During the first week in June, Texas Beef Producers will have an opportunity to decide whether or not they want a maximum assessment of $1 per head of cattle, in addition to the current National Beef Checkoff, collected at each transfer of ownership. The Texas Beef Checkoff assessment will be used for promotion, marketing, research and educational efforts regarding beef and beef products in Texas.The Beef Promotion and Research Council of Texas (BPRCT) will set the assessment rate each year, not to exceed the maximum assessment rate of $1.

This is a proposed new assessment, upon the request of the Texas cattle industry and in accordance with provisions of Texas Agriculture Code, and Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) rules, TDA will conduct a referendum from June 6, 2013 to June 6, 2014 on the establishment of a refundable assessment on cattle sales or ownership transfer in Texas.

If approved, collection of the assessment will begin on October 1, 2014 and continue until the BPRCT notifies cattle collection points to cease collection. Each collection point that makes payment to a producer for cattle purchased shall collect the assessment by deducting the applicable assessment from the final amount paid to the producer. No later than the 15th day of each month, the collection point shall remit the amount collected during the previous month to the BPRCT, along with a completed form prescribed by the BPRCT reflecting such amount.

During the referendum, any individual or legal business entity who owned cattle any time in Texas from June 6, 2013 to June 6, 2014 is considered a cattle producer and eligible to vote. An individual or legal business entity shall not be considered a producer, referred to as a non-producer, if: (A) the person's only share in the proceeds of a sale of cattle or beef is a sales commission, handling fee, or other service fee; or (B) the person: (i) acquired ownership of cattle to facilitate the transfer of ownership of such cattle from the seller to a third party; (ii) resold such cattle no later than ten days from the date on which the person acquired ownership; and (iii) certified, as required by procedures prescribed by the BPRCT, that the requirements of this provision have been satisfied. If an eligible producer is younger than 16 years of age, the ballot must be co-signed by a parent or guardian in order to be valid.

The referendum will be held by physical balloting. Ballots will be available at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county offices from June 2, 2014 through June 6, 2014. Eligible producers may vote during each office’s regular business hours. In Nueces County the AgriLife Extension office is located at 710 E. Main St., Suite 1, Robstown and open between the hours of 8am to Noon and 1pm to 5pm.

If an eligible producer is unable to access a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county office, a ballot may be requested from TDA no earlier than May 19, 2014 and no later than June 2, 2014, to ensure receipt prior to the postmark deadline. All ballots must be cast or postmarked no later than June 6, 2014, in order to be considered.