Lawmakers protect Neb. farmers' checkoff dollars

AP News
Posted: Nov 11, 2009 5:19 PM

Complaints from Nebraska farmers and agriculture groups about using checkoff dollars to help balance the state budget appear to have worked.

On Wednesday, the Legislature's budget-writing Appropriations Committee voted to ditch Gov. Dave Heineman's plan for the checkoff money. His plan would have taken about $700,000 from the wheat, corn, sorghum and dry-bean funds to help the state close a $334 million budget gap.

Checkoff fees are paid when farmers sell their crops. The money is used to research and promote crops.

Farm groups including Nebraska Farm Bureau had strongly opposed such a use of checkoff dollars.

Heineman said on Wednesday that he appreciated the debate on the issue and supported the committee's decision.