Nebraska corn growers seek checkoff changes

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) and Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) will seek changes to both the structure and current rate of the state’s corn checkoff.

At their annual meeting in Kearney, NeCGA delegates said they want the Nebraska corn checkoff board—which is officially considered a state agency—to be more autonomous—less regulated by state government. 

NCB vice chairman Tim Scheer of St. Paul says the board would welcome the opportunity to move outside of the state bureaucracy, “to reflect more of a quasi-state agency, rather than a code state agency—it would allow us to more efficiently administer the program.”

AUDIO: Tim Scheer (8:50 MP3)

The president of NeCGA—Carl Sousek of Prague—says his group will also be more aggressive in pursuing an increase in the corn checkoff rate, which has been one-quarter of one cent per bushel since 1988.

Sousek says they’d like to see it increased to four-tenths—or even one-half—of one cent per bushel.

“We do have the lowest checkoff rate in the country.  We don’t want to fall behind when it comes to our responsibilities on a national level,” Sousek says, “and we don’t want to fall behind on our responsibilities right here within the state—we want to make sure we support our local investments in research and education and market development right here in the state—and that takes resources.”

“We believe there are a lot of opportunities and a lot of places we can invest additional funds.”

Sousek says NeCGA is hoping to get a bill introduced into this year’s legislative session to make those changes to the Nebraska corn checkoff.

AUDIO: Carl Sousek (4:48 MP3)


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