Ohio beef checkoff increase fails

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Ohio cattlemen turned down an effort to increase the state checkoff on cattle from $1 to $2.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture certified the results of the 2012 Ohio Beef Marketing Program Referendum Oct. 12, and reported the measure did not receive enough favorable votes to pass.

A total of 674 votes were certified. Forty-seven percent of producers (representing 51 percent of the marketed cattle) voted in favor of the increase; 53 percent of producers (representing 49 percent of the cattle sold by all participants) voted against the increase.

To be successful, the referendum basically needed a two-thirds approval by voters who represent at least 51 percent of the cattle.

Producers were able to vote Sept. 24-26 by absentee ballot, at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association office, and at OSU Extension offices.

“It is disheartening to learn the referendum did not pass,” says Sam Sutherly, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association president. “These results indicate there is more work to do to effectively communicate how existing checkoff funds are used to increase beef demand.”

Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of cattlemen’s association, said in an email “there are no plans for the future regarding a revisit” of the Ohio beef checkoff or increase. She said the OCA board would make that decision. They do not meet again until Dec. 4.

The Ohio Beef Council’s budget is about $300,00. If the referendum had passed, income to checkoff would have increased to just under $1 million.

Committee members had previously said the increase was necessary to continue the work of checkoff, amid nearly 30 years of inflation since the last increase, in 1985.

“The operating committee of the Ohio Beef Council has been dealing with missed opportunities because of the checkoff’s loss of buying power and a shrinking budget for some time and will continue to face those issues going forward,” Harsh said.

“They will continue to do the best they can to prioritize programs to increase the demand for beef in an environment that gets tougher every day to reach potential beef consumers.”

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

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