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PD POLL: Should check-off dollars be used to fund third-party verification of the National FARM Program? [April 11th FINAL RESULTS]

PD Staff Published on 10 April 2013

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Does it matter how checkoff spends your money?

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When Progressive Dairyman learned that the dairy checkoff would be footing the bill for third-party verification of the National Dairy FARM Program, we wanted to know your thoughts on the matter.

After all, the premise of third-party verification seemed to be the biggest hurdle for producer acceptance when the welfare program was first announced a few years ago. Now, not only is it crucial to the program, but you’ll be paying for it.

Therefore, we were somewhat surprised with the lack of participation in this poll, which asked: “Should checkoff dollars be used to fund third-party verification of the National FARM Program?”

Since the poll was released on March 1, we’ve only collected 11 votes and no comments. So what was it that curtailed the votes from coming in this time?

Maybe it was the time of year. In general, spring elections don’t fare well when it comes to attendance at the polls. Perhaps you’ve been so busy attending meetings and conferences that you’ve fallen behind on your reading and this is the first you’ve heard of it.

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Or it could be your time was consumed with researching and filling out your NCAA March Madness bracket only to have it busted by Florida Gulf Coast University.

It could be that in our first announcement, you read the vote was cast by DMI last September. With a decision already made, you may have concluded your opinion no longer counts.

In terms of your opinion, you might be thinking the thoughts of the individual dairy producer no longer matters. Be it the spending of checkoff dollars, how decisions are made within your cooperative or the formation of new dairy policy, one voice is not enough.

You may have given up long ago suggesting your opinion to anybody other than your spouse or your cows.

You might agree with the spending decision and didn’t feel a need to express your acceptance of the situation.

Or it could simply be you’ve had more pressing needs to attend to of late. Perhaps your feed supplies are shrinking and no head-start to this year’s growing season means big trouble.

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Maybe your herdsman announced he is leaving and you’re trying to figure out who to promote or if you should begin the hiring process. Some days there certainly are bigger fish to fry.

Even with only 11 votes, it is interesting to see where the majority falls. 64 percent voted against the checkoff funding third-party verification, while 36 percent were in agreement. While certainly not a large enough sample to bear much weight, the consensus did not agree with the spending decision.

So now we must ask, “Does it matter how checkoff spends your money?” or maybe better yet, “Should it matter?”

Even though you never see your checkoff money because it’s pulled from the milk check before being deposited in your account, it’s still your money. It would be in your pocketbook if it weren’t previously diverted. Should you have even more voice in what is being done with it? PD

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