Brownfield Ag News for America
August 21, 2012 By Julie Harker
The new president of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) says he could not have filed his lawsuit against the Beef Checkoff without the help of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
Mike Callicrate, the sole plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in Kansas, that accuses the Beef Checkoff of misappropriating funds, says the HSUS did the groundwork but is NOT a party to the suit.
“I tell you what,” says Callicrate, “OCM vetted the HSUS pretty well. I’m on their Colorado ag council. We are NOT in bed together. We are NOT joining organizations.”
Callicrate tells Brownfield that the HSUS donated labor when the OCM requested and received a truckload of documents from the USDA in a Freedom of Information request about the agency’s dealings with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Operating Board.
“HSUS and their legal staff,” Callicrate tells Brownfield Ag News, “They hired people to go through these documents and carefully analyze the information that was in them. This is what gave us the basis for this lawsuit, to be able to file it.”
Callicrate says he and his organization have one thing in common with the HSUS. “We believe that family farm and ranch agriculture is the way to feed America – and, it’s also the way that the world can feed itself – Not the Cargill, ADM, Tyson model of extraction and exploitation,” he says.
Callicrate is seeking a permanent injunction against the NCBA receiving any more Beef Checkoff dollars in the future, saying the group uses the funds to influence policies that benefit the NCBA and do not represent the cattle producers who pay into the Checkoff.
The NCBA denies the charges and accuses the OCM of wanting to destroy the Beef Checkoff and working with an anti-animal ag group (HSUS) that wants to destroy animal agriculture.
The law firm of record in the case is Polsinelli Shugart of Kansas City.