Sorghum Checkoff Chairman Bill Greving has announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture has finalized procedures for the upcoming referendum on the continuation of the Sorghum Checkoff Program.

For the program to continue, the Sorghum Promotion, Research, and Information Order requires that a referendum be conducted no later than 3 years after the start of assessments, which began on July 1, 2008.

USDA will conduct the referendum Feb.-Feb. 28, 2011, at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices for producers and the Agricultural Marketing Service office for importers. Ballots may be obtained in person, by mail or facsimile at county FSA offices, or via the Internet.

Any eligible person engaged in the production or importation of sorghum from July 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2010, is eligible to participate. Individuals are required to provide documentation such as a sales receipt or remittance form that shows they engaged in production or importation of sorghum.

The Sorghum Checkoff Program, and its 13-member board, is authorized by the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996. The mandatory program is funded at the rate of 0.6 percent of the net market value on grain sorghum and 0.35 percent of the net market value of sorghum forage.

The Sorghum Checkoff is intended to be a national, coordinated, self-help marketing program designed to strengthen the position of sorghum in the marketplace, maintain and expand existing domestic and foreign markets and uses for sorghum, and develop new markets and uses for sorghum.

The final procedures were published in the Nov. 18, 2010, Federal Register.

For more information, contact Kenneth R. Payne, Chief, Marketing Programs, Livestock and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, Room 2628-S, STOP 0251, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-0251, by calling (202) 720-1115, or faxing (202) 720-1125.