Missouri director of agriculture Richard Fordyce approved the petition to conduct a referendum of Missouri cattle producers, pursuant to section 275.352 RSMo as amended, to establish a $1.00 per head state beef checkoff assessment. Cattle producers will now vote for or against the establishment of the state checkoff.
The director hosted a public hearing on the referendum on 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 $1.00 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, 2016, producers can register online at agriculture.mo.gov or by visiting their county U.S. Department of Agriculture-Farm Service Agency office. Producers can also request a voter registration form by calling (573) 751-5633 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Voter registration will end March 4, 2016.
Ballots will be mailed to registered producers April 4, 2016. Ballots must be returned with a postmark deadline of April 15, 2016, to be considered valid. Results will be announced April 25, 2016.