KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Missouri will not establish a new beef checkoff after producers rejected a proposed $1 fee per head of cattle to support the initiative, the Missouri Dept. of Agriculture (MDA) announced.
The department mailed ballots to the 8,480 Missouri beef producers who registered to vote on the checkoff. Of those, 6,568 valid ballots were returned by the April 15 deadline. In a news release, MDA said “1,663 producers (25.33 percent) voted for the checkoff and 4,903 producers (74.67 percent) voted against it.”
The measure would have assessed a $1 per head state beef checkoff tax. Beef producers already pay $1 per head to the National Beef Checkoff program.
Opponents of the state checkoff plan have criticized the current federal checkoff program as outdated and a failure. Missouri, opponents argued, did not need a similar program at the state level.
“This was not only a fight against the new beef checkoff, it is also a fight about what kind of livestock production we want in Missouri — corporate controlled industrial livestock production, or a future for family farm agriculture,” said Roger Allison, cattle farmer and executive director of Missouri Rural Crisis Center. “This vote is an example of how we can and will fight and win for our independence, democracy and the future of family farms.”
The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Dairy Association and the Missouri Dairy Industry Alliance supported the checkoff.
"We are disappointed the proposed Missouri $1 beef checkoff was not approved, because it provided additional resources for Missouri cattle producers to voluntarily work together to improve their industry,” the groups said in a joint statement. “Concerns with declining beef prices and the misinformation about beef disseminated by radical animal rights groups will not go away, and we will continue to look for ways to promote Missouri beef and help educate consumers.”