FUQUAY-VARINA — The North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association has announced that the N.C. Cattle Industry Assessment Referendum vote will take place Thursday.
The North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association requested permission from the N.C. Board of Agriculture to conduct a referendum to continue the N.C. Cattle Industry Assessment. Permission was granted by the Board of Agriculture and arrangements have been made with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service to facilitate the voting. The extension offices in each county will be the polling place. The Surry County office is at 210 N. Main St., Dobson.
Bill Cameron, president of the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association, said that the referendum will be to assess all cattle sold and marketed in North Carolina $1 per head for the purposes of advancing the cattle industry in the state. The money collected will be used to fund the following five areas: youth programs, cattle research, education, promotion of North Carolina cattle and beef, and issues management.
The North Carolina dairy industry also will benefit from the funds collected, as a portion of the income will be allocated to the same areas within the dairy sector.
The referendum would continue the original state assessment program, which was first established in 1957. The national beef checkoff assessment of $1 per head will still be collected and will be used according to the guidelines set forth in federal law.
According to Cameron, “The national beef checkoff does a tremendous job of promoting beef and the beef industry, returning $5.50 per dollar invested; however, these funds cannot be used for many of the production and regulatory-oriented issues facing the industry today. The N.C. Cattle Industry Assessment Referendum would allow producers to continue to provide funds that would be controlled totally by the North Carolina beef and dairy producers to promote our product, our youth, our industry and to provide research and advocacy to protect their way of life.”
Since the assessement was reinstated on Jan. 1, 2010, research and education projects have been funded to deal with production issues facing North Carolina cattlemen in the areas of management, forage production, feed efficiency and general input reductions. In addition, the association has been able to provide additional services in issues management to help the public have a better understanding of the industry and training for farmers to help them reduce stress on both them and the cattle in their care. Youth programs have been a huge beneficiary of the investments from the assessment as the association was able to support livestock schools, judging contests, Skip-A-Thon contests, leadership development and the very popular Youth Beef Industry Tour, among many others.
Bryan Blinson, executive director of the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association, said, “The assessment will be for a period of six years with a recurring referendum if requested. Producers will be eligible for a full refund of their North Carolina assessment by request within 60 days of the sale of the animal with proof of sale. This is a provision that is not available in the national program due to federal law.”
All cattle owners who are at least 18 years of age as of Oct. 4 will be eligible to vote. Voting will take place at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension offices. All eligible voters must vote in their county. Absentee ballots may be obtained by contacting the North Carolina Cooperative Extension office.
For additional details on voting procedures or funding information, contact the Surry County office of cooperative extension at 401-8025, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences or the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association.