What is a referendum?
A referendum means a vote conducted by the secretary of agriculture (secretary) whereby producers, feeders, first handlers and exporters are given the opportunity to vote to determine whether the continuation of the Lamb Promotion, Research and Information Order (order), more commonly known as the lamb checkoff program, is favored by majority of eligible persons voting and a majority of volume voting.
Why are we having another referendum?
By law, according to the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 and the order, the secretary was required to conduct the first referendum no later than three years after assessments first began (July 1, 2002). The first referendum was conducted in February 2005. By law, the secretary is required to conduct a second referendum no later than seven years after assessments first began. The second referendum is scheduled to be conducted Feb. 2-27, 2009. Just like the first referendum, participants will vote either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and vote their volume of production.
Does the referendum affect the assessment rate?
Who is eligible to vote in the referendum?
Any person who was or is a lamb (sheep) producer, feeder, first handler, exporter or authorized representative engaged in the production, feeding, exportation or slaughter of lambs from Jan. 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2008, is eligible to vote in the referendum. Supporting documentation which shows a person was engaged in the production, feeding, exportation or slaughter of lambs will be required.
Where do you vote?
The referendum will be conducted at local county U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. You can determine the location of your county FSA office by contacting the state FSA office or through an online search of FSA’s Web site at www.fsa.gov/pas/default.asp.
How do you obtain and return a referendum ballot?
Ballots (Form LS-86) may be requested in person, by fax or by mail during the voting period from the county FSA offices and via the Internet at www.ams.usda.gov/ lsmarketingprograms. Ballots must be returned in person, by fax or by mail to the county FSA office. Your vote is considered valid only when your completed and signed ballot, accompanied by supporting documentation demonstrating your eligibility, is returned in person or by fax to the appropriate FSA office prior to the close of business on the last day of the voting period – Feb. 27, 2009. Ballots mailed must be postmarked no later than midnight on Feb. 27, 2009.
What does the referendum ballot look like?
A sample of the proposed lamb referendum ballot is shown in the center of this page. You will complete a ballot by voting ‘yes’ if you wish to continue the lamb checkoff, or ‘no’ if you do not wish to continue the lamb checkofff.
You will also vote your volume, either as a producer, feeder or first handler.
Producers and seedstock producers will vote the total number of domestic lambs owned and produced during the period Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008. Feeders will vote the total number of lambs owned and fed during the period Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008. First
handlers will vote the total number of lambs slaughtered during the
period Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008.