Grain sorghum referendum deadline approaching |

Grain sorghum referendum deadline approaching

Richard Snell
Barton County Extension Agent

All grain sorghum producers and share rent landowners that have grain sorghum acres are encouraged to vote in the National Grain Sorghum Referendum. The vote is taking place throughout the month of February at you local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.

USDA requires the conduction of a referendum within three years of check-off assessments beginning and again in 2015. The Sorghum Check-off assessments began on July 1, 2008 and therefore the referendum must be conducted by July 2011.

The deadline to vote is February 28, 2011. All sorghum producers who have grown sorghum from July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010, can vote. One vote is allowed per entity. Some examples include:

• If a producer farms as three different entities, each entity may cast one vote.

• If four family members are joint tenants, only one person is entitled to cast a ballot.

• Only producers who have a full, legal power-of-attorney may vote on behalf of their landlords. A power-of attorney for FSA-only paperwork will not allow producers to vote on behalf of their landlords.

• If a producer farms as an individual and as part of an entity, he or she may vote as an individual and on behalf of that entity.

• Cash rent landlords may not vote, but the producer can.

• Share rent landlords and the producer may both vote.

• Flex crop lease landlords and the producer may both vote.

• Forage producers may vote with proper documentation.

A ballot may be obtained at any FSA office, online at, or by asking your FSA office to fax or mail you a ballot.

A proof of paid assessment must be returned together with the ballot to the FSA office. This receipt can be obtained at the elevator where the grain was sold. If an assessment was not paid due to harvested production not being assessed, such as drought or forage production, then a seed receipt should suffice. If there is no documentation, the ballot will be considered INVALID.

Your ballot must be returned to the local FSA office, along with supporting documentation, by mail, fax or in person by February 28, 2011.

Go to or call the National Check-off program office at 877-643-8727.

The current check-off is funded by a 0.6 percent assessment on the net market value of sorghum. That means that if a bushel of sorghum sells for $5, then 3 cents would be deducted for the check-off.

In its first two years of operation, the Sorghum Check-off has:

• Sponsored field plots displaying KSU/DuPont’s post-emergent grass and weed control technology and promoting best management practices.

• Worked to commercialize sorghum as a viable food product.

• Conducted more than $2.5 million in research projects which have found potential cold and drought tolerance traits.

• Funded studies to increase sorghum’s efficiency in ethanol production.

• Funded hybrid development projects to increase sorghum yields.

• Stimulated foreign purchase of thousands of tons of U.S. sorghum through trade missions in targeted countries.

A yes vote to affirm the USCP Sorghum Check-off program will allow these programs and others to continue in benefit to sorghum growers throughout the United States. A no vote would eliminate these efforts and take away the assessment.

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