JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce has approved the petition to conduct a referendum of Missouri cattle producers, pursuant to section 275.352 RSMo as amended, to establish a $1 per head state beef checkoff assessment. Cattle producers will now vote for or against the establishment of the state checkoff.
The beef checkoff proposal was created by the Missouri Beef Industry Council, who petitioned Fordyce earlier this year for a referendum of beef producers. It would be a new checkoff for the state, while beef producers across the country have been paying a $1 federal beef checkoff since 1988.
The checkoff funds are used to help communicate with consumers about the beef industry and beef products. According to the MBIC website, this is done through direct advertising, cooperative marketing, public relations efforts, education programs and new product development assistance.
The director hosted a public hearing on the referendum Dec. 9 at the Missouri Electric Cooperatives building on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. At this hearing, more than 75 producers shared their opinions regarding the referendum to establish a $1 per head state beef checkoff assessment. The director based his decision on that testimony.
“At the hearing, I was personally able to hear from producers the pros and cons of a beef referendum,” Fordyce said. “I appreciated the large and diverse turnout and the courteous and professional manner of the participants. While listening to the opinions and concerns of those testifying, a common theme emerged: cattle producers should be given an opportunity to vote on whether a state beef checkoff should be established. I agree that a vote of the producers is the best way to decide the issue; therefore, I have approved the petition of the Missouri Beef Industry Council board of directors to conduct a referendum.”
Cattle producers will be required to register in order to vote. Beginning Jan. 4, producers can register online at agriculture.mo.gov or by visiting their county USDA-FSA office. Producers can also request a voter registration form by calling 573-751-5633 or sending an email to [email protected] Voter registration will end March 4.
Ballots will be mailed to registered producers April 4. Ballots must be returned with a postmark deadline of April 15 to be considered valid. Results will be announced April 25.