LETTER TO THE EDITOR - No checkoff, brighter future

Tuesday, January 30, 2001

It was a tough fought victory of monumental proportions, akin to David killing Goliath, that culminated a three and a half year effort launched by the Campaign for Family Farms - a coalition of state-based farm groups that my group, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, is a part of.

No one thought we could do it, but we did.

We beat the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), which spent $4 million to win the referendum. Out of the 30,347 total votes cast in the referendum, 15,951 (53 percent) were cast by producers who voted to end the mandatory pork checkoff while only 14,396 producers (47 percent) voted to continue the tax. In Iowa, the checkoff was voted down 60 percent to 40 percent.

This victory, however, is about much more than ending an unfair tax.

It's about a coalition of grassroots farm organizations outwitting and overwhelming corporate money and power. It's about family farmers fighting back against the commodity groups that have sold them out and the corporate agriculture system that is trying to force them off their farms. It's about taking back the hog industry and making it accountable to independent producers once again.

It's about a hope for a brighter future in agriculture.

Ron Marth