The results of the Alberta Beef Producers’ plebiscite on the future of the producer check-off model were announced at the start of the AGM in December. The tight results, released by the Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council, stated that 51.3 per cent voted for a refundable service charge model, while 48.5 per cent voted for a non-refundable model, and 0.2 per cent of the ballots were spoiled. Voter turnout was lower than expected, with 1,874 votes counted. About 18,000 producers were eligible to vote.
Both Alberta Beef Producers chair Charlie Christie and Alberta Cattle Feeders Association chair Ryan Kasko have said they will abide by the majority’s decision.
Alberta producers pay a $4.50 levy on each animal. Portions of the check-off support the Alberta Beef Producers, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canada Beef and the Beef Cattle Research Council. The Alberta Beef Producers and Alberta Cattle Feeders Association had proposed creating an industry development fund from the non-refundable check-off.
Producers will continue to pay the levy but will be able to request refunds. The Alberta Beef Producers refunded $2.5 million of the 2017 check-off.