By Jennifer M. Latzke | November 9, 2017
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture announced the results of the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff Referendum Nov. 9. Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese reported the checkoff failed with a vote of 1,998 in favor to 2,506 against.
The announcement came following the official auditor’s report of the vote.
The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association released a statement following the announcement.
“This is an unfortunate loss for the beef industry here in Oklahoma,” said Michael Kelsey, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association executive vice president. “Investing in a state-level beef checkoff would have greatly increased the opportunities to market, promote and educate consumers about beef and beef producers. We ran a good campaign that worked hard to reach out and educate beef producers, but ultimately we were defeated today by the same out-of- state activists that defeated State Question 777 last fall.”
The Organization for Competitive Markets (with ties to the Humane Society of the United States) along with R-CALF USA had led the opposition to the referendum. In a release, the organizations proclaimed victory.
“We were proud to stand with our Oklahoma members to ensure justice was carried out during this election,” said Bill Bullard, CEO for R-CALF USA. “It is good to know that in America, if you stand up for what is right you can still win.”
Currently, members of R-CALF USA and OCM have applied with the Oklahoma Supreme Court to turn over the state beef checkoff. Since the referendum failed, the issue is moot and Brian Ted Jones, attorney for the plaintiffs, will be dismissing the case. In a statement he said, “Unfortunately having to dismiss the case leaves serious constitutional questions about the statute and the process left unanswered.”
Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807.