What is the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff?
The Oklahoma Beef Checkoff is a producer funded and managed, state-level promotion, marketing, research and education program for beef and beef products.
Why is the Checkoff Needed?
The additional Oklahoma Beef Checkoff dollar would be a state, producer driven checkoff that would allow Oklahomans the ability to control what to do with that dollar. It would give Oklahoma producers a greater ability to market, promote and defend beef here at home and around the globe – something producers can’t do on an individual basis.
Who will manage the money collected through the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff?
The Oklahoma Beef Council will serve as the management entity of the state-level checkoff program. The Board is comprised of Oklahoma representatives who are appointed by the following: American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Dairy Producers Association, Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, Oklahoma CattleWomen Association, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Livestock Marketing Association and the Chairman of the Oklahoma Senate and House Agriculture Committees.
Are there safeguard measures to keep it from being misused?
The Oklahoma Beef Council has implemented greater controls and processes to safeguard and protect the finances of the council. The Council employs an independent third-party accounting firm that has a five-step review process; as well as an audit/risk committee which includes an independent, outside financial advisor to the committee that monitors and reviews the internal controls and potential risks to the council.
What will the money be used for?
The use of funds is limited by the parameters established in state law, which are beef promotion, marketing, research and education for beef and beef products. The money can be used in Oklahoma, the U.S. and/or internationally. The law does not allow checkoff funds to be used for lobbying activities to influence public policy or government affairs.
What is meant by the assessment being “a maximum of $1?”
According to the Oklahoma Commodity Research Enhancement Act, producers set the maximum allowable rate for the assessment through the referendum vote. The actual assessment rate is set, not to exceed the maximum, by the Oklahoma Beef Council. If circumstances ever warranted an assessment less than the maximum, the Council has the authority to set that rate without another referendum. It will be an assessment of $1.
Who will decide if Oklahoma Beef Checkoff program is started?
Eligible beef producers who would be required to pay the assessment, will vote in a referendum to determine if a state-level checkoff program is started.
Who is eligible to vote?
Any beef producer, regardless of age, is eligible to vote in the election and referendum if the producer would be required under the referendum to pay the state assessment. For purposes of this referendum, a producer may be either an individual or a legal business entity.
If I can’t vote on Wednesday, November 1st at a county extension office, how can I vote?
Yes. Eligible producers unable to access an Oklahoma County Extension office during the voting period may request a ballot by mail from the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff Ballot Committee. Mail-in ballots must be requested between October 2-20, 2017, by calling 405-235-4391 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail-in ballot requests must be made before midnight, Friday, October 20, 2017. Completed mail-in ballots must be returned directly to the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff Ballot Committee, postmarked no later than October 27, 2017, to be valid.
If I vote in person, should I go to the county extension office where my cattle are located or where I live?
Eligible producers may vote at any Oklahoma County Extension office, regardless of where your cattle are located or where you live.
I don’t live in Oklahoma, but own and/or sale cattle in Oklahoma, can I vote?
Yes, any beef producer, who would be required under the referendum to pay the state assessment is eligible to vote. Out-of-state producers can vote at any Oklahoma County Extension office on November 1, 2017, or by requesting a ballot by mail from the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff Ballot Committee. Mail-in ballots must be requested between October 2-20, 2017, by calling 405-235-4391 or emailing email@example.com. Completed mail-in ballots must be returned directly to the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff Ballot Committee, postmarked by October 27, 2017.
Can I request a refund?
Yes. A beef producer who has paid an assessment to the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff may obtain a refund of the amount paid by filing an application for refund with the Oklahoma Beef Council within 60 days after the date of payment. The application must be in writing, on a form prescribed by the Council for that purpose, and accompanied by proof of payment of the assessment.
Is this a government program?
Oklahoma law governs the creation of state-level commodity checkoff programs. However, once the program is approved through passage of a producer referendum, then the program is funded and managed by cattlemen and women. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture maintains oversight responsibility to ensure the integrity of the program.
Will the state government have control over the money collected?
No. According to Oklahoma law, these funds are held outside of the state treasury. This means the Oklahoma Legislature, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and any other state governing entity has no jurisdiction over the funds collected through a state-level commodity checkoff program.
If the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff program is approved, when will collections begin?
If approved, collection of the assessment will begin May 1, 2018, and continue until the Oklahoma Beef Council notifies cattle collection points to cease collection.
Where can I get more information about the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff?
For more information about the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff and the referendum contact the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff Ballot Committee, at 405-235-4391.
Myths v. Facts
About the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff
Myth: The Oklahoma Beef Checkoff is a $1 tax on every head of cattle.
Fact: No, the $1 is an assessment that is paid at point of sell and is refundable to the seller by written request.
Myth: The Oklahoma Beef Checkoff referendum is unusual because producers under the age of 18 can vote.
Fact: False. The 1988 federal Beef Checkoff referendum, allowed all individuals who would be required to pay the assessment regardless of age to vote. The same has been allowed in the 15 subsequent state level checkoffs, like Texas.
Myth: Cow/calf producers are the only individuals who have to pay the beef checkoff.
Fact: False. Any and all producers, including feed yards and packers, who sell cattle are required to pay the beef checkoff. In fact, importers are also required to pay the assessment.
Myth: Corporations and non-Oklahomans may vote in the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff.
Fact: If a beef producer sells their cattle in Oklahoma, they should have a say in this vote. That is why the eligible voters include the many family ranches that are legal entities, like LLCs, and ranchers who live outside the state borders but conduct their business (the selling of cattle) within Oklahoma.
Myth: The Oklahoma Beef Council lacks financial accountability.
Fact: False. The Oklahoma Beef Council has implemented greater controls and processes to safeguard and protect the finances of the council. The Council employs an independent third-party accounting firm that has a five-step review process; as well as an audit/risk committee which includes an independent, outside financial advisor to the committee that monitors and reviews the internal controls and potential risks to the council.
Myth: The assessment will go to the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.