Illinois corn growers will vote March 29 on whether to increase the corn checkoff rate.
Illinois Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke scheduled the corn checkoff referendum at the request of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, which met following a Feb. 16 public hearing and decided to put the issue to a vote. The Illinois Corn Marketing Act stipulates that the referendum must be held within 90 days.
The referendum would increase the current 1/4 cent voluntary checkoff rate to 3/8 of a cent per bushel. Growers would continue to have a right to a full refund.
Illinois producers "actively engaged" in the production and marketing of corn are eligible to cast a ballot. They can vote in person at their local Extension office during normal business hours on the referendum date.
Eligible voters who reside outside the state or who can't be physically present at the polls on March 29 may cast an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots must be requested in writing from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Requests should be sent to: Director, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Attn: Bureau of Marketing and Promotion, State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, IL, 62794-9281.
The Illinois Corn Marketing Board, which is made up of a board of corn producers elected by their peers, administers the checkoff fund. The board invests it in market development, research, education and promotion programs designed to enhance the profitability of Illinois corn growers.