Mary­land Grain Check­off Pro­gram faces ref­er­en­dum

Record Observer - - News - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­

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.

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