Texas cattle ranchers have chance to vote for state beef checkoff

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- If you've grabbed a burger lately you may have noticed it's a little pricier than normal and experts say the cost could keep going up.

Cattle producers say the price in beef has increased over the years and will continue to go up as long as we're in a drought.

Now cattle ranchers in Texas have the chance to vote on a new proposal that could help prices hold steady.

Ranchers already pay 50 cents per head of cattle sold to the federal government and 50 cents to their state as part of the National Beef Checkoff.

This week, Texas cattle ranchers will vote on a state beef check off program which would cost them another dollar per head of cattle sold, all of which would go to the state.

Ben Wible, State Director of the Texas Farm Bureau, says this new program could help the cattle industry.

"Now we're selling fewer cattle which is fewer money to be available," said Wible. "This added income will be for Texas and will be able to promote the beef, do classes, do research," said Wible.

Wible says the extra dollar would pay for beef marketing and promotion.

He says Texas is the number one producer of beef in the country but cattle numbers haven't been this low since the 1950's.

"Herd numbers are way down and we need the extra money to keep going," said Wible. "The beef herd will not increase for another three years because this is another year of drought it looks like."

Ranchers aren't the only ones who've taken a hit.

MG's Restaurant manager, Chanel Stiggers, says they've had to beef up the price of their burgers.

"We've tried not to go up much but we still need to make ends meet where we can," said Stiggers.

Stiggers says even though burger prices have gone up almost a buck, that hasn't slowed business.

"People still come in, people still want their burgers, we are known for the best burgers," Stiggers said.

Wible says cattle ranchers have until the end of business day Friday to vote.

He says those who want to vote should go to their county agriculture extension office.

Those in Grayson County can head to the extension office at the Grayson County Courthouse.

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