Illinois Beef Checkoff Referendum Scheduled
Illinois beef producers will have the opportunity to approve a state beef checkoff program, controlled by Illinois cattlemen and women, that could generate additional funds to promote beef in Illinois.
Petitions signed by more than 700 producers were submitted to the Illinois Department of Agriculture requesting a referendum on the Illinois Beef Market Development Act. If approved, the 50-cent per-head that producers would pay into a state checkoff program would supplement the national checkoff program. The program will complement and extend current research, promotion of Illinois-raised beef, and efforts to educate the youth of our industry while strengthening beef demand in the marketplace. The Illinois Department of Agriculture will oversee the referendum process.
“Our current national checkoff started in 1986 and its buying power has been eroded by 56 percent due to inflation over the years,” said Reid Blossom, IBA executive vice president. “Just like input costs on the farm, the cost of promotion and education has risen. The industry must invest in order to reach Illinois consumers and ensure a viable beef business for years to come, and the proposed Illinois Beef Checkoff would help in a number of areas.”
The Illinois Beef Checkoff is a voluntary 50-cent assessment on all beef cattle in Illinois collected at the time of sale. The funds from this collection will be controlled by farmers serving on IBA’s Checkoff Division of the Board of Governors and any cattleman not wishing to participate can have their full assessment refunded.
Alan Adams, a beef producer from Sandwich, said for him, reinstating the Illinois Beef Checkoff makes sense.
“Our industry is up against tremendous adversity,” Adams said. “The national checkoff has been successful in combatting those challenges, but more resources are needed to more aggressively confront beef industry issues that are critical to our way of life. The fast completion of the petition process and early backing from the Vote Yes coalition shows that Illinois beef producers recognize the need to further support our great industry.”
All beef producers in Illinois are entitled to one vote in the referendum. A producer is any person, regardless of age, who has owned or sold cattle in the previous year or presently owns cattle.
The referendum will be held during a 12-day window in February 2015 offering three ways a producer can cast a vote. Illinois producers are strongly encouraged to vote in-person at any Illinois FSA county office from Feb. 16-20 or at the Illinois Beef Expo in Springfield Feb. 19-22. If a producer is unable to access in-person voting locations, a mail-in ballot may be requested from the IBA website, www.illinoisbeef.com, between Feb. 16-27 and postmarked no later than close of business Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.
Producers with questions about the procedures and eligibility for voting in this referendum or for more information on how funds generated by the assessment can be used, can contact the Illinois Beef Association at 217-787-4280 or visit www.illinoisbeef.com.
Illinois beef producers are being asked to consider a state checkoff in an effort to increase promotion and education efforts for beef.