Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Clears Path for Secondary, State Beef Checkoff Program in OKThu, 15 Jun 2017 16:28:22 CDT
Since 2015, the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association has been working to establish a second, state Beef Checkoff program here in Oklahoma, that would supplement the existing National Beef Checkoff program. This notion has become popular among many beef producing states that wish to strengthen their promotional efforts to help better market their product. According to OCA Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey, who spoke with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays this week in studio, there are already more than a dozen different states that have established independent state checkoff programs. Kelsey says that Oklahoma, could soon join these ranks. You can listen to their entire conversation about establishing a secondary state Beef Checkoff program, and the accord between the US and China regarding beef exportation, by clicking or tapping on the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of this story.
"Our members said, 'Hey we want to do that too,'" Kelsey said. "We knew even before then - to supplement the national program was just going to be really difficult."
Undeterred, though, Kelsey and his staff and the OCA members pulled together to get the process started. With a long road ahead of them, they began their endeavor with the understanding there would be several hurdles to overcome before ever nearing a payoff.
"Early on, we established a working group and that working group is made up of ag organizations here in Oklahoma - specifically those that have representation on the Oklahoma Beef Council," Kelsey said. "We sat down with them and asked, 'If we were going to have a second Checkoff program, what would it look like and would you help us design that?'"
Kelsey said they all jumped on the opportunity to get involved in the process. Following state statute and due process, the OCA circulated a petition to get the ball rolling, and has since collected signatures from the required 10% of beef producers in the state, roughly 5,100 signatures.
That petition has been submitted to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. The OCA is now awaiting Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese's approval to hold a referendum as the recognized representative of the state's beef industry. Kelsey expects this to happen soon, and says when it does - the working group has agreed that the referendum will take place November 1st, 2017. Any Oklahoman that owns cattle will be eligible to vote in this process.
Should the referendum pass, an additional dollar will be collected for every beef animal sold in the state. The money will be collected and administered by the Oklahoma Beef Council, for promotional use in the state, nationally or even internationally.
"Every bit of this assessment is controlled by Oklahomans," Kelsey pointed out, noting that all members of the OBC are residents of the state and added, "If a producer doesn't like the program, if they're unhappy with it - they don't even have to supply a reason - they can just request, and 100% of that dollar will be refunded."
Kelsey says, all state checkoffs by law are required to be refundable and this rule cannot be overturned.
Kelsey will join Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays for his weekly In the Field segment on KWTV News9 in the Oklahoma City area on Saturday morning at 6:40 a.m. In the meantime, you can listen to an in-depth discussion about the referendum, between Kelsey and Hays, by clicking the LISTEN BAR below.
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