Horse Industry Promotion Assessment Referendum

— Written By Samantha Foster
en Español

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The North Carolina Horse Council plans to hold an equine referendum to extend the Horse Industry Promotion Assessment which was first authorized in 1999. The referendum will be conducted in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on March 8, 2017.
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Polling places will be set up in each county Cooperative Extension Office. Horse owners will be able to vote on whether or not to extend, for ten years, a $4.00 per ton assessment being paid by manufacturers of horse feed sold in North Carolina.
Polling places will be open during regular business hour in each Cooperative Extension Service office. Any horse owner/ leassor, over the age of nice, can vote. There will also be an absentee balloting system put in place for owners who are not able to get to the Extension Offices on March 08, 2017.
Horse and other equine animal owners/lessors will vote across the state on March 08, 2017 to determine whether to continue to voluntarily assess themselves four dollars ($4.00) per ton of commercial horse feed in order to provide funds to promote the interests of the horse industry.
Voting in Stanly County will take place in the County Extension Center from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Any North Carolina resident who has reached his/her 9th birthday as of January 1, 2017 and who has complete or partial ownership or lease of an equine (horse, pony, mule, donkey or hinny) is eligible to vote. Individuals must sign a statement certifying eligibility at time of voting.
Since many horse owners work away from home during business hours, a provision has been made for absentee voting. Between the dates of February 20-March 08, horse owners may visit or phone the County Extension Center and request a ballot and absentee registration form. These must be turned in to the Extension office by March 08, and will be counted along with others on March 09.
If the vote is favorable on March 09, the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will continue to receive the assessment funds from manufacturers and/or distributors of horse feed, and will remit the money to the NC Horse Council. The Horse Council has indicated that the funds will be used for 4-H and other youth and educational programs, trails advocacy, equine research, representation of horse interests in government, marketing programs, enforcement of horse laws, and improved public awareness of diseases and other threats to horses’ well-being.
Many other agricultural commodities have similar voluntary assessment programs. Horsemen may receive a refund of the assessment by writing to the NC Horse Council within a year of purchase and including proof of purchase.