DOBSON — The election of America’s next president won’t be the only issue decided this fall; there’s also the fate of the Nickels for Know-How program that affects the local agricultural industry.
Surry County Extension Director Bryan Cave has announced that a referendum on the program will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 1, which will allow users and producers of feed or fertilizer to decide if they wish to continue the program.
Nickels for Know-How is a self-assessment effort in which growers willingly pay money to support agricultural research and education. The assessment is 15 cents per ton on feed and fertilizer produced in North Carolina. The voluntary program began in 1951 and the law requires that a new referendum be held every six years.
Cave says one polling location is established for the Surry County Nickels for Know-How referendum, the county extension office located at 210 N. Main St. in Dobson.
A two-thirds favorable vote overall will mean growers are willing to continue to assess themselves to support the program.
Those involved with feed and fertilizer are the identified voters for the upcoming referendum since the funding provides for research affecting those particular segments.
The Nickels for Know-How program has been approved at a rate of more than 90 percent every six years since 1951.
Funds it generates — about $1.4 million annually, which equates to about $40 per farm — are collected by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and then allocated by the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc.’s 148-member volunteer board of directors.
That group, which contains farmer members from each county in the state, directs the funding to research and extension projects at N.C. State University benefiting agriculture in North Carolina.
Present research projects are embryonic manipulations to increase poultry muscle growth and yield; on-farm energy production and nutrient recovery from swine manure; maintaining healthy honey bee colonies; development of effective human pathogen control in fresh produce; and many more.