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Serving: MO

Missouri beef producers reject state checkoff

Missouri beef producers reject state checkoff
Beef producers vote down a $1 state beef checkoff proposal.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced that the state would not establish a new beef checkoff as the measure failed to secure enough votes in the recent referendum.

According to a press release, roughly 75% of registered Missouri beef producers voted against the proposed state checkoff. At the beginning of the month, 8,480 beef producers registered with the state department of agriculture to vote and received ballots. By April 14, 6,568 were returned to the department with a strong majority voting against the measure.

CHECKOFF REJECTED: Missouri beef producers rejected a $1 proposed state checkoff.

“Missouri cattle producers are on the right side of history and this vote shows that we are willing to stand up and fight for the future of our industry,” said Darvin Bentlage, cattle farmer from Barton County, in a news release. “We will not cave to special interests and unaccountable government agencies attempting to take over our industry.”

The Missouri Rural Crisis Center, who led the opposition to the state checkoff called the result "a stunning victory for Missouri’s independent cattle farmers over corporate agriculture."

The new checkoff would have provided additional funds to be used for statewide beef promotion. The $1 proposed checkoff was in addition to the national checkoff already in place. The national beef checkoff requires a $1 payment every time a head of cattle is sold in the U.S. The state checkoff was a proposed voluntary checkoff, requiring an additional dollar at the time of sale.

Organizations who were in favor of the state beef checkoff expressed disappointment in yesterday's outcome. In a released joint statement, organizations like the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Dairy Association and Missouri Dairy Association said the $1 state beef checkoff would have "provided additional resources for Missouri cattle producers to voluntarily work together to improve their industry." They point to the need for additional dollars to counteract the misinformation disseminated about beef by radical animal rights groups, adding that these groups "will not go away."

However, the groups contend that they "will continue to look for ways to promote Missouri beef and help educate consumers."

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