COTTON PRODUCERS VOTE TO CONTINUE CHECKOFF PROGRAM
Cotton producers have voted overwhelmingly to continue a 20-year-old checkoff program that funds education, promotion and research of Alabama's largest row crop - cotton.
Preliminary results of the July 16 balloting, show that 94 percent of nearly 200 Alabama cotton producers who voted want the checkoff program to continue. The favorable vote allows the cotton checkoff program to continue for the next 10 years - the first year at the current assessment rate of 65-cent per bale. The referendum also gave authority to the Alabama Cotton Commission to change the assessment rate for the subsequent nine years. However, it cannot exceed $1 per bale during that time.
"The tremendous success of the referendum shows that producers realize the importance of the checkoff program," said Buddy Adamson, executive secretary of the Alabama Cotton Commission. "Producers see their checkoff dollars as an investment that develops new markets for cotton and helps to make it a more profitable business."
The cotton checkoff began in 1982. The assessment fees are collected by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries from gins throughout the state. That money is then sent to the Alabama Cotton Commission on a quarterly basis. Eleven producers who make up the commission decide how the money is allocated for education, research and promotion projects.
Alabama ranks 10th in the U.S. in cotton production with nearly 600,000 acres planted. The crop pumped an estimated $141.5 million into the state, according to the most recent statistics from the Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service.