Petition Drive Begins for State Beef CheckoffFri, 11 Sep 2015 16:12:16 CDT
Over the next several months, Oklahoma cattle producers will have the opportunity to sign a petition calling for a referendum for a state beef checkoff.
A working group made up of representatives from the American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, Oklahoma CattleWomen's Association, Oklahoma Dairy Association, Oklahoma Farm Bureau and the Oklahoma Livestock Marketing Association have been meeting for several months working on the outlines for a state beef checkoff.
"Our working group has met six times and facilitated excellent discussion creating consensus for what a state checkoff would look like," shared Michael Kelsey, Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association.
The first step in creating a state checkoff involves gathering signatures on a petition. State law requires that a complete petition be 10 percent of the producers of the commodity proposing the checkoff. The Working Group estimates that number to be about 5,500 cattle producers. By signing a petition, a cattle producer is simply saying that they want the opportunity to vote on creating a state beef checkoff.
State law requires that the purpose for a checkoff be on the petition. The Working Group considered many factors and came up with an excellent set of reasons for a state beef checkoff.
The reasons for and purposes of a state assessment are:
-- Increase funds for the core checkoff strategies of market development, promotion, research and consumer information
-- Promote and defend beef and cattle production
-- Aggressively promote and defend beef's importance in a healthy diet
The proposed assessment would be $1 per head at change of ownership. Additionally, all funds collected will be administered by the directors of the Oklahoma Beef Council.
"It was important to the Working Group that all of the funds be under the control of Oklahomans who are cattle producers themselves," expressed Kelsey.
Another important point of the proposed program is the collections. Any state checkoff must be refundable according to state law. This provision is very important and gives producers the opportunity to request the full assessment be returned to them if they desire.
Petitions will be circulating throughout Oklahoma at upcoming local and state meetings where cattle producers gather.
"If a producer would like to collect signatures, they can request a petition from any of the organizations on the Working Group," Kelsey said.
The OCA represents more than 5,600 Oklahoma ranching families. The OCA exists to support and defend the state and nation's beef cattle industry. The OCA officers, board of directors and membership encourages you to join us in our advocacy efforts to ensure less government intervention, lower taxes and a better bottom line. For more information about OCA membership or activities call 405-235-4391 or visit www.okcattlemen.org.
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