The national Soybean Checkoff Act & Order automatically provides farmers the opportunity to request a referendum every five years. If USDA determines that at least 10% of U.S. soybean farmers have requested a referendum, then one will be held within one year from that determination.
The next request period began May 5, 2014, and continues through May 30, 2014. USDA has not indicated when the final results of the request for referendum will be made public. The results will be announced through an official USDA press release and published in the Federal Register. In addition, USDA will post the official results online.
No more than one-fifth of the producers who support having a referendum can be from one state. To be eligible to participate, producers must certify they or the entity they're authorized to represent paid an assessment (participated in the soybean checkoff) at some time between Jan. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2012. Documentation of assessment will be required upfront when submitting the request form. Producers who do not want a referendum to take place do not need to take any action.
The last request for referendum period occurred in 2009. At that time, less than one-half of 1% of all U.S. soybean farmers signed a request for referendum form. More information can be found here.