Georgia corn producers have re-affirmed the Georgia Commodity Commission for Corn in a mail ballot held during March. About 74 percent, or 391 of the eligible producers who participated in the referendum voted in favor of continuing the commission. Only 137 producers voted against the commission.

Producers growing corn for grain commercially sold within and outside the state pay a one-cent per bushel assessment collected when the corn is sold.

First handlers are responsible for deducting the checkoff and remitting it to the commission on behalf of the producer. Producers growing sweet or fresh corn, silage corn or corn for on-farm use are exempt from the checkoff program.

The commission supervises programs for corn research, education and promotion. For the marketing order to pass, 66 2/3 percent of those voting must approve the measure. The marketing order must be reapproved every year.

Georgia's corn growers produced about 27.1 million bushels of corn in 2001. Growers have stated intentions of planting about 330,000 acres of corn this year — a 25 percent increase over 2001.

Checkoff funds administered by the Georgia Corn Commission are used primarily for research, says Donald Chase, chairman of the commission. “For the past two to three years, we've been concentrating primarily on long-term issues for Georgia corn growers, such as aflatoxin contamination and developing and testing corn hybrids adapted to Georgia conditions,” says Chase.

The commission also funds educational projects in individual counties, he says, in addition to the annual Georgia Corn Short Course.

The following corn research proposals have been approved for 2002-2003:

  • Developing and testing corn hybrids adapted to Georgia which have a reduced susceptibility to aflatoxin: $13,000.

  • Using cultural practices, stacked-gene hybrids and spot insecticide application for insect management in strip-tillage systems: $7,000.

  • Soil quality and nutrient and water dynamics in high-residue conservation-tillage systems for corn: $10,000.

  • Genetic study of the resistance to Aspergillus flavus and aflatoxin production in the population GT-MAS: gk and development of aflatoxin-resistant corn lines adapted to southern Georgia: $10,000.

  • Sustainable dryland corn production: development of drought-tolerant corn to manage preharvest aflatoxin contamination in Georgia: $10,000.

  • Technical support for the University of Georgia Extension Corn Improvement Team: $36,400.

  • University of Georgia Corn Extension education program support request for 2002: $4,000.

  • Irrigated corn production and water conservation measures: $10,000.

Total: $100,400.

e-mail: phollis@primediabusiness.com