Oklahoma Cattlemen Applaud Legislature and Governor for SB 1851Thu, 29 May 2014 14:53:45 CDT
On Wednesday, Governor Mary Fallin signed SB 1851 which outlines how a state-based commodity checkoff would be created by Oklahoma beef producers. The bill was championed by Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association (OCA) this legislative session which concluded last week.
"This bill outlines the process which Oklahoma cattle producers would use to create a supplement beef checkoff program," said OCA president Richard Gebhart. He added, "We wanted language that would allow us to self-determine our own program."
The process outlined in the bill would require at least 10% of producers signing a petition calling for a referendum. If the petition is validated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, then a referendum would be held. All cattle producers would be able to vote in the referendum. If the referendum passes then a new checkoff would begin. All costs associated with creation and continuance of a program must be paid for by the requesting industry assuring no state funds are used. The bill also states that any program created must include a refund provision so that producers can request their money returned to them if they choose not to participate.
"OCA worked closely with the Oklahoma Livestock Markets Association in this bill process and we thank them for their input and cooperation," Gebhart said. "OCA extends special thanks to Governor Fallin for signing the bill, to Senators Eddie Fields, Ron Justice and to Representatives Dale DeWitt and Scott Biggs for leading the bill through the legislature. We also appreciate Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese and his staff for providing technical language input."
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