An overwhelming number of Iowa corn farmers have voted to increase the “check-off” for corn. 

For every bushel of corn sold in Iowa, farmers have been paying three-quarters of a cent into a fund that’s managed by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. It’s called a check-off. The money’s used to finance research, promote the corn industry and find new markets for Iowa corn.

The corn “check-off” will go up to a full penny per bushel on September 1. Iowa farmers voted in a referendum on July 10 and state officials who certified the results say nearly 74 percent of the corn farmers who voted favored the check-off increase. 

Iowa farmers voted to establish the check-off in 1977, but it was just one-tenth of a cent per bushel back then. Farmers have voted three other times over the past three decades to raise the per bushel check-off. In addition to promoting corn-based ethanol fuel, one of the check-off campaign’s original aims was to promote the use of high-fructose corn syrup, which is cheaper than traditional sugar. In 1984, both Coke and Pepsi switched from using sugar to using corn syrup in their sodas.