The Erath County Extension Office is serving as a polling location for the Texas Beef Checkoff Referendum this week, June 2–6. The Extension office is located in Room 109 of the Donald R. Jones Justice Center (Courthouse Annex) and is open from 8 a.m.–noon and 1–5 p.m.

At the request of Texas cattle industry associations, and in accordance with Texas law, the Texas Department of Agriculture will conduct a producer referendum that, if approved, would create a state beef checkoff program for beef promotion, marketing, research and consumer education. This proposed program, to be called the Texas Beef Checkoff, would be funded and managed by Texas beef producers.

If approved, the assessment will be collected at each point of ownership transfer in Texas.

Eligible producers can vote at any Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county office during each office’s regular business hours. Eligible producers are strongly encouraged to vote in person.

The Texas Beef Checkoff would be funded solely through this assessment on cattle. It is not paid for by taxpayer dollars and is not a government program. If approved, any assessments collected would be refundable upon request.

The program would be managed by Texas cattlemen and women serving on the Beef Promotion and Research Council of Texas.

Any producer regardless of age who has owned cattle in Texas anytime between June 6, 2013 and June 6, 2014, is eligible to vote. Youth younger than 16 years of age must have a parent or guardian co-sign their ballot.

If approved, collection of the assessment will begin Oct. 1.

Whit Weems is an Erath County extension agent. His column appears weekly and online at yourstephenvilletx.com.