HR 2 Reducing Cronyism in Agricultural "Checkoff" Programs (Roll Call 142)
The Lee (R-UT, ACUF Lifetime 99.5%) amendment to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (i.e., farm bill) makes numerous reforms to "checkoff" programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These programs force all producers of agricultural products to pay into a fund for industry promotion. The programs are rife with cronyism and oftentimes reduce competition between producers, particularly at the expense of small businesses. Some of the reforms under the bill include the establishment of uniform standards that prohibit anti-competitive activity within the programs, as well as measures that prohibit employees and agents of checkoff boards from engaging in activities that pose a conflict of interest. ACU opposes checkoff programs and supports this measure to reduce corruption and increase transparency and supported this amendment. The Senate defeated the amendment on June 28, 2018 by a vote of 38-57.