The Illinois Department of Agriculture has set March 28, 2012, as the date for a referendum that proposes to increase the current voluntary corn checkoff rate by 1/4 cent per bushel.
The referendum was scheduled at the request of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, which met following a Feb. 21 public hearing on the proposal and decided to put the issue to a vote. Whenever such a ballot proposition is approved, the Illinois Corn Marketing Act stipulates that a referendum must be held within 90 days.
The referendum would increase the current 3/8 cent voluntary checkoff rate to 5/8 of a cent per bushel. Corn farmers would continue to have a right to a full refund.
Illinois producers “actively engaged” in the production and marketing of corn are eligible to cast a ballot. They can vote in person at their local Extension office or, perhaps, some county Farm Service Agency offices during normal business hours on the referendum date.
Eligible voters who reside outside the state or who cannot be physically present at the polls March 28 may cast an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots must be requested in writing from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Requests should be sent to: Director, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Attn: Bureau of Marketing and Promotion, State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, IL, 62794-9281.
The Illinois Corn Marketing Board, a volunteer board of corn farmers elected by their peers, administers the checkoff fund. The Board invests in market development, research, education and promotion programs designed to enhance the profitability of Illinois corn farmers