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Iowa beef checkoff petition complete

By Staff | Sep 14, 2016

AMES (ICA) – More than 500 cattle producers in Iowa have signed a petition for a referendum to reinstate the Iowa beef checkoff.

A petition to vote on the state beef checkoff was delivered to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship on Sept. 2.

The referendum will take place later this fall. Producers will be able to request an absentee ballot from the Iowa Department of Agriculture beginning on Oct. 10.

Absentee ballots must be returned during the month of November, or producers may visit their county extension offices on Nov. 30 to vote in person.

The state checkoff was in effect prior to the creation of the federal beef checkoff in 1986. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association members and leaders are interested in reinstating the checkoff, as a way to further invest in Iowa’s beef industry.

While the federal checkoff has remained steady at $1 per head since 1986, several states have instituted state checkoffs. The federal checkoff funds, which are subject to federal government rules, are used to promote and research beef.

The state checkoff would be assessed at $.50 on each head of Iowa cattle sold. The money could be used more flexibly than the federal checkoff, although its uses are limited to those outlined in Iowa Code Chapter 181.

Last fall, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association surveyed its members and used those results to align Chapter 181 with current beef industry needs. The priorities outlined in the survey results and the code include:

  • Marketing and promoting Iowa’s beef and beef products.
  • Enhancing Iowa’s beef industry image.
  • Production research.
  • Expanding international trade relationships.
  • Providing producer, consumer, and youth educational opportunities.

If the referendum passes, specific decisions on the administration of the funds would be made by the Iowa Beef Industry Council officer team, which includes five elected cattle producers, the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, a representative from the Livestock Market Association, and two ICA producer members. The funds will be administered by the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

If the referendum passes, collection will begin March 1, 2017.

The Iowa beef checkoff will be mandatory, but refunds will be available to interested producers.

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