Area Beef Producers To Vote On Texas Beef Checkoff


Ballot boxes opened Monday for the Texas Beef Checkoff.

Jay Johnson, a beef producer from outside of Happy, says for him, this new referendum makes sense.

"The way I look at it for me, is it's an opportunity to invest not only in promotion now, but my kids future as well. So I take my dollar and I take my neighbors dollar and somebody else's dollar and we put those together and collectively we can spend a lot more on research and promotion than what I can do individually," Johnson said. 

The Texas Beef Checkoff would mean $1 from the sale of each head of cattle would go to the Beef Promotion and Research Council of Texas.

A similar national initiative funded a slogan you've probably heard before - "Beef, it's what's for dinner."

According to Johnson, nine other states already have Beef Checkoffs similar to this one. 

The movement towards this referendum vote started a couple years ago. Legislation was passed allowing for such a vote to be held.

Johnson says, right now, the referendum would give the industry in Texas a needed boost.

"Because of the drought and because of the sell off of numbers...the Texas Beef Council had a reduction in the number of programs that they were doing. With this referendum, if it passes is actually just bringing some of those programs back," Johnson said. 

Johnson says some opponents of the measure call it a tax.

Under the checkoff, you would be able to apply for a refund of your assessment within 60 days of the sale.

As for voting, the ballots are at all Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Offices.

"The producer will come in and just simply ask for the ballot. The producer will sit down and fill that out, much like you would vote for a county commissioners' race. You'll simply fill out a sign-in sheet and then you'll be given the ballot and you'll vote," J.D. Ragland, with the Randall County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office said.

Anyone who has owned cattle between June 6th, 2013 and June 6th, 2014 is eligible to vote, regardless of age or number of cattle.

Those ballots get sent to the Texas Department of Agriculture and producers around state, like Jay Johnson, wait to see if enough ballots were checked 'yes' to pass the checkoff.

If passed, the Texas Beef Checkoff would begin October 1st, 2014.

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