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USDA now conducting referendum on program

Thursday, February 17, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- USDA's Farm Service Agency in Indiana Executive Director Julia A. Wickard recently announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is conducting a referendum on the continuation of the Sorghum Checkoff Program.

For the program to continue, the Sorghum Promotion, Research and Information order required that a referendum be conducted no later than three years after the start of assessments, which began July 1, 2008.

The order requires a simple majority vote in the referendum Feb. 1, 2011, at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices for producers and the Agricultural Marketing Service office, referenced below, for importers.

Ballots may be obtained in person, by mail or facsimile at county FSA offices, or via the Internet at www.ams.usda.gov/sorghumpage. The referendum will run through Feb. 28.

Any eligible person engaged in the production or importation of sorghum from July 1, 2008-Dec. 31, 2010, is eligible to participate. Individuals are required to provide documentation such as a sales receipt or remittance form that shows they engaged in the production or importation of sorghum.

"Indiana is home to about 15,000 acres of sorghum. Its importance in animal feed, exports and biofuels is especially recognized in the agricultural industry," Wickard said.

The Sorghum Checkoff Program and its 13-member board, is authorized by the Commodity Promotion Research and Information Act of 1996. The mandatory program is funded at the rate of 0.6 percent of the net market value on grain sorghum and 0.35 percent of the net market value of sorghum forage.

Sorghum Checkoff is a national, coordinated, self-help marketing program designed to strengthen the position of sorghum in the market place, maintain and expand existing domestic and foreign markets and uses for sorghum, and develop new markets and uses for sorghum.



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