Cattle checkoff plan sunk

Some Oklahoma farmers and ranchers won a great victory against the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) and their corporate out of state interests.

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry (DAFF) announced in a vote of 1,998 to 2,506 the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff Referendum had been defeated.

The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and R-CALF USA on behalf of their Oklahoma members had joined together to lead the opposition to the referendum calling out the OCA for attempting to double the tax paid on every head of cattle sold.

Bill Bullard, CEO for R-CALF USA stated, “We were proud to stand with our Oklahoma members to ensure justice was carried out during this election.

“It is good to know that in America, if you stand up for what is right you can still win.”

Members of R-CALF USA and OCM had filed an application with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  Based on the court’s procedural rules, the Plaintiffs will have to dismiss their case now that they have won the election.

In that the referendum failed, making the issues moot, Brian Ted Jones, attorney for the plaintiffs will be dismissing the case.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) is a supporter of the U.S. and Texas Beef Checkoff programs, and supported the Oklahoma measure.

Had it been approved, the funds would have been used to market, promote and educate consumers about beef and beef producers. Oklahoma would have also joined 15 other states, including Texas, who have already adopted a state-level beef checkoff program.

“I am disappointed that the Oklahoma beef checkoff referendum was swayed by outside activists and did not succeed,” said TSCRA president Richard Thorpe. “Texas cattle raisers have seen an immense benefit from their state-level checkoff program, and I had hoped that same success would be extended to Oklahoma producers.”

A 2014 economic study conducted by Dr. Harry Kaiser of Cornell University reaffirmed those benefits.

The study concluded that current checkoff programs yield an $11.20 return for every dollar invested.

“It is hard to dispute the incredible return on investment provided by beef checkoff programs, and I am optimistic that the facts will eventually prevail over out-of-touch activists,” Thorpe said.