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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Sheep Referendum Set for October

LAS CRUCES -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture will conduct a referendum among sheep and wool producers on Oct. 1, 1996.


The referendum will ask the sheep industry to ratify or reject the Sheep and Wool Promotion, Research, Education and Information Order.

If the order is approved, a nationwide assessment program will begin among sheep industry members. The money will be used to carry out research and promotion activities to benefit the industry.

The referendum will be conducted among producers, feeders, importers and exporters of sheep and wool products. Importers who only import raw wool are not eligible to vote.

In-person voting will take place in county Cooperative Extension Service offices on Oct. 1, 1996. Ballots will be counted on Oct. 16, 1996.

Absentee ballot are available from voters' local Extension offices. Requests for absentee ballots may be made only from Aug. 26 through Sept. 17.

Completed absentee ballots must be received in the county Extension office by close of business on Sept. 27, 1996. Absentee ballots received after this date will be declared invalid.

Only a "person" engaged in production, feeding, or importation of sheep or sheep products during the calendar year of 1994 is eligible to vote. The term "person" means an individual, a legal entity, or a group of individuals with joint ownership interest in sheep.

Each eligible "person" has one vote. Spouses who jointly own sheep are considered to be a "family" and are entitled to only one vote. No one is authorized to register or to vote on behalf of an individual voter.

If approved, the program would be funded by a mandatory levy on domestic producers, feeders, and exporters of live sheep and greasy wool. The assessment would be one cent per pound on live sheep sold and two cents per pound on grease wool sold.

Importers would be assessed one cent per pound on live sheep; the equivalent of one cent per pound of live sheep for sheep products; and two cents per pound of degreased wool, or the equivalent, for wool and wool products.

A similar referendum was conducted Feb. 6, 1996, but the results were declared invalid by the Secretary of Agriculture due to incorrect and inconsistent procedures.

Questions about ballot counting, reporting, verifying volume of production, voter eligibility, challenges to a voter's eligibility, appeals to challenge rulings and related topics, should be made to county Farm Services Administration offices.

Questions about voting procedures should be made to the county Extension office.

Other questions about the referendum should be directed to Kenneth R. Payne, at the Agricultural Marketing Service, Washington, D.C., (888) 265-8810, or New Mexico Extension coordinator Ron Parker, (505) 646-1709.