Urbana, Ill.-Members of the horse industry in Illinois passed a statewide referendum to implement an equine checkoff, the
first of its kind in the United States, reports Farm and Dairy.
The equine industry is now the only nonedible agricultural commodity with a checkoff program.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture says it is verifying vote totals.
Officials say funds generated from the feed-based checkoff program will support equine research and education programs in
The checkoff program, sponsored by the Horse Council of Illinois, may generate up to $400,000 a year through a voluntary nickel-per-bag
or $2 per ton fee on commercial and manufactured feed, according to Kevin Kline, an animal scientist at the University of
Illinois. The assessment would also apply to feed sold or imported for sale in Illinois.
Manufacturers of commercial equine feed will be asked to collect the voluntary nickel-per-bag assessment and forward a report
and the funds to the checkoff board quarterly, according to Farm and Dairy.
Horse owners who buy feed but choose not to contribute can request a refund.
Collection for the assessment is scheduled to begin in 2004. Then officials will appoint individuals to the 12-member Illinois
Equine Industry Research and Promotion Board. Those individuals will include representatives of the state's racing, pleasure,
show and working horse industries. One member will represent the feed and grain industry.