Members of an Iowa farm group are disputing claims they vandalized the Washington, D.C. office of the National Pork Producers Council. N-P-P-C President Barb Determan, a pork producer from Early, Iowa, says around 100 protesters stormed the office, had a physical confrontation with N-P-P-C staff and vandalized the office and office equipment. “Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement” spokesman Chris Gabriele says he was at the protest. The protest was against the U-S Ag Secretary’s decision to keep the pork check-off, despite a vote by producers to end the check-off. Gabriele says Determan’s version of the protest is wrong. Gabriele says there was no physical confrontation and no vandalism. He says protestors did put up stickers calling for an end to the pork check-off. Gabriele says the stickers could be easily removed.Determan told Radio Iowa the protesters took over a fax machine and sent out “propaganda” under the N-P-P-C letterhead. Gabriele says he heard that claim, but doesn’t know who did it or if the claim is true.Gabriele says his group succeeded in getting attention focused on the issue.Referendum results released in January showed pork producers nationwide voted to eliminate the check-off, which takes 45 cents from every hundred dollars of pork sold. U-S Ag Secretary Ann Veneman decided to continue the check-off, with some modifications.
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