RALEIGH – The North Carolina Horse Council announced plans for holding an equine industry referendum to extend the Horse Industry Promotion Assessment which was first authorized in 1999. The referendum will be conducted in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties on Wednesday.
Polling places will be set up in each county Cooperative Extension office. Horse owners will be able to vote on whether or not to extend, for 10 years, a $4 per ton assessment being paid by manufacturers of horse feed sold in North Carolina.
“The feed assessment has provided essential funding to the North Carolina Horse Council to meet a wide variety of needs throughout the horse industry,” said Tom Thomas, president of the North Carolina Horse Council. “The economic impact of the horse industry is estimated to be over $1.2 billion annually, so it plays a huge role in supporting the NC economy. Employment of more than 10,000 people in North Carolina are directly or indirectly linked to the industry. This small self-assessment is just one way we can expand our services to horse owners and maximize the economic benefits of horse ownership.”
“I am very excited about the wide range of horse activities which have been started and expanded during the past years of the promotion assessment funding,” Sue Gray, executive director said. “As never before, we have been able to financially support programs which assist horse owners across the state. We now have effective programs in place to assist with equine education, disaster, animal welfare, environmental regulation, equine disease and liability issues. The NC Horse Council has made access and protection of trails a priority supported by the employment of a trails specialist. This funding has truly advanced the North Carolina horse industry. I hope our horse owners will vote on March 08 and I hope they will vote YES.”
The Bladen County polling place will be Bladen County Cooperative Extenision Office located at 450 Smith Circle from 8:30am – 5:00 pm. Any horse owner/leassor, over the age of nine, can vote. There will also be an absentee balloting system put in place for owners who are not able to get to the Extension Offices on March 08, 2014. If you need an absentee ballot, please call the Bladen Extension Office at 910-862-4591.
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