The Indiana Corn Marketing Council would operate under a slightly revised set of rules if Senate Bill 1128 was passed by both houses. The legislation, form Representative Don Lehe, would make several changes in the existing law. Nearly all of the changes would be important to how the council does business. But would not have a direct effect on farmers paying money into the checkoff.
Bob Kraft, Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., policy specialist, recently reported on the changes that are proposed in the Senate bill. He also reiterated Farm Bureau's position that producer-funded commodity promotion programs are in everyone's best interest as long as those who don't want to participate have the right not to be involved. The current system allowed for that provision. New changes proposed to the legislation would not change that principle, the authors of the bill assure Kraft.
Instead, the bill deals with more technical matters, such as repealing the provision that requires the Council to give $500,000 of the money collected each year to the state for use to fund tax credits for retailers of E85 ethanol blend. There would also be another technical change in administrative matters. The way the 10% cap on administrative expenses allowed by the original bill is calculated would be adjusted. In the future, the Olympic system of disregarding high and low years to produce an average would be used to figure the cap. The averages are based on actual receipts after requested refunds for the past five years.
The same bill would also redefine the definition of a producer to more accurately reflect how farms operate today. It would also allow the Council to hold refunds of less than $35 for a single producer until the $25 total is reached. Another change would enable the Council's operating year to match the cropping season instead of the fiscal year.