Horse Industry Referendum Vote on March 11

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Horse and other equine animal owners/lessors will vote across the state on March 11, 2014, to determine whether to continue to voluntarily assess themselves two dollars ($2.00) per ton of commercial horse feed in order to provide funds to promote the interests of the horse industry.

Nelson McCaskill, County Extension Director, says the vote in Mecklenburg County will take place in the Mecklenburg County Cooperative Extension Center at 1418 Armory Drive in Charlotte between 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on March 11. Any North Carolina resident who has reached his/her 9th birthday as of January 1, 2014, 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. On or before March 10, horse owners may visit or phone the Mecklenburg County Extension Center at 704-336-2082 and request a ballot and absentee registration form. These must be turned in to the Extension office by March 11, and will be counted along with other votes on March 11.

If the vote is favorable on March 11, 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 youthand 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.