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Published July 21, 2014, 10:28 AM

Few in favor of soybean tax vote

It would have taken nearly 57,000 valid petitions to trigger a referendum vote on whether to keep the federal soybean check-off in place, but only 324 valid forms came in, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture official.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

It would have taken nearly 57,000 valid petitions to trigger a referendum vote on whether to keep the federal soybean check-off in place, but only 324 valid forms came in, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture official.

James Brow, with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service in Washington, D.C., on July 10 announced results of the “request for referendum” period, May 5 to 30.

The Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, enacted in 1991, requires the secretary of agriculture to conduct a request for referendum every five years.

Brow oversees soybean and lamb check-offs for the AMS’s Research and Promotion Division, Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program. He tells Agweek USDA’s Farm Service Agency says there are 569,998 farmers nationally who marketed soybeans and paid the check-off for research and promotion in 2012 or 2013, making them eligible to turn in a referendum request form. If 10 percent had asked for a referendum, one would have been launched within a year.

Only 3 in ND

Iowa topped the list with 56 forms turned in, followed by Indiana at 48, Illinois at 43, Minnesota at 25, and South Dakota, 17. North Dakota had three requests and Montana had zero.

Jim Call of Madison, Minn., chairman of the United Soybean Board, says the results show “U.S. soybean farmers overwhelmingly see the value in our soy check-off” and it’s “more important than ever that the volunteer farmer-leaders of USB continue to invest soy check-off funds to maximize the profit potential for all U.S. soybean farmers.”

The AMS oversees the mandatory assessment check-off of one-half of 1 percent of the net marketing price of soybeans, which is collected at the first point of sale — most often a grain elevator. Half of the amount remains in the state where it is collected and half goes to the USB.

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