Coming up on November 16, a referendum to maintain the “Nickels for Know How” program in North Carolina will be held. Bryant Spivey, Director of the Johnston County Extension Center explains the 60 year old program:
“It is for funding agricultural research. The money is collected, .15 per ton of feed and fertilizer sold in North Carolina, and that money is collected by the manufacturers and then is sent to the North Carolina Ag Foundation. And then that foundation board, which is made up of agricultural representatives, farmers, and other people from across the state, they decide how that money is to be spent to support agricultural research and developments here in North Carolina.”
Spivey explains that unlike most checkoff style programs, this one is not commodity specific:
“We do have other checkoff programs that are very specific to that commodity, but this is really for all agricultural commodities in North Carolina. And it also cuts across all commodities because anybody that is buying fertilizer or is buying feed, they’re paying into that, so it in turn goes back to support those industries that have contributed to it. And, you know, it is very important that we have a mechanism to support agricultural research and advancements so that we can stay productive and profitable in production agriculture and this is an opportunity for growers to help fund research that supports their business down the road.”
There are a number of projects that this assessment has supported over the years. Spivey explains:
“Thing like the construction of the research feed mill at North Carolina State University; improvements in productions in small fruits; maybe changes in nutrition; and how production that we do affects nutrition. So it’s really all aspects of agricultural production, from the farm to the table.”
Check with your local extension office for polling places in your county.
Director of Johnston County Extension Center, Bryant Spivey