AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas ranchers will vote next month on whether to establish a state-level program to promote and market beef in the nation's leading cattle-producing state, a move intended to supplement funding from a similar U.S. plan.
The push to establish a state checkoff of $1 a head came from Texas cattle producers and is necessary because too little flows back to the state from the national program that was established in 1988, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association spokeswoman Carmen Fenton said Thursday.
"Frankly, that dollar just isn't worth much anymore — particularly considering the rise of inflation, more Texas shoppers to market to, and the fact that the cattle herd is as low as it's been since the '50s," she said.
The U.S. program gets a dollar per head also, with the state getting half of that, Fenton said.
Texas producers owning cattle in Texas from June 6, 2013, to June 6 of this year are eligible to vote.
Producers can vote June 2-6 during business hours at any Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office.
A mail-in ballot from the Texas Department of Agriculture can be requested no later than June 2.
If approved, the $1 assessment will begin Oct. 1. The Texas Beef Checkoff program would be managed by the Beef Promotion and Research Council of Texas, with council members being selected by Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.
The dollar would be collected each time a beef animal is sold throughout its life.
Those who don't want to participate in the program must still pay the fee but can file to have it refunded.
Ranchers across the nation have been forced to cull their herds the past several years due to drought conditions across the Plains and Midwest.