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% of the nation’s 589,182 soybean producers support the Request for Referendum. If USDA determines that at least 10% 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 1% 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 online.

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