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.
Corn Checkoff FAQs
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When is the corn checkoff assessed?
All corn sold through commercial channels in Nebraska or delivered into Nebraska is to be checked off. The checkoff is assessed at the time of sale or at the time of delivery for out-of-state delivered corn in which no sales transaction occurs. For corn going under a Farm Service Agency (FSA), Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) loan, the assessment is made at the time of the loan.
How much is the corn checkoff?
The current corn checkoff is 1/2 cent per bushel.
Can a producer get a corn checkoff refund?
In general, there is no refund provision for the corn checkoff.
If corn is pledged as collateral for a CCC loan through the FSA, producers are eligible for a refund if the corn is redeemed and then fed by the producer to his or her livestock.
To receive a checkoff refund for loan grain that is redeemed to be fed to that producer’s livestock, the producer must send a copy of his/her farm storage note and security agreement (Form CCC 677) and all loan repayment receipts (Form CCC 500) to the Fee Collection Program in care of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 94668, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509. A refund request can be made at any time after repayment or up to 30 days after the life of the loan.
Is corn grown by the producer and fed to the producer’s livestock subject to the checkoff?
Corn grown by a producer and then fed to the producer’s livestock is not subject to the checkoff.
How does the producer receive corrective action if a double assessment happens on corn?
Generally, the only time this type of situation could happen would be if the producer had the grain under a CCC loan and the loan was redeemed and the grain then marketed into commercial channels.
It is important that, if the producer redeems the corn and then sells it, the CCC repayment sheets (showing the payment of the checkoff) be used as proof to prevent the checkoff from being assessed a second time. In situations when an assessment is taken a second time, it is the producer’s responsibility to contact the purchaser of the redeemed loan corn and ask for a refund after providing the necessary proof of assessment. Refunds can only be requested from the entity that purchased the grain. FSA offices are not responsible to make any refunds. If the grain was checked off twice, an individual has one year from the point in time a double assessment occurred to request a refund. Any questions relative to this can be made to the Fee Collection Program.
Who can the producer contact with questions relative to collecting the checkoff or obtaining refunds or double collections?
The Fee Collection Program, administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, in cooperation through contractual arrangements with the various commodity groups, administers a joint fee collection program for all of the agriculture checkoff programs authorized by statute. Please write or call the Fee Collection Program, P.O. Box 94947, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4947, phone (toll free) 888-766-3603.