The farm bill debate is now in full swing in the House.

Included in a flurry of amendments is an important measure that goes to the heart of PBFA’s policy agenda to level the playing field for our members.

The “Brat-Blumenauer amendment” (named for the two House members sponsoring the measure) is a significant first step in ensuring an equal and competitive marketplace for plant-based foods. We are taking action on the Hill to ensure that this amendment is passed, and accountability is restored to checkoff programs.

You may not have heard of checkoff programs, but you have heard the “got milk” ads. Those multimillion dollar ad campaigns are paid for by federally-manded checkoff programs to boost the marketing and sales of beef, pork, milk, cheese, and many other commodities.

Sadly, a lack of oversight has resulted in illegal relationships between checkoff boards and lobbying organizations, both of which use checkoff dollars to influence legislation for political purpose. See for example, the pork checkoff and egg board scandals.

This illegal action creates an anticompetitive effect, benefiting few while harming many. The Brat-Blumenauer Amendment will right these wrongs and allow for equal competition.

The bipartisan amendment ensures that checkoff dollars are not used unfairly in the marketplace and prohibits checkoff money from being used for gaining an advantage over competitors by engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or any anti-competitive activity. The amendment also prohibits checkoff money from being used to portray another agricultural commodity or product negatively.

We believe that the amendment will prevent industries benefiting from federal checkoff programs from unfairly using checkoff dollars against competitors and will strengthen oversight and accountability to ensure checkoff money is used appropriately.

You can take action by contacting your representative here.