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Soybean request for referendum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering soybean producers the chance to request a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order, as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act (Act).

Soybean producers who are interested in having a referendum to determine whether to continue the soybean checkoff program are invited to participate.

The Request for Referendum will be conducted at USDA's county Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. To be eligible to participate, producers must certify and provide documentation that shows that they produced soybeans and paid an assessment on the soybeans during the period of January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2008.

Beginning May 4, 2009, and continuing through May 29, 2009, producers may obtain a form by mail, fax, or in person from the Farm Service Agency county offices.

Completed forms and supporting documentation must be returned to the county FSA office by fax or in person no later than close of business May 29, 2009; or if returned by mail, must be postmarked by midnight May 29, 2009, and received in the county FSA office by close of business on June 5, 2009.

USDA will conduct a referendum if at least 10 percent of the nation's 589,182 soybean producers support a referendum.

Not more than one-fifth of the producers who support having a referendum can be from any one state.

The soybean checkoff program is administered by a 68-member producer board and is designed to expand uses of soybeans and soybean products in domestic and foreign markets. The national program is financed by a mandatory assessment of one-half of 1 percent of the net market price of soybeans.

Soybean producers can obtain more information by contacting their local FSA Office. In Alexandria, the phone number is (320) 763-3191.