Tag Archives: cattle

Cattlemen Vote to Raise Their Taxes (well, something like that)

News release from state Department of Agriculture:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The results are in and Tennessee cattle producers have voted to increase the assessment they pay to support in-state promotions of beef announced state Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson.
“In today’s competitive market, it’s important for farmers to reassess their efforts in the marketplace and how they can best reach today’s consumer,” Johnson said. “I’m pleased to have authorized this referendum and to have provided an opportunity for producers to have a say in determining their business future.”
Tennessee cattle producers cast their votes last week in a statewide referendum authorized by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The referendum was requested by the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, the state’s largest cattle organization.
More than 56 percent or 718 of the 1,275 producers who cast ballots at local UT Extension offices supported the measure. The measure increases by 50 cents the assessment farmers pay per head of cattle sold to support in-state research, education and promotion of beef. Only a majority of the votes cast were needed to pass.
The 50 cent increase will go into effect in the spring. Currently, cattle producers pay $1 per head to help build consumer demand for beef products nationally. The national beef program was authorized by a vote of cattle producers and implemented in 1985.
Tennessee ranks as one of the top beef producing states in the nation with nearly two million head of cattle. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, cattle and calves generated $545 million in Tennessee farm cash receipts in 2010, making beef the state’s top commodity. There are approximately 47,000 cattle producers in the state.

‘You Can’t Predict What a Cow’s Going to Do’

Cattle owners who post an appropriate warning sign would be immune from legal liability if the animals subsequently harm visitors to a farm or livestock sale under a bill also approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
“You can’t predict what a cow’s going to do,” said Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin, sponsor of the “bovine liability” bill, SB339. “This would take out some unnecessary liability.”
The measure prompted some discussion, but no criticism. Sen. Ophelia Ford, D-Memphis, asked Haile about potential dangerous cow activities and he invited her to his farm, saying “you’ll get a much better experience out there than I can relate to you.”
Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, asked whether enactment of the bill could mean greater liability for a cattleman who fails to post a sign. A legislative attorney said failure to post a sign would mean the cattle owner remains subject to liability as under current law.
“Couldn’t we just say that, if somebody gets kicked by a cow, it’s their own darn fault?” Campfield asked at one point, suggesting that the requirement of a sign for liability be deleted.
Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, said the sign requirement is warranted, giving people notice that “normal rules do not apply” on liability for a cow’s actions and people can then make a decision on whether to proceed with exposure to the animals.