The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will conduct a Request for Referendum among eligible soybean producers beginning on May 4, 2009 and continuing through May 29, 2009, to determine if producers want a referendum on the Soybean Checkoff Program.

Participation is voluntary but is limited to eligible soybean producers. Only producers who want a referendum on the Soybean Checkoff Program should participate.

The federal Soybean Checkoff Act & Order automatically provides U.S. soybean farmers the opportunity to request a referendum every five years. USDA will only conduct a referendum if at least 10 percent of the nation’s 589,182 soybean producers support the Request for Referendum.

If USDA determines that at least 10 percent of U.S. soybean farmers have requested a referendum, then a checkoff referendum will be held within one year from the date of that determination. The last Request for Referendum occurred in 2004 and less than one percent of U.S. soybean farmers participated.

Beginning May 4 and continuing through May 29, eligible producers who want to indicate their support for a referendum may obtain a form in person at their county FSA office, or submit a request by fax or mail, or get forms on the internet at www.ams.usda.gov/lsmarketingprograms.

To be eligible to participate, producers must certify and provide documentation hey paid a soybean assessment between Jan. 1, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2008. Documentation for payment of assessment could be a sales receipt showing the checkoff assessment was collected.

The Soybean Promotion and Research Order is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act (7 U.S.C. 6301-6311). The Act was passed as part of the 1990 farm bill. It authorized the establishment of a national soybean promotion, research, and consumer information program. The program became effective on July 9, 1991. Assessments began Sept. 1, 1991.