Producers and importers who want to vote on whether the Cotton Research and Promotion Program should be continued may request a referendum on the cotton checkoff program this fall.

USDA has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that lists the procedures for an upcoming sign-up period for a continuance referendum.

The projected dates for the sign-up period are Sept. 4 through Nov. 30, 2007.

In March, USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service completed a comprehensive mandatory five-year review that concluded it was not necessary to conduct a referendum on continuation of the 1991 amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion Act.

The act requires such a decision be followed with an opportunity for eligible producers and importers to request a referendum. To initiate a referendum, at least 10 percent of the number of those who voted in the last referendum would have to request a referendum. No more than 20 percent of all requests can come from one state or from importers.

Producers desiring a referendum can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency offices. Additionally, FSA will mail sign-up information to all eligible importers.

For more information about the procedures of the sign-up period, contact Shethir Riva, chief, research and promotion Staff, Cotton Program, AMS, USDA via email — Shethir.Riva@usda.gov.

The Cotton Research and Promotion Act established the Cotton Board as a quasi-governmental, non-profit entity to serve as the administrator of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. Funded by America’s cotton producers and importers through the cotton checkoff, the program’s research and promotion activities are conducted worldwide by Cotton Incorporated, the Cotton Board’s sole-source contracting organization, to increase the demand for and improve the market position of cotton.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Cotton Research and Promotion Program continues to work in all areas of cotton’s pipeline — from the field to the consumer — to keep cotton the number one fiber choice in the United States. For more information about the Cotton Board, visit http://www.cottonboard.org.