FARMERS VOTE TO CONTINUE WHEAT & FEED GRAINS CHECKOFF
MONTGOMERY, Ala., -- Alabama farmers recently voted to continue a checkoff program that finances research, education and promotion activities aimed at furthering the development of the state's wheat and feed grains industry.
In the Oct. 2 balloting, farmers voted to continue the program for another five years at the current rate of 1 cent per bushel on corn, wheat, grain sorghum and oats sold in Alabama. An overwhelming majority of farmers who voted on the referendum (98 percent) cast ballots in favor of continuation of the program.
Buddy Darwin, chairman of the Alabama Wheat & Feed Grains Producers, said over the years the checkoff has funded variety tests as well as research on insect and disease control, conservation tillage practices and precision agriculture.
"I'm pleased that we received a positive vote to continue the program," Darwin said. "Through checkoff-funded research, we have been able to increase our yields. Now, we are focusing on ways to add value to what we are growing. With our profit margins getting thinner, the checkoff is more important than ever."
The checkoff program is voluntary. Funds are collected from producers by grain buyers and remitted to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, which turns over the funds quarterly to the Alabama Wheat & Feed Grains Producers, a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation.
A producer committee representing Alabama wheat and feed grains producer members across the state determines how the funds are distributed. Producers who produced feed grains in 2000 or planted for harvest in 2001 were eligible to vote on the referendum. State law requires a statewide producer referendum to be held every five years to decide whether the program should be continued.