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Agricultural News

State Ag Commissioner Jim Reese Approves Cattle Industry Plan to Hold a Vote November First on Establishing a Secondary State Beef Checkoff in Oklahoma

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 19:14:21 CDT

State Ag Commissioner Jim Reese Approves Cattle Industry Plan to Hold a Vote November First on Establishing  a Secondary State Beef Checkoff in Oklahoma Oklahoma State Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Reese has authorized a referendum for later this year to determine if cattle producers in Oklahoma want a state beef checkoff that will run concurrently with the long standing federal dollar a head beef checkoff. Commissioner Reese, in giving the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association the green light to proceed with a checkoff vote on November first, determined that adequate numbers of signatures were gathered since the fall of 2015 to hold the vote.

In a declaration released at the end of this past week, Reese stated once the agency received the petitions asking for a vote in Mid May- the agency held a public hearing a month later and heard from the Oklahoma Cattlemen, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and received a written statement from the American Farmers and Ranchers all supporting a vote on a checkoff.

After the public hearing, Commissioner Reese concluded "on the basis of testimony presented at the public hearing, the petitioning organization is representative of the producers of cattle in the state of Oklahoma and that the petition conforms to the purposes and provisions of the Oklahoma Commodity research Enhancement Act, I designate the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association as authorized to conduct a state assessment referendum pursuant to Title 2 of the Oklahoma Statues 5:63.3 utilizing the process outlined in testimony at the public hearing."

The complete statement from Commissioner Reese is available by clicking on the PDF file link below.

Many cattle producers believe that a secondary state checkoff is badly needed to supplement the national checkoff, which has never been inceased since it was launched in the late 1980s. A state checkoff in Oklahoma could raise up to $3.5 million dollars annually to advance promotion, education and research on behalf of all producers. About a dozen other states have already adopted a secondary state checkoff- including Oklahoma's neighbor to the south and west- Texas.

At the hearing, OCA officials offered this plan to move forward to determine the will of cattle producers on a state checkoff:

The Vote for a State Beef Checkoff will be held on November first, with voting available to all cattle producers in the state at any Oklahoma State University Extension Office.

Producers will also have a right during the month of October to request a ballot that can be mailed in lieu of showing on November first.

There will be a public information campaign explaining the need for the checkoff.

There will also a public information campaign to raise awareness about cattle producers having the right to cast a ballot on establishing a checkoff or not.

If approved, the dollar will be collected and invested on behalf of Oklahoma cattle producers by the Oklahoma Beef Council, the current official body collecting and handling the federal dollar a head beef checkoff.

The state dollar established by the vote is refundable, if a cattle producer makes a request for a refund.

After the public hearing on June 15th, the Oklahoma Farm Report featured an interview with Michael Kelsey of the OCA- talking with Farm Directror Ron Hays. Click or tap here to listen to that conversation.

Hays also talked with OCA President Charlie Swanson and Northeast District VP Jess Kane about the plans for a vote on a state checkoff for beef producers- click or tap here to read more and listen to their comments with Ron Hays.




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