From Washington with Karina Jones – Ag news from our nation’s capital

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From Washington with Karina Jones - Ag news from our nation’s capital

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Karina Jones is a real-life ranch wife in the Nebraska Sandhills, Field Director for R-CalfUSA and one of the most highly sought-after speakers in the cattle industry nationwide!

And now the NEW VOICE of Farm & Ranch Country, Karina Jones –

Good day everyone in farm and ranch country. I hope today’s message finds you surrounded by fields of green and growing crops and cattle.

According to the US Department of Justice, “A 69-year-old Laredo, TX man has been ordered to federal prison for accepting bribes from Mexican cattle brokers.

Roberto Adams pleaded guilty and was ordered to serve a total of 57 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. The sentence was enhanced because he accepted more than one bribe payment while in a position of public trust for a total amount of over $40,000. In handing down the sentence, the court noted Adams did not understand the gravity of the crime he committed and the significance of the harm he did or could have caused by allowing diseased cattle into the country. He was also ordered to immediately pay $40,000 in fines.

“It is critical that we do not allow corruption to infect positions of public trust, including inspectors at the port of entry,” said U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. “They are supposed to ensure the safety and integrity of the agricultural products passing into the United States. Adams put that system at risk. We hope this sentence serves as deterrent to others thinking of violating their obligations.”

At the time of his plea, Adams admitted he accepted over $40,000 in bribe payments from Mexican cattle brokers while acting in his official position as a USDA employee. In return, he allowed cattle to enter the United States without proper quarantine or inspection.

Adams was employed at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a lead animal health technician for 10 years. In that role, he was responsible for inspecting and quarantining or excluding tick-infested or diseased cattle. He was only one of two technicians the USDA employed in Laredo and exercised high level decision-making authority.

The FBI and USDA – Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Winter is prosecuting the case.”

I find this situation particularly interesting during a Farm Bill year, when some groups are still trying to bolster a false sense of producer confidence in the USDA by supporting them to maintain the status quo regarding commodity checkoff programs or by handing them more control over our fat cattle markets by letting the USDA set regional fat cattle cash mandatory minimums. It would seem the USDA needs to get their own house in order before we give them any more power. It seems laughable that the USDA would want to mandate RFID tags among our domestic producers when they have such loose border control and continue to allow imports of beef and cattle from countries with disease issues. Or at the least implement more surveillance over the USDA like passing the OFF Act. Or maybe we just stick one of those RFID tags on the boot strap of every USDA official, so we know where they are and who they are dealing with.

Join me right back here next week as I bring you ag news from our nation’s capital.

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Karina ranches with her husband, Marty, and 4 children near Broken Bow, NE. She grew up in western NE, with roots also in southwest SD. The cattle industry and raising kids is her passion.

Tune in Fridays on The Hot Barn Report, where she deep dives into cattle industry issues and highlights industry reforms or listen to Ranch Raised with Karina Jones a slice of daily life on the Jones Ranch.

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