The USDA will conduct a request for referendum on the Soy Checkoff during a four-week period, from May 5 through May 30, 2014. It's a national referendum, so farmers in Indiana can participate along with farmers in other states.
The request for referendum will determine whether U.S. soybean producers want a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Program. The Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act requires that the secretary of agriculture provide soybean producers the opportunity to petition for a referendum every five years.
To be eligible to participate, producers must certify they or the entity they are authorized to represent paid an assessment at some time between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2013. Documentation for that assessment, such as sales receipts showing that the checkoff was collected, will be required up front when submitting the request form.
Note that you don't have to be a member of the Indiana Soybean Alliance to participate. Anyone who has paid into the checkoff can request a form to ask for a referendum. Eligible individuals who do not want a referendum need not take any action.
The process requires eligible producers who want to indicate their support for a referendum to complete and sign form LS-51-1. Producers may obtain this form online, in person at their nearest Farm Service Agency office, by mail or by fax.
FSA is then responsible for determining a producer's eligibility. If FSA cannot determine the producer's eligibility or if the producer fails to submit documentation, then FSA will notify the ineligible person in writing. Producers who do not participate in FSA programs may obtain a Form LS-51-1 at the county FSA office where the producer owns or rents land.
If the USDA determines that at least 10% of the nation's 569,998 soybean producers have requested a referendum, a referendum will then be held within one year from that determination. No more than one-fifth of the producers who support having a referendum can be from any one state.
Indiana has been slow to adopt checkoffs historically. The soybean checkoff went into effect in Indiana years ago because it was passed at the National level. Offering the right to call for a referendum every five years was part of the language in the federal law that passed.
Indiana does also have a corn checkoff, but it is state only. There is no national corn checkoff. The Indiana corn checkoff is managed by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council.
For more information visit the USDA website.