Maryland Grain Checkoff Program faces referendum
CENTREVILLE — Every five years, the Maryland Grain Checkoff Program must be reaffirmed, according to state law. The program, which began in 1991, is in its sixth season. At the annual Maryland Commodity Classic in Centreville Thursday, July 28, at the Queen Anne’s 4-H Park, farmers were able to cast their vote in support of the checkoff program. Across the state, ballots were collected at county extension offices or submitted by mail.
According to Jennie Schmidt, president of the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, the program is critical to research, marketing and education that support the industry, “The mission [of MGPUB] is to increase the profitability of Maryland grain production and to improve public understanding of agriculture using checkoff funds to support promotion, education and research.”
Farmers contribute checkoff dollars to the checkoff program fund and in return they receive the critical research and promotion such as expanded grain markets, enhanced crop genetics and new uses for grain products.
According to statistics from MGPUB, national corn production in 1991 (when the program began) was 7.7 billion bushels; in 2015, American corn farmers grew 13.6 billion bushels or corn. Reports indicate that 6 billion of those bushels were sold for expanded industrial use, primarily ethanol. The Maryland Grain Producers Board attributes the increased salability and expanded industrial use to checkoff programs like Maryland’s across the country.
Voting “yes” to support the Maryland Grain Checkoff Program.
Grain Checkoff Referendum held July 29, 2016 encourages Maryland farmers and voters to vote “yes” to continue the Checkoff Program.