State Beef Checkoff Vote Planned for November First- If Approved by Oklahoma Ag Commissioner Jim ReeseThu, 15 Jun 2017 04:09:14 CDT
A public hearing was held on Wednesday at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture to determine whether or not the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association is qualified to represent cattle producers in Oklahoma as the organization has asked to conduct a referendum to establish an Oklahoma state-level beef checkoff. The OCA submitted petitions with over 5,000 signatures on May 15th to the agency, asking for the referendum- and if the ODAFF agrees to the request, the OCA announced at the hearing they intend to hold a vote on the proposal on November first, with voting open to anyone owning cattle in the state. The actual voting will be held at County Extension offices across Oklahoma, with an opportunity for producers to also request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
At the hearing on Wednesday, two officers of the OCA offered testimony about the qualifications of the organization and why the state checkoff is needed to augment the current Beef Checkoff that has been collected since the late 1980s. OCA President Charlie Swanson and OCA Northeast District Vice President Jess Kane both spoke to the proposal- and later talked with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about the State Checkoff effort. Click on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story to hear their comments with Hays.
The effort to secure signatures and bring them to the ODAFF to request a referendum has been a long and drawn out process. The announcement to pursue a State Beef Checkoff was first made in mid September of 2015. 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. It was deccided early on that the OCA would be the lead group requesting the vote.
At the time of beginiing the process of collecting signatures- the task force 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.
One of the first stories the Oklahoma Farm Report posted on the effort came on September 14, 2015- click or tap here to read more from then and to hear that day's Beef Buzz that featured comments from Michael Kelsey of the OCA.
Two of the members of the Task Force offered their support at the hearing on Wednesday- Marla Peek represented Oklahoma Farm Bureau and backed the efforts of the OCA- and the American Farmes and Ranchers offered a written statement from their State President, Terry Detrick, that was also supportive of the plan. Click on the PDF links below to see their full statements of support.
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