The Nebraska Corn Board says Nebraska is the third largest corn producing state, yet has the lowest corn checkoff rate in the nation.
The Corn Board says their checkoff rate has stayed at one-quarter of a cent per bushel for the last 23 years. Chairman Alan Tiemann says they're watching LB 1057 closely this legislative session, hoping to increase that checkoff rate to one-half of a cent.
"As the third largest corn producing state we feel we need a lot more resources to do all the programs that we do in research, market development, education, and promotion," says Tiemann.
The Corn Board says increasing to one-half a cent could generate an additional $2.5 to 3 million over the next two years.
Tiemann says they work with national groups like the US Grains Council and US Meat Export Federation, and at the current rate they aren't able to contribute as much.
"These are cooperators that also need additional funding and as the lowest checkoff marketing rate in the US we need to bring our level of participation up in these organizations," he says.
Vice-Chairman Tim Scheer says producers will actually pay less this year even if the checkoff goes up. The Ethanol Production Incentive Program (EPIC) fund checkoff rate is slated to sunset this October, so Scheer says that the net difference between not paying for EPIC and paying a one-half cent corn checkoff would be less than producers pay now.
"There's less money taken out, but I think it's the most important thing to realize is that even though we're looking at increasing from a quarter to a half a cent we're looking at what we're doing to fund the research, the market development, and the education for our industry," says Scheer.
Scheer says that currently producers pay on average fifty cents an acre to the checkoff fund.
EPIC is not controlled by the Nebraska Corn Board. It's administered by the Nebraska Department of Revenue. It was used primarily to help get ethanol plants up and running.