I am sorry for the mess you are in. You can reach me at anytime. I stand by my invite! I have 1st hand knowledge of the fine work NCBA does on behalf of our industry and have had the pleasure of working with them (the DC Office primarily) for the past 25 years.

Dwain Holmes    
Texas  |  August, 16, 2012 at 02:37 PM

I worked for the meat packing industry for 40 years and fed cattle for a few years and believe Me anyone who praises the HSUS is no friend of the beef industry!HSUS is another terrorist group just like PETA!!!!

Bob H    
Mo  |  August, 16, 2012 at 02:46 PM

Please don't publish my email, I don't have time now. I suggest all the HSUS members join together in the same living community each with a hand tool to grow what little they know how for food. 75% of the world's 1 billion hungry people are farmers who don't have the know-how, no improved seed, no fertilizer, no hand tools. Foods Resource Bank collects farm products to sell and takes the dollars to poor countries to buy hand tools, seed, fertilizer, and training to make these communities self sufficient one by one. The communities spread all this to their neighboring communities.

MI  |  August, 16, 2012 at 03:16 PM

But, in the meantime, we might be able to sell him a bridge or two.

August, 16, 2012 at 04:45 PM

I call BS on the 95% number. I bet it is more like 0.95%.

New Jersey  |  August, 16, 2012 at 04:54 PM

HSUS is financially supporting the OCM lawsuit. Perhaps they are assisting Mr. Callicrate as well, directly or indirectly.

Missouri  |  August, 16, 2012 at 05:19 PM

You think you have a friend. Yeah one that will stab you in the back. Wake up. Dont trust them..

Austin,Texas  |  August, 16, 2012 at 05:41 PM

You know, I have only been a cattle rancher for 15 years, but I have noticed one thing. People in this business love their animals. No one in their right mind would put up with heat, drought, geometrically rising input costs, fluctuating markets, and the requirement for a daily presence if they were just trying to make money. Many of us do it even though we lose money. We can sure make more doing something else. Raising stock is a way of life, a legacy of passion for the land and its animals. It also feeds the world.The HSUS is well meaning, but militantly resists and ignores the basic fact that humans are omnivores and protein is the most essential food element to our existence. This alliance is not a compromise. It's an infiltration disguised as a common interest.

nebraska  |  August, 16, 2012 at 10:32 PM

Usually HSUS is quick to sing their own praises. I wonder why there is no mention of this in the news on their website.

nebraska  |  August, 16, 2012 at 10:50 PM has a link to the initial filing. Interesting reading. 1. It completely ignores the resolution and revisions made since the audit. The court could dismiss the case on the basis of those revisions. 2. If it proceeds, OCM, ICON and R-Calf could also be excluded from contracting for any checkoff dollars despite NCBA's recent efforts to allow for some competition.

Jim Loughead    
Gilbert, AZ  |  August, 17, 2012 at 01:21 AM

Comedian, Ron White's line was ringing in my ears as I read Mr. Callicrate's inane rantings: "You can't fix stupid!"

california  |  August, 17, 2012 at 01:39 AM

Mr.Callicrate is either very conniving or very naive to bed down with an outfit that wants to gut every livestock producer in the USA. To partner up with HSUS who is under federal investigation for fraud and corrupt corporate practices is very interesting to say the least. The feds are after them for not being the animal welfare organization they propose to be but really being a massive charitable donation generating scheme. Most of the donations are used for staff expenses and advertising to get more donations. They are a scam who misleads people and fills their pockets at our expense. I wonder if they gave Mr.Callicrate a teleprompter.

ne  |  August, 17, 2012 at 08:28 AM

I dont understand how anyone can side with hsus and call themself a rancher. if callicrate spent his time working on his operation and genetics he would get the better price for his product instead of having to stoop to aligning with a vegan agenda. NOT well played!

colorado  |  August, 17, 2012 at 03:39 PM

Anything to keep your name in the headlines, huh Callicrate!!!

August, 17, 2012 at 07:08 PM

you are right!

August, 17, 2012 at 07:08 PM

you are right!

August, 17, 2012 at 07:08 PM

A very stupid one!!!!!!!!!!!

IL  |  August, 17, 2012 at 07:09 PM

A very stupid one!

New England  |  August, 18, 2012 at 01:46 PM

@Brandon - actually, if you're talking about the raw, money-pledging ranks of HSUS supporters, I'd bet it's closer to 95% than 0.95% that eat meat .... Simply because I'd wager that the *vast* majority of money-pledging HSUS "members" don't have a clue what they're giving their money to. Therein lies the heart of their frightening power -- the huge financial support from an enormous number of Americans who have absolutely no idea what kind of agenda they are actually supporting.

California  |  September, 07, 2012 at 04:15 PM

Watch this before you take your next bite of meat or are what you eat

Ga  |  December, 29, 2012 at 06:55 AM

How can Callicrate let HSUS support him when they take millions and put into retirement funds and pay large salaries and lie to the people? Check out the facts and then find someone that will support you with honesty.

USA  |  December, 29, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Mike has been a loon for years.....

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