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Special to the News
The 2023 Alabama Beef Checkoff referendum will be voted on by Alabama cattle owners on Thursday, August 24.
Alabama law requires a statewide vote of cattle owners every five years to continue the voluntary Alabama Beef Checkoff Program. All Alabama cattle owners can vote, and no age restrictions apply.
Voting will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, with voting to take place at county Extension offices. In Coosa County, the Extension Office is located at the old high school campus in Hanover.
The Alabama Beef Checkoff Program is a self-help program for cattle producers that works to increase consumer beef demand and provide opportunities for youth development, research and educational programs for cattlemen in the state. The program is not mandatory as producers who do not wish to participate can request a refund on the state beef checkoff assessment.
The beef checkoff assessment began in 1962, and this vote will decide whether to continue the assessment. Cattle owners do not have to vote in the county where their cattle are located, but they can only vote one time.
Since its inception, there have been 13 beef checkoff referendums since 1962, and all have been approved by the cattle owners. The state checkoff is the major source of funds for programs to promote beef, educate influencers and consumers, respond to negative media, protect the reputation of cattle farmers, fund producer education, promote beef exports, support youth programs, and provide research for producers on cattle production.
Cattle producers decide how the money is spent. Producers are ultimately responsible for determining which programs to spend checkoff dollars on and will develop a State Beef Checkoff Marketing Plan listing all programs that will be funded by the checkoff. The current plan is available on www.bamabeef.org/checkoff.
The national beef checkoff program limits its expenditures to programs promoting beef and beef products. Alabama law allows state checkoff funds to be spent on programs for youth and young producers’ educational programs.
Cattle owners’ checkoff dollars are working to provide youth involvement through partnerships with 4-H, FFA and the AJCA to fund youth events; the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program that provides learning and leadership opportunities for cattlemen between the ages of 22 to 40; educational programs for producers; the Beef Quality Assurance program; sponsors one young cattleman each year to represent Alabama at the NCBA Young Cattlemen’s Conference, a 10-day tour of the beef cattle industry from pasture to plate; cattle research; issues management by providing a spokesperson for the industry to handle media and answer questions about the issue at hand; beef promotion; consumer education; and global beef demand by contributing to the U.S. Meat Export Federation each year to market beef across the world.
To learn more about the referendum, visit www.BamaBeef.org/vote.