The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it will offer soybean producers the opportunity to request a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order, as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act (Act).
The act requires the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a Request for Referendum every 5 years after the initial referendum, which was conducted in 1994. The last Request for Referendum was conducted in 2004. Soybean producers who are interested in having a referendum to determine whether to continue the soybean checkoff program are invited to participate.
The Request for Referendum will be conducted at USDA’s county Farm Service Agency offices. To be eligible to participate, producers must certify and provide documentation that shows that they produced soybeans and paid an assessment on the soybeans during the period of Jan. 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2008.
Beginning May 4, 2009, and continuing through May 29, 2009, producers may obtain a form by mail, fax, or in person from the Farm Service Agency county offices. Forms may also be obtained via the internet at http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsmarketingprograms during the same time period. Individual producers and other producer entities may request a referendum at the county FSA office where their administrative farm records are maintained. For the producer not participating in FSA programs, the opportunity to request a referendum will be provided at the county FSA office where the producer owns or rents land. Completed forms and supporting documentation must be returned to the appropriate county FSA office by fax or in person no later than close of business May 29, 2009; or if returned by mail, must be postmarked by midnight May 29, 2009, and received in the county FSA office by close of business on June 5, 2009.
USDA will conduct a referendum if at least 10 percent of the nation’s 589,182 soybean producers support a referendum. Not more than one-fifth of the producers who support having a referendum can be from any one state.
The soybean checkoff program is administered by a 68-member producer board and is designed to expand uses of soybeans and soybean products in domestic and foreign markets. The national program is financed by a mandatory assessment of one-half of 1 percent of the net market price of soybeans.
Notice of the Request for Referendum will be published in the March 4, 2009, Federal Register. For more information, contact the Marketing Programs Branch; Livestock and Seed Program, AMS, USDA; STOP 0251 - Room 2628-S; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW; Washington, D.C. 20250-0251; tel. (202) 720-1115; or via the Internet at ww.ams.usda.gov/lsmarketingprograms. Ballots will be accepted at the Winona County Farm Service Agency Office located in Lewiston, MN. Please contact 507-523-2173 ext 2 for more information.