State lawmakers are considering raising the corn check-off rate to a half-cent per bushel. That’s the fee corn growers pay on the grain they raise.
Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board, says he’s hopeful LB-1057 will go to a vote this week. Hutchens says the check-off hasn’t been raised in 23 years.
“We’re the lowest corn check-off in the nation,” Hutchens says. “If our check-off bill passes, the increase would not go into effect until October 1st. That’s the same time the check-off on corn for ethanol goes off.”
Hutchens says he’s getting good feedback to the proposed increase from corn producers statewide.
“It’s about time we’ve realized there’s challenges with defending agriculture, the livestock industry and getting this ethanol industry moving forward,” Hutchens says. “The only calls or comments we’ve had have been very positive.”
He says dollars collected from the checkoff will continue to keep Nebraska competitive across the country and around the world.
Hutchens says most Nebraska producers understand the benefits of increasing the check-off from the present quarter-cent to a half-cent per bushel.
“There are four cornerstones to most check-off programs,” he says. “It’s market development, it’s research, it’s promotion and it’s education. While it’s very difficult for a farmer to do that individually, collectively, they have so much more power in developing markets for their commodities when they’re done collectively in a check-off program.”
By Dave Niedfeldt, KWBE, Beatrice