State Beef Checkoff Petition Drive Begins in OklahomaMon, 14 Sep 2015 14:52:28 CDT
Following the lead of Texas and several other states, Oklahoma's cattle industry is moving forward to petition for a referendum for an Oklahoma state-level beef checkoff. Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey contends there are a lot of reasons why the national beef checkoff needs more resources. In speaking for OCA, Kelsey said the $1 per head checkoff was established in 1985 and the federal assessment hasn't been adjusted since the program began.
"The power of the dollar as we know has just shrunk," Kelsey said. "You can't buy a cup of coffee for 25 cents any more. It takes more to do that, so we need more funds in order to do those types of programs that we think we need to do to continue to position beef in the center of the plate."
This includes being proactive and reactive on issues that arise when beef is painted in a negative light. Further, Kelsey said more funding is needed for beef research, education, promotion, along with domestic and foreign market development.
The concept of establishing a state beef checkoff program is not new. Kelsey said 14 other states have already established a secondary state beef checkoff. Texas is one of the latest states to set up a program. He said having a state beef checkoff would allow for more checkoff resources to stay within the state of Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association will be the group conducting the referendum, according to the petition. The petition has been approved by the seven groups that have come together as a task force. This includes the American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Beef Council, Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, Oklahoma CattleWomen's Association, Oklahoma Dairy Producers Association, Oklahoma Farm Bureau and the Oklahoma Livestock Marketing Association.
The group said the reasons to propose of a new state assessment include increased funds for the core checkoff strategies of market development, promotion, research and consumer information. If passed, all assessment funds will be received and administered by the Oklahoma Beef Council. They will promote and defend beef and cattle production and aggressively promote and defend beef's importance in a healthy diet. The maximum state assessment will be $1 per head at the change of ownership. The state assessment, as required by state statute, is refundable.
OCA will conduct the referendum and will work with cooperative extension offices across the state in an effort to allow cattle producers to have a local location to vote on the checkoff referendum, once the referendum is approved by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. The petition process will require an estimated 55- hundred signatures. The referendum will take place in the first half of 2016.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Kelsey on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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