The Iowa Department of Agriculture and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board have announced plans to conduct a referendum on July 10th to ask producers to increase the corn checkoff by one-quarter cent so the amount paid on each bushel of corn would be one cent. Kevin Rempp of Montezuma is on the promotion board and says the extra money would help them expand their efforts.
“We’re seeing a gap in what funding on projects we could be using. We’re staying within budget…because we cannot spend more than we take in — but we’re seeing projects out there that we cannot fund under the current budget,” Rempp explains.
He says the board has a history of making investments with the checkoff money that have helped producers. “Way back years ago, this whole ethanol thing started with a promotion board looking for something, so just that has been just a tremendous boost for the corn industry. Just a lot of different things, the farmer image…we just continue looking for research projects,” Rempp says.
Corn prices have been strong and Rempp says adding a quarter cent to the checkoff could have a big impact for little additional cost.
Rempp says, “We would hope the producer would look at it that way, I mean, in comparison to soybeans, we’re still up probably half the rate per acre than on your soybean checkoff.” Rempp says the voting will be open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on July 10th.
“Any corn producer that has raised or marketed 250 bushels of corn in the previous year, so an individual, a firm, a corporation, partnership, that has marketed in 2001 at least 250 bushels of corn is eligible to vote,” Rempp says. Growers who wish to vote by absentee ballot may do so by contacting the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Absentee ballot requests must be postmarked by June 27, 2012 and absentee ballots must be postmarked by July 10, 2012. The corn checkoff was first introduced in 1977 and was last increased in 2008. One cent is the maximum amount of checkoff allowed by state law.
For more information on the checkoff, go on-line to: www.IowaCorn.org.