Checkoff reform bill draws support from a wildly bipartisan group of politicians

A bill to reform checkoff programs—mandatory research and promotion initiatives that commodity farmers pay for—is drawing support from both sides of the political aisle. Most recently, Representatives Mark Pocan, a progressive Democrat from Wisconsin, and Matt Gaetz, a Trump-defending Republican from Florida, have signed onto legislation that would require the programs to publish budgets and undergo audits, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In recent years, farmers and politicians alike have criticized checkoffs for misallocating funds. For example—despite high rates of bankruptcy among milk farmers in recent years—the dairy checkoff paid top executive and former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack $999,421 in 2018. (In unrelated news, Vilsack recently won a lottery ticket worth $150,000.)

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