Cattle owners to vote on checkoff

Published 7:21 am Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cattle owners in Alabama will vote Thursday in a statewide referendum to decide whether to increase the assessment of the Alabama Beef Checkoff from 50 cents to $1.

All cattle owners in Alabama are eligible for one vote.

The Pike County Extension Office will be the polling place for the vote from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Thursday. Cattle owners must vote in person to certify that they do own cattle.

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Grant Lyons, Pike County Extension coordinator, said that, at its most recent meeting, the 100-member board of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association voted unanimously to support the increase.

“Those who are familiar with the beef industry know there aren’t as many cattle in Alabama as there once were,” Lyons said. “Collections for the checkoff are down but there is still a need for the checkoff to serve as the voice of the industry.”

The funds from the Checkoff are used in beef promotion, communications, foreign marketing, research, producer education and rural youth education.

“The monies from the Beef Checkoff help market and promote the beef industry across the state,” Lyons said. “The ACA board voted unanimously for the increase and I hope cattle owners throughout the county will stop by the Pike County Extension office on Thursday to place their vote.”

The most recent statewide referendum was held in 2008 when 87 percent of cattle owners vote in favor of continuing the checkoff.

“The checkoff is a voluntary program that cattlemen contribute to each time an animal is sold,” Lyons said. “This is a voluntary program and any cattle owner not wishing to participate may have their contributions refunded.”

The additional dollars from the Checkoff would fund other programs such as Beef 101, which teaches dietitians, retailers, teachers and consumers about beef cattle production.

“The Checkoff increase would help expand programming for rural youth to add more events to the calendar, such as the Alabama Junior Cattlemen’s Round-Up,” Lyons said. “The Checkoff also helps reach 10,000 elementary school children with a positive beef message.”

Last year, the State Checkoff Marketing Plan Task Force identified $200,000 more in essential programs than dollars were able to fund.

The Pike County Extension office is located at 306 South Three Notch Street in Troy. For more information call 334-566-0985.