National Checkoff Petition Drive Nearing Deadline
Billings, Mont. – Led by the South Dakota Livestock Auction Markets Association and Steve Stratford of Kansas-based Stratford Angus, the National Beef Checkoff Petition Committee (Petition Committee) is nearing the deadline for obtaining signed petitions for a beef checkoff referendum from 10 percent of the nation’s cattle owners.
Launched on July 2, 2020, in the wake of the economy-disrupting COVID-19 pandemic, the Petition Committee was given until July 2, 2021 to obtained signed petitions calling for referendum from 88,269 cattle producers.
Due to near nation-wide pandemic-related restrictions, the year-long petition drive was principally relegated to an online electronic-based petition located at http://www.checkoffvote.com, which has gained considerable momentum during the past few weeks gathering about one hundred new petition signers each day. Presently, the number of electronic signatures is at 16,779.
Thousands of hard-copy petitions have also been mailed in and organizers say thousands more are in the hands of volunteers throughout the nation who have yet to send the signed petitions they have gathered to the Petition Committee.
“We’re grateful for the many, many volunteer petition carriers from nearly every state who despite the pandemic have been gathering untold numbers of signed petitions for this effort,” said Karina Jones, R-CALF USA Field Director who is leading R-CALF USA’s grassroots efforts within the Petition Committee. The grassroots committee has committed to meeting 2-3 times monthly via conference call meetings, to share ideas and develop the campaign.
“We expect to receive all their signed petitions in the mail very shortly,” she added.
Jones said the Petition Committee had reached out to all known state cattlemen’s groups, the National Farmers Union, American Farm Bureau Federation, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association urging them to circulate the petition among their respective memberships and she is awaiting delivery of any petitions they have gathered.
In addition, she said the petition was circulated through several farm and ranch publications, affording subscribers of those publications the opportunity to have their voices heard.
She said the Petition Committee also reached out to the national beef checkoff’s Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) asking them to either share their list of 83,000 cattle producers that receive the CBB’s beef checkoff funded newsletter but that the CBB declined to offer any assistance in ensuring that as many cattle producers as possible could have the opportunity to sign the petition.
The committee wants to remind everyone that all signatures must be collected online at http://www.checkoffvote.com or on the hard copy petition by July 2, 2021. Mail in the completed hard copy petitions as soon as possible so they can promptly be forwarded to the USDA by the end of July.
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