Referendum Results Establish California Cattle Council

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The California Cattle Council is now fully operative after the California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the results of the recent California Cattle Council Referendum on April 5. With 68 percent of the results being votes in favor of implementation, the referendum passed with the needed majority and has now been declared operative by the Secretary of Food and Agriculture.

The California Cattle Council referendum was a vote of the state’s beef producers to determine if $1.00 should be assessed on the sale of live cattle to fund the California Cattle Council in order to provide more resources to defend and promote cattle production in the state. Efforts were led by the California Cattlemen’s Association to pass Senate Bill 965, creating the opportunity for cattle producers to vote on the formation of the council through a referendum conducted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Members of the California Cattlemen’s Association, along with agricultural allies, campaigned for support during the voting period of February 21, 2019 to March 22, 2019.

“I am extremely pleased with the strong support demonstrated by ranchers throughout California for the Cattle Council,” said Dave Daley, chair of the Cattle Council Outreach Committee. “It became clear to me very early on that once ranchers learned more about the Cattle Council, they were overwhelmingly supportive.”

With the referendum providing a green light to establish the California Cattle Council, the California Department of Food and Agriculture is now accepting nominations for the board of directors. The California Cattle Council board of directors will be comprised of cattle producers to direct the activities of the California Cattle Council and select funding priorities. All producers are eligible to serve on the California Cattle Council.

To obtain a nomination for please visit www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/cattle. Nominations must be received by the California Department of Food and Agriculture no later than May 22, 2019. Once the California Secretary of Agriculture appoints the members, the board will begin meeting to establish the California Cattle Council’s goals and budget.

“This outcome is reflective of the dozens of grassroots volunteers throughout the state and the thousands of volunteer hours that have gone into educating ranchers over the last two years,” said Daley. “I now look forward to continuing our grassroots effort as we shift into achieving the objectives of the Cattle Council.”


The California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is a non-profit trade association, formed in 1917, that represents California’s ranchers and beef producers in legislative and regulatory affairs.

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California Cattle Council Structure

What is the difference between the Cattle Council and the Beef Council?
If the Cattle Council is approved through a referendum of the state’s producers, it will create a separate council to work on live cattle issues important to California cattle producers, not just the marketing and promotion of beef.

Unlike the Beef Council, the Cattle Council will be able to use resources to defend and promote cattle production and focus on production issues like fire, water and air quality.  The Cattle Council will be able to fund research in these areas and educate regulators and legislators about the many benefits of cattle production.

Can the Cattle Council Lobby or Fund Legal Defense?
Funds cannot be used for lobbying or legal defense.

Will the Cattle Council be Affiliated with the federal Beef Checkoff program?
The Cattle Council is not subject to the federal beef checkoff program or influenced by the U.S.        Department of Agriculture or the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).  All funds stay in California.

Is the Cattle Council Assessment Refundable?
The Cattle Council assessment, unlike the Beef Council assessment, is refundable without prejudice.

Who will be eligible to serve on the Cattle Council?
If approved the Cattle Council Board of Directors will be comprised of cattle producers to direct the activities of the Council and select funding priorities. All producers are eligible to serve on the Cattle Council.  All members of the Council will be appointed by the California Secretary of Agriculture.  These are non-paid appointments.

Cattle Council will be comprised of producers representing all segments of the California cattle industry (same as beef council).

  • 11 Board Seats & 11 Alternates
    • 3 Range Cattle Producers
    • 3 Cattle Feeders
    • 3 Dairy Producers
    • 1 Processor or Packer
    • 1 Public Member

What will be the Cattle Council’s Budget & Will Administrative Costs be Capped?
The Cattle Council Assessment will generate approximately $3 million per year. Every effort will be made by the Council (producers) to limit administrative costs.  Typically, those costs are about 5-10% of the gross.