Unofficial plebiscite results favour refundable service charge
The unofficial plebiscite results on the question of the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) service charge model have been released by Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council (Marketing Council). There were 1874 votes counted that were cast by producers between October 19 and November 27, 2018 with 962 votes (51.3%) in favour of a refundable service charge model and 908 votes (48.5%) in favour of a non-refundable service charge model. Four ballots (0.2%) were spoiled.
“We would have liked to see more producers vote in the plebiscite, but we appreciate the interest and effort of those who did vote. In a democracy, decisions are made by the people who participate and as we’ve said all along, Alberta Beef Producers will honour the decision made by producers and the service charge will remain refundable,” said Charlie Christie, ABP Chair.
In the years the service charge has been refundable, ABP has received many resolutions from producers at fall meetings and ABP delegates at general meetings supporting a non-refundable service charge. As a result, ABP and the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association (ACFA) supported a non-refundable service charge when we made the request for the plebiscite. As the results indicate, producers favour a refundable funding model and will continue to pay service charge, but retain the ability to request a refund following the process outlined in the ABP regulations.
“I want to thank everyone who came to meetings, participated in the checkoff debate and voted in the plebiscite. While we wish the results were in favour of a non-refundable service charge and would have liked to see a higher voter turnout, ACFA respects the decision of producers that voted. We will continue to work hard to strengthen industry collaboration and create efficiencies regardless of the outcome,” said Ryan Kasko, ACFA Chair.
ABP urged the government in 2009 to conduct a plebiscite of producers before the service charge was made refundable and producers finally had the opportunity to make the decision this year. ABP thanks MNP for their diligent work as the Returning Officer on the plebiscite, as well as Marketing Council, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation for all their work
“I would like to thank the Alberta Beef Producers delegates for their hard work and dedication to the industry during the plebiscite process. I would also like to thank Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier for allowing producers to make this decision,” said Christie.