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USDA says no referendum on cotton checkoff

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service announced that a referendum on the cotton checkoff will not be required based on the number of grower and importer requests received from June 3 through Aug. 30 of this year.

AMS said that 1,550 U.S. cotton growers and importers requested a referendum — far less than the 4,622 requests that would have been needed to trigger a continuance referendum for the 1991 amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion Order.

The Cotton Research and Promotion Act says that USDA must conduct a referendum if 10 percent of the total number of cotton producers or importers who voted in the most recent continuance referendum — which was held in 1991 — submitted requests for a new referendum.

“Given our industry's current economic conditions and the challenges to other commodity programs, the results of this sign-up period demonstrate our industry's support for this program,” states Kenneth Hood, a cotton producer and ginner from Perthshire, Miss., and chairman of the National Cotton Council.

Recent court rulings have either struck down or affirmed other producer-funded marketing and research programs. In the last week in October, a federal judge in Michigan ruled the pork checkoff unconstitutional while another judge in Montana said the beef checkoff was constitutional.

“We are pleased with the results of the sign-up period and are ready to continue working with Cotton Incorporated to advance cotton's world market position,” said John E. Pucheu Jr., California cotton producer and chairman of the Cotton Board.

The Cotton Board administers the CR&P program and oversees Cotton Incorporated activities for America's cotton growers and importers.

e-mail: [email protected].

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