Rod Boshart, CR Gazette –
Iowa corn producers will be asked in July to decide whether they want to increase a per-bushel checkoff that raises money for research, promotion, market development and education efforts.
Officials with the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board announced plans Wednesday to conduct a referendum on July 10 to increase the corn checkoff by one-fourth of a penny per bushel. The corn check off – established by producer referendum in 1977 — currently stands at three-fourths of a cent per bushel, so an affirmative vote would increase the check off to one cent per bushel.
Any producer who raised and marketed at least 250 bushels of corn from Sept. 1, 2010, to Aug. 31, 2011, who be eligible to vote at any county extension office in the crop reporting district where they live from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on July 10, according to checkoff organizers.
Growers who wish to vote by absentee ballot should contact the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship by calling 515-281-5321, by using the cornvote@IowaAgriculture.gov email address, or visiting the Henry Wallace Building at 502 East 9th Street in Des Moines to solicit an absentee ballot request form.
The form must be signed and returned to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The producer then will be mailed an absentee ballot. The request forms must be postmarked by June 27 and the absentee ballots must be postmarked by July 10 to be included in the overall tally.
Iowa law established the responsibility for holding corn checkoff referendum votes with the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. All costs that the department incurs in conducting the referendum are to be reimbursed by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.
The Iowa Corn Promotion Board — made up of farmers elected by their peers — invests checkoff dollars for research, education, promotion, and market development. The maximum checkoff allowed under Iowa code is one cent per bushel.
The corn checkoff – which was last increased in 2008 — is collected on corn that enters commercial channels, but not on grain designated for on-farm use. Producers are able to request a refund of their checkoff contributions and that will not be affected by the vote.
For more information on how checkoff dollars are used contact the Iowa Corn Promotion Board at 515-225-9242 or find out more online at www.IowaCorn.org.