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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Sheep Referendum Ballots Available From County Extension offices

LAS CRUCES - New Mexico sheep and wool producers can register with county Cooperative Extension Service offices to vote on a referendum that would create a promotion, research and education program through assessments on sheep and wool sales.

The vote on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposed Sheep and Wool Promotion, Research, Education and Information Order will be Feb. 6 in Extension offices nationwide.

"Producers can register and vote in person or request absentee ballots from their county Extension office," said Ron Parker, state referendum coordinator and head of the Extension Animal Resources Department At New Mexico State University.

Eligible voters are producers, feeders and importers who certify they were engaged in production, feeding or importation of sheep or sheep products (except raw wool imports) between Jan. ~l and Dec. 31, 1994.

To vote absentee, producers must request ballots from the Extension office in the county of voter residence. Corporations must obtain ballots -from the county where the business is headquartered.

Absentee ballot requests can be made Jan. 16-26. "Extension offices will mail absentee ballots to producers who ask for them," Parker said. "Under the referendum rules, producers cannot pick up an absentee ballot in person at the office; it must be mailed to them."

Completed ballots must be received in county Extension offices by close of business Feb. 2.

For the promotion program to take effect, it would have to be approved by a simple majority of voters or by voters who account for two-thirds of the sheep and wool production represented in the referendum.

If approved, the program would be funded by mandatory assessments. Domestic producers and feeders would be assessed one cent per pound on live sheep sales and two cents per pound on greasy wool sales. Importers would be assessed one cent per pound or the equivalent on imported, degreased-wool and wool products.

The Farm Service Agency (formerly Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service) will count ballots, determine voter eligibility and tabulate results.

Details of the voting procedures were published in the Dec. 15 Federal Register. Copies of the final referendum rules, proposed order and additional information are available from Ron Parker at Dept. 3AE, Box 30003, NMSU, Las Cruces,, NM 88003; or Ralph L. Tapp, chief, Marketing Programs Branch, Livestock and Seed Division, AMS, USDA, Room 2606-S, P.O. Box 96456, Washington, D.C. 2009076456.