The Georgia Corn Commission was reaffirmed in a spring referendum with 80.28 percent of the participating corn producers voting to continue the commission, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Corn producers returned 436 ballots in the referendum.

For the marketing order to pass, 66 2/3 percent of those voting had to approve the measure.

Producers growing corn for grain commercially sold within and outside the state pay a one-cent-per-bushel assessment collected when their corn is sold. First handlers are responsible for collecting the checkoff and remitting it to the commission on the behalf of producers.

Producers growing sweet or fresh corn, silage corn, or corn for on-farm use are exempt from the checkoff. The checkoff funds corn research, promotion and education activities. Georgia corn producers must vote on the marketing order every three years.

Members of the Georgia Corn Commission include Donald Chase, chairman; producer members Randall Odom, Danny Willingham, Carter Swancy, Herbert Jacobs and ex-officio members Wayne Dollar, president of the Georgia Farm Bureau, and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin.

Georgia’s estimated 2,400 corn producers harvested an average of 130 bushels per acre last year, the second highest yield on record. Corn planted in Georgia for all purposes was 335,000 acres in 2004. In early March, Georgia corn producers indicated they plan to plant 270,000 acres this year.

If this predicted acreage is realized, this will be the second lowest record of corn acres planted in Georgia. Excess rain in late March prevented some farmers from planting their crop and could further reduce the acreage. Rising fuel and fertilizer costs have been cited by many farmers as reasons for not planting corn.