A referendum on the continuation of the Sorghum Checkoff Program is under way, with ballots available through Feb. 28 at the local Farm Service Agency office. Ballots may be obtained in person, by mail or facsimile at the office or online at www.ams.usda.gov/sorghumpage.

For the program to continue, the Sorghum Promotion, Research and Information order requires that a referendum be conducted no later than three years after the start of assessments, which began July 1, 2008. The order requires a simple majority vote in the referendum for the program to continue. The referendum began Feb. 1 of this year.

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 the production or importation of sorghum.

The Sorghum Checkoff Program and its 13-member board are 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.

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