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Senator Warren Opposes Agribusiness and Commodity Check Offs


Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is taking aim at the entire agribusiness sector in addition to statutory commodity promotion programs. In pre-election rhetoric she has vowed to dismember agribusiness companies including Bayer AG (which is a German company) and Tyson Foods Inc. a domestic entity with international investments.


Warren maintains that “check offs” are corrupted and need reform and have been used to squeeze out competition” according to a March 27th posting on Bloomberg.

Warren maintains that check-off payments should be voluntary rather than mandatory.  If in fact check-offs were at the whim of an individual, the U.S. egg-production industry would not have enjoyed the benefit and support of the American Egg Board that successfully defeated the cholesterol myth through supporting responsible scientific research and publicizing results. 


The AEB has expanded egg consumption by promoting innovative products and developing new markets both in the U.S. and internationally.  Increased egg production and sales benefit consumers but also generate jobs through the entire supply chain, This extends from operators of farms growing corn and soybeans, plants crushing soybeans, owners and operators of egg-production complexes and farms, the transport industry, manufacturers of equipment, suppliers of pharmaceuticals and biologics, packaging manufacturers and workers in the food industry. 


Check-offs are not necessarily corrupt, certainly the AEB is not and one cannot envisage the need for reform.  Senator Warren should spend more time studying her targets and understanding their contribution and role rather than trying to fix something which is not broken. Generating rhetoric to support a quixotic political aspiration will rebound in Iowa wit 50 million hens.