U.S. sorghum producers and importers voting in a national referendum have approved the continuation of the Sorghum Promotion, Research, and Information Order, commonly known as the Sorghum Checkoff Program.

“We are pleased to announce that this Checkoff program will continue, and I am confident that this program will further its goal of strengthening the industry and expanding marketing opportunities for sorghum producers and importers,” said USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Rayne Pegg.

The referendum took place in February. Of the 1,204 valid ballots cast, 917 or 76.2 percent favored the program and 287 or 23.7 percent opposed continuing the program.

For the program to continue, it must have been approved by at least a majority of those eligible persons voting for approval who were engaged in the production and sale of sorghum during the period July 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2010.

The goal of the program is to strengthen the position of and to develop and expand the markets for sorghum and sorghum products.

The assessment for grain sorghum is 0.6 percent of net market value and 0.35 percent of net market value for sorghum forage, sorghum hay, sorghum haylage, sorghum billets and sorghum silage. Although limited, imports of sorghum and sorghum products are also assessed.

The United Sorghum Checkoff Board administers the program and is comprised of 13 sorghum producers, which includes representatives from the three largest sorghum producing states and four at large members.

For information on the Sorghum Checkoff Program, contact Kenneth R. Payne, Chief, Marketing Programs Branch, Livestock and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP-0251, Room 2628-S, Washington, D.C. 20250-0251; telephone (202) 720-1115; or e-mail at Kenneth.Payne@ams.usda.gov.

Get state by state sorghum referendum results.