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Alta. beef farmers choose refundable checkoff

Alta. beef farmers choose refundable checkoff

More than 1,800 ranchers participated in a plebiscite

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Alberta beef producers see no need to change the way their checkoff dollars are handled, plebiscite results recently indicated.

Farmers cast 1,874 votes on whether to change their service charge from a refundable to non-refundable model.

Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) currently collects a $2.00 service charge on every beef animal sold. That money is invested in research, market development, and communication.

Aside from four spoiled ballots, voters ruled in favour of the current refundable model with 962 votes (51.3 per cent) compared to 908 votes (48.5 per cent) in favour of the non-refundable model.

“In a democracy, decisions are made by the people who participate and as we’ve said all along, Alberta Beef Producers will honour the decision made by producers and the service charge will remain refundable,” Charlie Christie, chair of Alberta Beef Producers, said in a statement Monday.

Along with the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association (ACFA), ABP hoped voters would choose the non-refundable model.

The groups planned a new distribution structure in September and hoped to create the Alberta Beef Industry Development Fund. About 40 cents per head would have been invested into the fund, resulting in about $1.4 million annually.

The remaining $1.60 would have been divided between ABP, ACFA and collectors.

Despite the plebiscite turning out differently, the groups look forward to working with Alberta’s beef industry.

“While we wish the results were in favour of a non-refundable service charge and would have liked to see a higher voter turnout, ACFA respects the decision of producers that voted,” Ryan Kasko, chair of ACFA, said in the statement.

The $2.50 per animal national checkoff remains non-refundable and wasn’t part of the plebiscite.


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