Check off program touted

Published 11:56 pm Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mississippi sweet potato producers are being asked to participate in the voluntary $5-per-acre checkoff program.

Bill Burdine, with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, told a recent meeting of the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council the program usually finances promotional efforts.

Burdine says matching $40,000 to a federal grant would help to develop treatments for fusarium wilt and charcoal rot in sweet potatoes.

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Council secretary-treasurer Benny Graves says the checkoff has been bringing in about $20,000 per year.

Burdine says full participation in the program by producers would bring in more than $100,000 per year.

Graves says if producers can knock back the diseases by 50 percent, it would mean a lot more money in their pockets.