The NCC joined 19 other agricultural organizations on identical letters to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House agriculture committees and to USDA Secretary Vilsack, which reiterated their strong support for the various state and federally authorized research and promotion programs, commonly known as checkoffs, in which those organizations’ members participate.

The letter noted that recent distorted media attacks and ill-conceived legislative proposals ignore how these programs are established and approved in referenda by producers who fund the programs with their own money. With USDA oversight, the letter said, producers have taken it upon themselves to fund more than $905 million of research, promotion and consumer education programs annually through checkoff activities at no cost to the federal government.

“In these austere budgetary times, our producers should be commended and certainly deserve the support of the authorizing committees and USDA,” the letter stated. “Our members see the checkoff program as an investment in their families' future, an investment which they and their fellow producers have voluntarily adopted. We support these programs and look forward to working with you to ensure their continued success.”