The Presidential election’s still over a month away, but several thousand farmers spent the last three days voting on another issue important to their future. Pork producers across the country cast ballots to determine if the mandatory pork “check-off” continues. The check-off is a 45-cent fee paid on every one hundred dollars worth of pork sold. It generated 42-million dollars last year for pork promotion. Opponents say the money’s been used more for the support of large-scale operations than small, family farmers. Bob Muenchrath of the Iowa Farm Service Agency says the Iowa votes will be tallied November 29th.Muenchrath says any producer who sold at least one pig between August 18, 1999 and August 17, 2000 is eligible to vote. A voter’s eligibility can be challenged. Barb Detterman of Early, Iowa — the president-elect of the National Pork Producers — spoke to Radio Iowa Thursday from the cab of a combine in the midst of harvesting corn. She favors the check-off — but wasn’t ready to make a prediction on the outcome of the vote. Detterman says the eligibility challenges could be important to the outcome.The final national vote tally won’t be known until December. There are approximately 100-thousand pork producers nationwide — with 16-thousand of those in Iowa.
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