USDA will conduct a request for referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Program (soybean checkoff) during a four-week period beginning May 4, 2009 and continuing through May 29, 2009. This referendum is authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act.
The request for referendum will determine whether U.S. soybean producers want a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Program. The Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act requires that the Secretary of Agriculture provide soybean producers the opportunity to petition for a referendum every five years.
Soybean producers eligible to participate in the request for referendum are defined as any producer who paid an assessment on the sale of soybeans during the period beginning Jan. 1, 2007 through Dec. 31, 2008, and who owned or shared in the ownership and the risk of loss of such soybeans during this period of time. Eligible individuals who do not want a referendum need not take any action.
Producers can obtain a LS-51-1 form to request a referendum either in person, by mail or by fax from May 4, 2009, through May 29, 2009, from their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices or online at http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsmarketingprograms. Individual producers and other producer entities can request a referendum at the county FSA office that maintains and processes the producer's administrative farm records. A producer not participating in FSA programs may request a referendum at the county FSA office serving the area where the producer owns or rents land.
Request for Referendum forms returned by mail must be postmarked by midnight May 29, 2009, and received in the county FSA office by close of business on June 5, 2009. Producers also need to attach documentation such as a sales receipt to this form showing that the producer, corporation or other entity paid assessments on soybeans during the period from Jan. 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2008. FSA will determine a producer's eligibility and notify all producers who are ineligible to participate in the request for referendum process.
If the USDA determines that at least 10% of the nation's 589,182 soybean producers have requested a referendum, a referendum will then be held within one year from that determination. No more than one-fifth of the producers who support having a referendum can be from any one state. Federal law requires that soybean checkoff dollars must be used to conduct the request for referendum process, and, if desired, a referendum. The procedures for the request for referendum are published online in the March 4, 2009, Federal Register.
For more information on the request for referendum procedures, visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsmarketingprograms or contact Kenneth R. Payne, Chief, Marketing Programs Branch, Livestock and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, STOP 0251, Room 2628-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0251; tel. (202) 720-1115, e-mail Kenneth.Payne@usda.gov, or fax 202/720-1125.