Grass Routes: Alberta cattle producers: Plebiscite voting underway

Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) is working together with industry groups for a stronger Alberta beef industry that invests in the future, drives efficiencies and cultivates opportunities.

You can vote to decide if check-off should continue to be refundable or become non-refundable between October 19 and November 13, 2018 at one of the 27 ABP fall meetings around the province, by mail, or in person at the 46 AFSC offices in Alberta. Marketing Council has sent information packages about the plebiscite to producers and information can be found on the Government of Alberta website.

A producer plebiscite is your opportunity to make a decision on future funding for your organization and industry. ABP has issued over $20 million in refunds since 2010 and many producers believe that this money would generate greater benefits if invested in industry initiatives.

The basis for the pursuit of a non-refundable check-off is our plan to create the Alberta Beef Industry Development Fund (ABIDF). Plans for the ABIDF and an agreement between ABP and Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association (ACFA) on the allocation of a non-refundable check-off were the reasons ACFA is supporting the plebiscite.

A successful plebiscite would see the creation of the ABIDF. This fund would support the beef industry through strategic investments of producer check-off dollars in research and technology transfer, market development, education, consumer advocacy, and industry collaboration. The return to a non-refundable service charge would provide approximately $1.4 million annually in funding for the ABIDF.

Under the proposed funding structure, ABP will retain $1.35 per head of the $2 check-off, which is approximately the amount we currently retain after refunds are issued. The ABP allocation includes 53 cents per head to support the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and a rebate paid to check-off remitters, currently five cents per head. ABP and ACFA agreed that 40 cents per head, close to $1.4 million per year, would be contributed to the ABIDF. Twenty-five cents per head, around $850,000 per year, will be allocated to ACFA to cover operational costs and their commitment to the National Cattle Feeders’ Association. Producers who do not want 25 cents per head to go to ACFA may apply to have this money allocated to the ABIDF.