Deadline nears to get ballots for Minn. beef checkoff referendumMinnesota cattle producers have until Friday, Jan. 17, to request ballots for a referendum on increasing the state beef checkoff.
By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek
Minnesota cattle producers have until Friday, Jan. 17, to request ballots for a referendum on increasing the state beef checkoff.
Originally, cattle producers were to vote in February on whether to increase the checkoff. But the Minnesota Department of Agriculture later decided to delay the vote until March to give cattle producers more time to learn about the proposal.
Now, the deadline to mail in a completed ballot is March 18. Results of the election are expected to be announced in early April.
Producers can request a ballot in one of three ways:•Go to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s website at www.mda.state.mn.us/ballots.
•Call the Minnesota Ag Department at 651-201-6013.
•Call the Minnesota Beef Research and Promotion Council at 952-854-6980.
Currently, in an agreement that dates to 1985, the Minnesota Beef Council collects $1 for every head sold.
The proposed checkoff, if approved, would increase that to $2 per head, raising an estimated $500,000 to $750,000 annually to promote beef raised in the state. Collection of the additional $1 per head would begin July 1 if the referendum passes.
Supporters of the proposal say the additional money would be spent to improve beef’s image and to tell its story. Supporters also note that it’s been nearly three decades since the original checkoff was approved, and that inflation has cut into what can be done with $1 per head.
The checkoff would be voluntary; producers could request a refund through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.