Horse Owners Prepare to Vote on Voluntary Checkoff Program

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upporters say the checkoff would cost the average horse owner in the state only about $1.80 per year, but it would raise as much as $400,000. The checkoff vote is allowed by legislation signed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich earlier this month.

Illinois Horsemen's Council President Frank Bowman says the checkoff is needed to replace research and promotional dollars slashed in recent budget cuts. He says the checkoff would be a nickel for every 50-pound bag of commercial horse feed purchased.

The referendum must be held by early October. There are an estimated 77,000 horse owners in Illinois.