ST. LOUIS, MO
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a request for referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Program (soy checkoff) during a four-week period, which started May 5 and will run through May 30. This referendum is authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act.
The request for referendum will determine whether U.S. soybean producers want a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Program. The Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act requires that the secretary of agriculture provide soybean producers the opportunity to petition for a referendum every five years.
To be eligible to participate, producers must certify they or the entity they are authorized to represent paid an assessment at some time between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2013. Documentation for that assessment, such as sales receipts showing that the checkoff was collected, will be required up front when submitting the request form.
Eligible individuals who do not want a referendum need not take any action.
The process requires eligible producers who want to indicate their support for a referendum to complete and sign form LS-51-1. Producers may obtain this form online, in person at their nearest Farm Service Agency (FSA) office, by mail or by facsimile until May 30.
FSA is then responsible for determining a producer's eligibility. If FSA cannot determine the producer's eligibility or if the producer fails to submit documentation, then FSA will notify the ineligible person in writing.
Producers who do not participate in FSA programs may obtain a Form LS-51-1 at the county FSA office where the producer owns or rents land. This form may also be obtained via the Internet at http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/SoybeanInformationontheSoybeanRequestforReferendum.
FSA will have until June 11,, to notify ineligible producers in writing. If FSA determines in writing that producer ineligibility is due to lack of documentation submitted (sales receipts or other relevant documents), the producer can appeal and provide the required documentation to FSA. The required documentation must be received by FSA by June 18, when FSA will make a final decision on eligibility.
If the USDA determines that at least 10 percent of the nation's 569,998 soybean producers have requested a referendum, a referendum will then be held within one year from that determination. No more than one-fifth of the producers who support having a referendum can be from any one state.
For more information on the request-for-referendum procedures, visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/SoybeanInformationontheSoybeanRequestforReferendum or contact James Brow, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, Research and Promotion Division, Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, STOP 0251, Room 2610-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0251; tel. (202) 720-0633, e-mail James.Brow@ams.usda.gov; or fax (202) 720-1125.
The 70 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy's customers.
As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.