The U.S. Department of Agriculture has partially denied a request for information on the national Beef Checkoff from the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) to be released.

Out of a total of 12,341 pages of financial records from the audit and sought by the OCM through the Freedom of Information Act, USDA released less than 175 pages, most of which are already public tax forms. The remaining nearly 12,200 pages of checkoff-related records, however, were completely blacked out—USDA is claiming they are confidential. 

The lawsuit is part of OCM’s four-year battle on behalf of cattle producers to force the USDA to release government audit documents and financial records showing how cattle producers’ beef checkoff funds are being spent. 

OCM President Mike Weaver stated: “NCBA knows it has had its hand in the cattle producers’ cookie jar, and is fighting to keep it there while denying the hard-working cattle producers who pay into the Beef Checkoff Program the truth about how it is spending their tax dollars. What is just as alarming is the fact our U.S. government refuses to release government documents related to a government audit report on how our money is being spent.”

– Organization for Competitive Markets