Friday is the deadline for producers to register to vote for the additional one-dollar-per-head Missouri beef checkoff referendum. Mike Deering with the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, says about 4,000 out of more than 50,000 Missouri cattle producers have registered.
Supporters of the checkoff, including Missouri Cattlemen’s Association president Keith Stevens, say there are many benefits to the program.
“Currently, they figure that our checkoff dollar is returning a value to producers of about $11.20,” said Stevens. “I could see an additional dollar doubling that reach for us as producers.”
Stevens says the state checkoff, which would be fully refundable, would be used to promote Missouri beef. Stevens also says there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation about the checkoff.
Missouri Farmers Union president Richard Oswald says beef checkoff programs promote “generic beef” and says mislabeling of beef from foreign sources, especially without Country of Origin Labeling in place, could occur.
Mike Deering with the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, says that’s nonsense.
“I’m not even going to address that because it’s so out there and that is insinuating that there are dishonest, deceitful processors in the state and I would not concur with that. I think we have good people in this state,” said Deering.
“At the same time, if that was to happen, there are certainly laws in place to deal with that because that is illegal.”
For those who register to vote, the Department of Agriculture will mail the ballots out in early April. Results will be announced April 25.
In order to vote, cattle producers have to register online at www.agriculture.mo.gov or at their county FSA office. Producers can also request a voter registration form by phone at (573) 751-5633, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org