A: Checkoff programs allow farmers to work together to support the promotion of the commodities they produce. Under a checkoff program, a portion of a farmer’s proceeds are collected when his or her grain or livestock is sold. The money is put into a common fund and is invested by an elected farmer board into programs to grow demand and increase farmer profitability.
Q: Why does Indiana need a corn checkoff program?
A: The corn checkoff program allows Indiana corn farmers to invest in programs that enhance markets and ultimately, the value of corn. Producer checkoff programs are an important tool in building new demand and managing issues that threaten the future of farming. In the past, corn checkoff funds across the U.S. have been used to conduct research that has led to the development of cornstarch plastics, improved ethanol, high-fructose corn syrup and many other products. In Indiana, corn checkoff funds are being invested in grain marketing, production research, environmental programs, ethanol and livestock promotion and new uses research.
Q: How does Indiana’s corn checkoff program work?
A: When a producer sells a load of corn in Indiana, the first purchaser automatically collects ½ cent per bushel for the checkoff program. Those dollars are sent to the ICMC to be used for projects that build corn demand. A producer who chooses to request a refund must complete a refund application, attach it to a settlement form showing the deduction, and mail it to the ICMC within 180 days of the transaction. If the refund request is greater than $25, the refund check will be mailed back within 30 days of receipt and verification of the completed refund application. The Indiana corn checkoff law stipulates that refunds of less than $25 must be held until March 31 for requests received before March 1; September 30 for requests received before September 1; or multiple refund requests totaling more than $25 are received.
Q: Who is responsible for investing the checkoff dollars?
A: The ICMC is responsible for overseeing the investment of corn checkoff funds. The ICMC board is composed of 15 elected corn farmers and two producers appointed to represent Indiana farm organizations. Additionally, the board includes eight nonvoting members representing first purchasers (2), the State Department of Agriculture (1), Purdue University (1) and the Indiana General Assembly (4).
Q: Are there any exemptions from the corn checkoff?
A: Yes, the corn checkoff does not apply to the purchase of sweet corn, seed corn or popcorn. Also, a buyer of corn who buys less than 100,000 bushels of corn annually for the buyer’s own use as feed is not defined as a first purchaser and is not required to collect the checkoff.
Q: What is done with the money collected?
A: The ICMC has a budget and plan of work that focuses on enhancing the value of corn for Indiana corn farmers. The ICMC has created a strategic plan with the overarching goal of improving the supply and demand environment for Indiana corn farmers. The strategic plan focuses on grain marketing, communications, production research, environmental programs, ethanol, livestock and new uses. These initiatives include:
- Allocating corn checkoff funds to help communicate the benefits of ethanol and encourage consumers to use more ethanol-blended fuels
- Offering cost-share dollars to fuel retailers to install flex fuel pumps as part of the Flex Fuel Pump Program
- Working with local communities to help them understand the value livestock farms bring
- Funding projects looking at expanding market opportunities overseas for meat, egg and dairy products
- Supporting on-farm research that helps corn farmers maximize their farms’ performance, including INfield Advantage and Purdue’s On-Farm Research program
- Investing in production research at Purdue University and other universities
- Ensuring there are markets and the infrastructure is in place to take advantage of opportunities
- Educating consumers and youth about how corn is raised today and who is raising it, including being an active member of Indiana’s Family of Farmers
- Funding teacher trainings in partnership with Indiana FFA and Purdue University
- Distributing educational materials, including the Barnyard Chronicles, to schools across the state
- Sponsoring a traveling exhibit through the Indiana State Museum titled “Amazing Maize,” which explores the impact corn has had throughout history
- For 2017 Annual Report click here.