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Cotton, corn, and soybean checkoff programs not only help to support research and promotion efforts at the national and international levels, they also return money to the states to fund projects specific to their producers’ needs. Representatives of three producer-supported organizations in Mississippi outlined at the annual conference of the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association how checkoff funds are used in their state.
Corn Promotion Board
Mississippi’s Corn Promotion Board was established and began collecting funds in 2006, assessing 1 cent per bushel at the point of sale.
“We’re a relatively new checkoff program,” says Rob Coker, Yazoo City, chairman of the organization, “but the funds that come to the state enable us to finance meaningful research and promotion programs.”
In 2010, he notes, the state had 750,000 acres of corn, but with weather problems, only 670,000 acres were harvested, with an average yield of 136 bushels — down from 145 bushels the previous year.
“With checkoff money, we were able to fund 22 different research programs last year, totaling more than $700,000,” he said.
One of the key research programs centers on verification trials, Coker notes. “We want to take information gained through research and see how they work in real world situations.”
Research funded by checkoff money includes four fertility projects, four entomology projects, three weed control projects, irrigation and storage projects, and seven projects related to various aspects of aflatoxin — which he says represents “the No. 1 danger to our state’s corn crop.”
The organization is also working with the Southern Corn Coalition to seek federal matching funds for a coordinated effort to find solutions for aflatoxin and has supported efforts get a Centers of Excellence facility for aflatoxin research in Mississippi.
Other support by the promotion board, Coker says, includes corn hybrid trials, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s image of agriculture campaign, and the Delta Council.