Posted March 18, 2002
The North Carolina Horse Council is urging residents of North Carolina to pass the Horse Promotion Assessment Referendum on March 19, 2002. Any resident of the state, aged nine years or older, who owns or leases an equine can vote at their county extension office. Voters must sign a certificate of eligibility and be willing to provide proof if asked.

If the referendum passes, it will be in effect for three years and 5¢ per bag or $2 per ton will be sent by each feed manufacturer to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. The department will then send the money to the North Carolina Horse Council.

The NCHC has been a chartered non-profit organization for the promotion and welfare of the horse since 1972. Recognized by governors Jim Martin and James B. Hunt and former commissioner of agriculture Jim Graham and endorsed by current Agricultural Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps, the council represents over 35 member horse organizations as well as many businesses and individuals in the state of North Carolina. Membership and meetings are open to the public.

When the first referendum passed three years ago, the NCHC set forth goals stating what the funding would do for the equine community. Work that includes funding for 4-H programs, REINS adult education programs funded by grants for the NCHC, organization of the NCHC annual Trails Conference and trails advocacy, equine grants to SART, large animal rescue training, extension horse husbandry and work on river basins regulations that affect horse owners. Representation of horse welfare issues in the legislature, marketing programs to promote horse ownership, promotion of fair and firm enforcement of laws pertaining to horse and tack theft rings and promotion of humane treatment of horses, increased awareness of communicable equine diseases are also part of the work done by the NCHC in the first assessment referendum.

The first assessment referendum also allowed the NCHC to establish a permanent office in Raleigh, N.C., in January of 2000, staffed with paid staff. Having a permanent, staffed office has allowed the NCHC to improve communication by computerizing the membership database, publishing a newsletter six times each year, maintaining a web site, advertising in equine publications, surveying members for input, printing press releases, and holding the Agribusiness dinner and reception to facilitate networking between equine business.

The estimated average cost per horse per year for the assessment referendum, which is voluntary and refundable, is $1.80. Those choosing not to participate in the assessment program should save feed receipts and send them to the NCHC office for a full refund of the assessment amount.

For more information contact Cindy Wadford at 919-821-1030 or 800-529-9206, email to or write to NCHC, PO Box 12999, Raleigh, NC 27605-2999. Information is also available from your county extension agent.