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2014-07-10

Beef checkoff referendum results

Special to the Courier

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) announced Texas beef producers have voted to establish a state-level Beef Checkoff program, which was approved by a wide margin of 66.79 percent of voters. Overall, 33.21 percent of voters opposed the measure. TDA conducted this referendum upon petition by cattle industry organizations under the authorities designated by the Texas Legislature.
"Texas is the largest cattle producing state in the nation, and our beef is among the highest-quality in the world," said Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. "As Texas ranchers continue to grow and raise the bar to meet consumers' tastes and preferences, it is my hope these funds will be used in a manner to enhance our producers' profitability and sustainability of food production. The Lone Star State is a national leader in agriculture, and I'd like to keep it that way."
Passage of the referendum establishes a producer-funded program without the use of tax dollars. The Beef Checkoff program will research ways to continue improving Texas beef quality, as well as educate prospective consumers of Texas beef around the world. Texas beef producers will pay a refundable assessment of no more than $1 per head of cattle they sell. Collection of the assessment will begin on Oct. 1.
"I am proud of my fellow Texas cattlemen and women for standing up for our future," said Coleman Locke, BPRCT chairman and Brahman cattle producer from Hungerford. "Our future success depends on our ability to meet the needs of consumers and reach those individuals with the facts about the quality product we produce, which is exactly what this program will accomplish."
Voting on the measure took place in June. The Beef Checkoff program will be used for the promotion, marketing, research and educational efforts of beef and beef products for prospective consumers of Texas beef around the world.
As required under the Texas Agriculture Code, TDA conducted the referendum following a petition from cattle industry organizations on behalf of their members. After cattle owners voted, a canvassing committee of representatives from TDA and the Texas Secretary of State counted the votes. TDA conducted an eligibility audit of voters, which confirmed the vote results.