President of Kansas Cattlemen’s Association Requests Invitation to Legislative Secret Meeting
Kansas Cattlemen’s Association President, Riley Robbins, sent a letter to Kansas Speaker of the House, Representative Ron Ryckman, requesting independent cattle producers be represented in a secret, “invitation only” meeting planned by the speaker on June 29th for undisclosed invitees.
“We appreciate your interest in the federal beef checkoff program that assesses Kansas cattle producers to fund government speech at both the state and federal level. Importantly, all Kansas cattle producers are subject to beef checkoff program assessments, including the cattle-producing members of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association.” Robbins states.
He continues, “The Kansas Cattlemen’s Association believes strongly that an invitation-only meeting for Kansas Legislators, to which the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association is not invited, is a disservice to you and your colleagues who deserve to be informed by both financial beneficiaries and non-financial beneficiaries of a program that collected over $9.6 million dollars from cattle producers who sold cattle in Kansas in 2020.”
The secret meeting arose following backlash from the Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Livestock Association regarding a letter circulated by Senators and Representatives in support of a beef checkoff petition calling for a referendum on the beef checkoff programs. Those signing onto the letter to USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack, were later reprimanded for supporting their rancher constituents by the lobbying organizations, which have a vested interest in the funds assessed by the checkoff. It was then that Speaker Ryckman stepped into action and scheduled the secret training session, stating it was “invitation-only” to comply with the Kansas Open Meetings Act.”
Robbins requested an invitation to the meeting, “On behalf of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, I am requesting that you extend an invitation to us to present to our Kansas Legislators information regarding the background and history of the beef checkoff program.”
As of the time of this press release, Kansas Cattlemen’s Association has not received a response from Speaker Ryckman.
The full letter can be viewed below