Louisiana beef producers overwhelmingly voted to continue a 50-cents-per-head assessment on all cattle marketed in Louisiana for the next five years, according to LSU AgCenter officials.

In a referendum held May 31, 80 percent of the cattle producers voting favored continuing the assessment, which supports education, promotion and research in Louisiana, said LSU AgCenter beef specialist Karl Harborth.

The funds are administered by the Louisiana Beef Industry Council board, which represents producers, the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association, the Louisiana Farm Bureau and the Louisiana Livestock Marketing Association.

“The Louisiana cattle industry gains four ways by passing the Louisiana volunteer 50-cent checkoff,” said Robert Joyner, Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association executive vice president.

“This will allow the Louisiana Beef Industry Council to continue to fund junior education and adult education,” he said. “It will also allow us to fund research projects to help raise better quality genetics as well as forages for cattle. Last but not least, it will allow us to promote the wholesome product of beef, which, in return, will increase the price we receive for cattle.”

The Louisiana checkoff is in addition to a $1-per-head national checkoff. Voting was conducted in each parish under the direction of LSU AgCenter agents.

“We’re pleased to assist the Louisiana cattle industry by conducting the referendum,” said LSU AgCenter vice chancellor Paul Coreil. “The cattle industry is important throughout the entire state.”

According to the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Summary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the cattle industry contributed more than $370.5 million to the Louisiana economy in 2010.