SENATE PASSES INHOFE COMMODITY CHECKOFF IMPROVEMENT LEGISLATION

Legislation On Its Way To President Bush's Desk

WASHINGTON-U.S. Senator James M. Inhofe announced today that last night the Senate unanimously passed the Inhofe Commodity Assessment Protection and Reform Act of 2004.

This bill gives the statutory authority to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Commodity Credit Corporation to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a State regarding the collection of approved State commodity assessments, on behalf of the State, from the proceeds of marketing assistance loans.

"This legislation will allow these voluntary commodity checkoff programs to better serve our Oklahoma farmers," Inhofe said. "Today we have further empowered our State's agricultural community to enjoy increased communication with both the USDA and the voluntary advocacy programs that work for Oklahoma's farmers."

Currently, if Oklahoma farmers want to change the level of contribution to their State administered commodity marketing and research programs, the USDA is unable to collect the new contribution due to the lack of statutory authority. Senator Inhofe's legislation corrects this problem and gives the USDA the authority it was lacking to collect the new rate.

This legislation had broad support, across Oklahoma, in the Agriculture community. Many groups including: the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the Oklahoma Farmers Union, the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association, the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, and the Oklahoma Peanut Commission, to name a few, all supported this legislation.

This bill will now move to the White House for President Bush's signature.