Georgia corn producers are reminded they have until May 10 to vote in a referendum that’ll decide whether or not to continue the state’s one-cent-per-bushel checkoff to fund the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Corn and it research, promotion and educational activities.

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.

In Georgia this year, it’s estimated to growers will plant about 330,000 acres of corn, up 12 percent from 2010.

University of Georgia Extension agronomist Dewey Lee says corn remains an important crop in the state, both as a primary crop and as a rotation for cotton and peanuts.

“The majority of the checkoff goes into funding research for our growers,” says Lee. “About 30 percent of the funds go into research that focuses on short-term agronomic inputs, and this is presented annually to producers. Another 30 percent goes into longer-term studies and 30 percent goes into even longer-term research such as that focusing on corn genetics.”

Checkoff dollars are even more vital at a time when public funding is being cut, he says. “Part of this funding is used to verify products from industry, and that’s very important for our producers,” says Lee.