Tennessee cattle producers will have a chance to vote in a statewide referendum Dec. 7 and 8 to consider an increase in the assessment to fund in-state promotions of beef. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture authorized the referendum earlier this year at the request of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, the state’s largest cattle organization.
Cattle producers can vote Dec. 7 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Dec. 8 during normal business hours at the University of Tennessee Extension office in the county of their residence.
To vote in the referendum, producers must:
Be a resident of Tennessee
Produce or market beef or dairy cattle
Be at least 18 years old
Sign a legal affidavit attesting to eligibility
Cattle producers will vote on an increase of 50 cents in the assessment charged per head of cattle sold to support in-state research, education and promotion of beef. The measure requires a majority vote. Currently, cattle producers pay $1 per head to help build consumer demand for beef products nationally. The national beef program was authorized by a vote of cattle producers and implemented in 1985.
Tennessee ranks as one of the top beef producing states in the nation with nearly two million head of cattle. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, cattle and calves generated $545 million in Tennessee farm cash receipts in 2010. There are approximately 47,000 cattle producers in the state.