Cattlemen to vote on increasing assessment charged for cattle

Cattlemen to vote on increasing assessment charged for cattle

Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 8:03 pm

Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson has authorized a statewide referendum for cattle producers to vote on a 50 cents per head increase in the assessment to fund the in-state promotion of beef. The action is in response to a request from the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, the state’s largest cattle organization.
“Cattle and calves are our top agricultural commodity and account for more than $500 million annually in farm income,” Johnson said. “In these times of changing markets and consumer attitudes, I think it’s important that cattle producers take time to reassess how their product is marketed and how to pay for it.”
Cattle producers will vote on an increase of 50 cents in the assessment charged per head of cattle sold to support in-state promotion and advertising of beef. The measure requires a majority vote. Currently, cattle producers pay $1 per head to fund research, education, promotions and advertising to help build consumer demand for beef products nationally. The national beef program was authorized by a vote of cattle producers and implemented in 1985.
Tennessee ranks as one of the top beef producing states in the nation with nearly 2 million head of cattle. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, cattle and calves generated $545 million in Tennessee farm cash receipts in 2010. There are approximately 47,000 cattle producers in the state.
Who can vote?
Voters must be at least 18 years of age, Tennessee residents and vote in their county of residence. They must produce or market beef or dairy cattle. Producers must sign legal affidavits attesting to their eligibility.
Where do I vote?
Voting will occur at the Obion County University of Tennessee Extension Service office in Union City, as well as all Extension offices in the state.
When do I vote?
Voting will be held Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday during normal business hours at the UT Extension office in the county of the voter’s residence.
Results will be announ-ced by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on Dec. 16.
For more information contact Wendy Sneed, livestock marketing specialist, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Market Development Division, P.O. Box 40627, Nashville, TN 37204, at (615) 837-5309 or at wendy.sneed@tn.gov.
 Under state law governing the Tennessee beef promotion board, the commissioner of agriculture has authority to call a referendum within 60 days of receiving a request from a qualified producer organization.

Published in The Messenger 12.6.11

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