Only Farmers Vote, but Corn Checkoff Will Help Everyone

By for CAES News

Georgia corn growers need to mark their Corn Checkoff ballots and put them in the mail before the March 2 deadline.

Only farmers vote on the program, which supports corn research, education and marketing efforts in Georgia. But the Corn Checkoff affects everyone in the state, not just farmers, said a University of Georgia scientist.

Benefits of research

"We aren't making any more land, and our farmers are having to feed more people."
ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ -- Tommy Irvin

"Through corn research, education and promotion, everyone benefits," said Dewey Lee, an Extension Service agronomist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

"Corn is a $75 million dollar business here," Lee said. "It affects corn farmers and also the processors and livestock industry, right on down to the people who buy meats at the grocery store."

The Corn Checkoff program provides a way for farmers to pay for research that will directly benefit them. Lee said Checkoff dollars funded almost all of the UGA corn research over the past three years.

Some of the latest studies include:

  • Testing transgenic and value-added hybrids for yield in Georgia.
  • Creating hybrids that are resistant to disease and insects.
  • Testing new insecticides and herbicides to improve efficiency.
  • Developing new techniques to manage twin-row planting to get the best yields.
  • Creating new irrigation recommendations.
  • Controlling insects in stored corn.

Research funding benefits all Georgians

cornrow.GIF (39181 bytes)"The farmers support this research with dollars from their crop, knowing the results will directly benefit them," said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin. "In turn, that will keep them in business and keep the communities they spend their dollars in alive."

Irvin said of all crops, corn shows most clearly the benefits of research. Past hybridization research by U.S. scientists has raised yields from 40 bushels per acre to more than 250.

Current research in Georgia, funded mostly by Checkoff dollars, will help farmers here grow more corn on fewer acres.

"We aren't making any more land, and our farmers are having to feed more people," he said. "The research funded by these dollars will help us feed them more efficiently. We have to do (this research) well. And we have to do it now."

Lee reminds farmers that returning their marked Checkoff ballot is an important way to voice their opinions about funding research.