LONGVIEW, Texas – Texas beef producers overwhelmingly voted to create a state-level program to promote and market beef in the nation’s leading cattle-producing state, reports News-Journal.com. On July 2, the Texas Department of Agriculture reported that of 7,080 votes cast this past month by Texas ranchers, 67 percent were in favor.

Starting on Oct. 1, a $1-per-head state assessment will begin each time a beef animal is sold. The state measure will supplement a similar to the $1 US checkoff. Strong opposition to the fund-raising plan, however, was found in East Texas counties.

“Texas is the largest cattle producing state in the nation, and our beef is among the highest-quality in the world,” said Todd Staples, agriculture commissioner. “It is my hope these funds will be used in a manner to enhance our producers’ profitability and sustainability of food production. The Lone Star State is a national leader in agriculture, and I’d like to keep it that way.”

The Texas program will allow research into finding ways to improve Texas beef quality and market it around the world. It will be managed by the Beef Promotion and Research Council of Texas and council members will be selected by AG Commissioner Staples. This program will be a step forward for Texas beef producers, said Pete Bonds, president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, which supported the program’s passage.

“As ranchers well know, the challenges facing our industry continue to grow, and we must make sure we invest in our future to remain competitive,” he added.