What is the checkoff?
In 1978, the Corn Resources Act was passed by the Nebraska Legislature, establishing the corn checkoff in Nebraska. The effort was led by Nebraska corn producers themselves – most notably members of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.
The Nebraska corn checkoff rate, originally set at 1/10 of a cent per bushel ($0.001/bu.), has been 1/4 of a cent per bushel ($0.0025) since 1988 and was the lowest among all major corn-producing states. (Nebraska is the third-largest corn producing state in the country.) On April 10, 2012, LB1057 was signed into law changing the checkoff rate to 1/2 of a cent per bushel ($0.005/bu.). This went into effect on October 1, 2012 and Nebraska is now tied with four other states for having the lowest checkoff rate.
In January 2012, the Board produced Transforming Nebraska’s Gold, a business plan that goes into detail on the Board’s efforts, the statewide economic impact of corn and agriculture and reasoning behind increasing the checkoff rate.
The corn checkoff is collected at the time corn is first sold to a buyer. “First purchasers” include grain elevators, cooperatives, ethanol plants and livestock producers. The first purchaser is responsible for remitting the checkoff. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture provides information on paying the checkoff.
The Nebraska Corn Checkoff allows farmers to develop, carry out and participate in programs of research, education, market development and promotion to enhance profitability (viability) and expand the demand and value of Nebraska corn and value-added corn products. The legislation gives the Nebraska Corn Board the ability to lobby at the national level on issues of importance to Nebraska corn farmers, but prohibits the Board from lobbying on local issues within Nebraska.