In 1978, the Nebraska Legislature established the Nebraska corn checkoff. In fact, it was the first corn checkoff in the nation to be approved.
But it was corn farmers who led the charge.
Forty years ago, visionary members of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association saw the writing on the wall. They knew that, in order to take more ownership in their industry, they needed a program to invest in their future.
The initial corn checkoff was set at one-tenth of one cent per bushel, with those funds being used for research, market development, promotion and education. While the specific uses of those funds have evolved over the years, the overarching goal has not: to add value to every bushel of Nebraska corn.
The checkoff is an investment that Nebraska corn farmers make in themselves and the sustained success of their industry. It’s their money—and they determine how it should be used.
Since 1978, that self-generated investment has paid big dividends not only for Nebraska corn farmers, but for our entire state
Who serves on the Nebraska Corn Board?
The Nebraska Corn Board is comprised of nine farmers. Eight farmer-directors representing their districts are appointed by the Governor. A ninth at-large director is appointed by the eight board members.
How do farmers pay the checkoff?
Nebraska farmers currently pay the mandatory one-half cent per bushel to the checkoff when their corn is first sold to a buyer. That “first purchaser” could be a grain elevator, feedlot, ethanol plant or cooperative. Those first purchasers play an important role by assessing the checkoff at the time of purchase and submitting those funds to the Nebraska Corn Board.
40 Key Achievements since 1978
[in no particular order!]
1. Led a campaign to help Nebraska corn farmers recoup their losses from the Starlink recall, which brought some $11.4 million back to the state
2. Hosted media reporters from around the world to learn more about corn production and biotechnology
3. Participated in continual discussions with the auto industry regarding utilizing higher blend ethanol fuels
4. Published CornsTALK, a consumer-facing publication that appears in every Nebraska newspaper three to four times a year
5. Through the National Corn Growers Association, worked to expand interest and farmer involvement in the Soil Health Partnership
6. Worked with Indy 500 champ Tom Sneva to promote ethanol
7. Hosted scores of international trade teams in Nebraska
8. Leveraged Corn Congress in Washington, D.C. as an educational tool for LEAD, FFA and 4-H
9. Helped sponsor a beef mission to Japan following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011
10. Engaged in all trade agreements including GATT, NAFTA, WTO, CAFTA and more
11. Celebrated the 50 Billionth Bushel of Nebraska corn exported (1993)
12. Established an annual award to recognize industry and ag media leaders in Nebraska
13. Partnered on research with UNL including the release of the Decide NOW marketing app, Nebraska Corn Checkoff Presidential Chair and canopy sensor research for improved nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency
14. Was a member of a partnership that was awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to continue to increase the ethanol fueling infrastructure across the state
15. Helped establish the Industrial Ag Products Center at UNL
16. Showcased Nebraska farm families in a “Sustaining Innovation” campaign, including billboards on delivery trucks in Nebraska and in subway stations in Washington, D.C.
17. Organized a multi-commodity Farm Bill Task Force in 1993
18. Developed a Cattle Industry Forum to help promote beef
19. Organized the first Nebraska corn and beef Washington, D.C. Leadership Team
20. Supported key UNL education and communication initiatives including the Food Industry Building, Beadle Center, Veterinary Diagnostic Center, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (Curtis) and Raising Nebraska on the Nebraska State Fairgrounds
21. Sponsored Japanese researchers to study industrial uses for corn starch
22. Tested corn plastics with the City of Lincoln
23. Continued to promote the responsible expansion of our livestock industry through the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN)
24. Battled media attacks such as “King Corn,” “Food, Inc.” and “Frankenfoods”– and helped promote “Farmland,” a documentary film released in 2014
25. Coordinated a corn farmer call-to-action for the Renewable Fuel Standard
26. Launched the updated American Ethanol branding campaign on pump labels as an extension of the corn industry’s partnership with NASCAR
27. Helped fund the Grow Nebraska Dairy initiative, which is targeting new dairy processing in the state
28. Supported student internships with major cooperators, including an international internship— providing the next generation of leaders an opportunity to network and increase understanding of the corn industry
29. Helped fund Market Journal, the weekly farmer-focused television program produced by UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
30. Showcased the term “Nebraska’s Golden Triangle” highlighting the economic foundation that Nebraska’s corn, livestock and ethanol industries provide the state
31. Assisted in partnership with NASCAR to promote the usage of E15 to more than 80 million race fans
32. Received more than $1.5 million in federal grants to work on addressing phosphorus, increasing distillers grains usage, developing relationships with Mexican grain buyers and promoting Nebraska beef internationally
33. Partnered with the Nebraska Soybean Board and UNL to create and release the Nebraska Soybean & Corn Pocket Field Guide
34. Joined Field to Market to engage in the topic of ag sustainability across the entire supply chain
35. Partnered with the American Lung Association to promote the clean air and human health benefits of ethanol blended fuels
36. Collaborated with three other corn states to undertake market development missions to assess competitiveness in global grain markets
37. Coordinated campaigns to solicit public comment on proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) and atrazine restrictions to protect farmers from regulatory overreach and from losing valuable crop protection chemistries
38. Secured Olympic gold medalist and Nebraska native Curt Tomasevicz as the official spokesperson for Nebraska Corn
39. Spearheaded a “reverse trade mission” bringing Mexican grain buyers to Nebraska to discuss the importance of NAFTA
40. Engaged in the Husker Food Connection initiative on UNL’s City Campus to improve ag literacy and awareness among students