The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association has received permission from the Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Julius Johnson to hold a referendum vote on instituting a $.50 per head voluntary state beef checkoff. The vote has been scheduled for December 7th and 8th at Local County UT Extension offices. The UT Extension Office in Smithville will be the voting location for beef producers who live in DeKalb County. The office is located at 722 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville. The office will be open for voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7th and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 8th.
Every cattle producer in Tennessee will be eligible to vote on the checkoff by signing an affidavit at their local extension office, confirming that they are a cattle producer. If producers vote to institute the checkoff, $.50 will be collected when a bovine animal is sold in the state. Producers would then have 90 days to request a refund from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, if they do not want to participate in the checkoff. The remaining proceeds would then be transferred to the Tennessee Beef Industry Council. The funds could be used to finance a program of research, education, market development, marketing, advertising and other methods designed to promote the increased production, consumption, use and sale of beef products in Tennessee. A producer board will oversee the funds. The board will be composed of 9 members appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture. These members will be nominated by the Tennessee Farm Bureau, the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, the Tennessee Livestock Marketing Association and other recognized beef cattle producer associations.
The $1 per head National Beef Checkoff program was established in 1985. Half of this money remains in Tennessee and the rest is used nationally to fund programs like the “Beef, It’s what’s for Dinner” advertising campaign, new products innovations such as microwave ready meals and developing new cuts of beef. The money that has remained in Tennessee has funded programs such as UT Beef Day promotions on the Vol radio network, teaching kits for schools and consumer education programs. Since these funds have not increased since 1985, inflation has dramatically impacted the programs that can be funded with this money.
For more information on the Checkoff program visit www.beefup.org or call the UT Extension office in Smithville at 615-597-4945.