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Fred Stokes on the Beef Checkoff, Country of Origin Labeling and Busting up the Big Four

The beef packing industry is now dominated by four large multinational corporations – Cargill, Tyson, the Brazilian firm JBS and National Beef Packing, which is controlled by another Brazilian company. 

Country of origin labeling for beef was repealed in 2015. 

And the beef checkoff – a $1 tax on the cow every time it is sold – funnels millions of dollars to beef promotion groups that side with the beef packing monopolists against the farmers.

For almost fifty years now, Fred Stokes, a cattle farmer in Porterville, Mississippi, has been seeking to give the family farmer a fair shake in the marketplace – to bring back country of origin labeling, to bust up the big four and to repeal or reform the checkoff.

In the late 1980s, he helped organize a group called the Organization for Competitive Markets to achieve these goals.

It is still running now more than 20 years later.