April 4, 2012

Legislature approves increase in Nebraska corn checkoff rate

The Nebraska Legislature today approved LB 1057, a bill that allows an increase in the state's corn checkoff rate from a quarter-cent ($0.0025) to a half-cent ($0.005) per bushel beginning Oct. 1 of this year.

The bill passed with 44 votes and now goes to Governor Dave Heineman. (To view the legislation file, click here.)

Increasing the checkoff was a top priority of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association this year, as noted by NeCGA president Carl Sousek, a farmer from Prague, in January. (Also listed to this podcast by Brandon Hunnicutt and this podcast from Sousek.)

In January, Sousek noted: "We do have the lowest checkoff rate in the country. We don’t want to fall behind when it comes to our responsibilities on a national level, and we don’t want to fall behind on our responsibilities right here within the state. We want to make sure we support our local investments in research and education and market development right here in the state—and that takes resources."

The Nebraska Corn Board, which oversees the corn checkoff, developed a business plan saying how it would utilize funds derived from the checkoff increase. You can download the business plan here (.pdf).

Here are some ways the Nebraska Corn Board said it will utilize additional resources stemming from an increase in the checkoff:
  • Research: Food, biofuels and water research are top of the list to create efficiencies and stay sustainable—and discover new value-added uses for an ever-increasing corn crop. Potential partnerships and collaboration with Innovation Campus at UNL are a top priority.
  • Livestock Production: Find increased efficiencies in livestock production through the feeding of distillers grains, a feed produced by ethanol plants. Also support the sustainability and growth of responsible livestock production in the state.
  • Consumer Outreach and Communication: Through educating consumers on how farmers are growing more corn on less land with fewer resources.
  • Expanding and Defending Markets: Promote and defend markets both domestically and internationally for ethanol, livestock and other value added products produced in Nebraska.
  • Youth and Leadership Development: Developing opportunities for the next generation of agriculture leaders through jobs and rural economic development.

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