The U.S. Department of Agriculture has finalized procedures for the upcoming referendum on the continuation of the Sorghum Checkoff Program and is announcing the dates it will conduct the referendum.
For the program to continue, the Sorghum Promotion, Research, and Information order requires that a referendum be conducted no later than 3 years after the start of assessments, which began on July 1, 2008. The order requires a simple majority vote in the referendum for the program to continue.
USDA will conduct the referendum Feb. 1-28, 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.
Any eligible person engaged in the production of importation of sorghum from July 1, 2008, to December 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.
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.
The final procedures were published in the Nov. 18, 2010, Federal Register. The notice announcing the dates of the referendum were published in the Jan. 4, 2011, Federal Register.
For more information, contact Kenneth R. Payne, Chief, Marketing Programs, Livestock and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, Room 2628-S, STOP 0251, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0251; by calling (202) 720-1115; or faxing (202) 720-1125.
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