Last year, ranchers from across California worked to pass a law that would help cattle producers defend our way of life and protect our future. Thanks to this law, the California Department of Food and Agriculture is authorized to call an election so that producers may vote on whether to establish the California Cattle Council.

The election has been called, and ballots have been mailed. The voting window, the time between February 21st and March 22nd, provides ranchers a historic opportunity to fight the relentless attacks by radicals who want to drive us out of business and destroy our heritage.

By voting YES and returning your ballot during the voting window, you will help strengthen our collective voice and ensure our ranching heritage remains in our hands.

California Cattle Council
Referendum Process & Procedures

What is the Cattle Council Referendum?
The California Cattle Council referendum is a vote of the state’s beef producers to determine if an additional $1.00 should be assessed on the sale of live cattle to fund the Cattle Council.

  • $1 per head refundable assessment on all cattle sold in California (beef and dairy), with the exception of calves smaller than 250 pounds
  • $1 per head collected at time of sale by the brand inspector or at the sale barn.

When will the voting on the referendum begin?
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) hasn’t officially announced when they will mail ballots, but we anticipate ballots will be mailed February 21st and must be returned or postmarked by March 22nd.

Who is eligible to vote on the referendum?
CDFA defines eligible producer as: a person who owns or acquires ownership of beef or dairy cattle, and who, upon request, provides proof of ownership of cattle. A person is not a producer if the person’s only share in the proceeds of the sale of cattle or beef is a sales commission, handling fee, or other service fee.

Will all producers receive a ballot in the mail?
Working with the Brand Department CDFA will mail ballots to individuals and businesses that sold cattle in 2018.

What if I don’t receive my ballot in the mail?
CDFA will provide ballots to eligible producers upon request.

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.