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June 01, 2006

'Nickels for Know-How' referendum passes with landmark vote

Nickels image

Described as a self-help program for farmers, “Nickels for Know-How” is a 55-year-old voluntary assessment on feed and fertilizer produced and purchased in North Carolina. On May 25, the 13th “Nickels” referendum passed with a whopping 94 percent of the vote. This was the referendum’s second-highest passing rate in 50 years.

“Nickels” raises about $1.2 million annually to support research, teaching and extension programs in the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture collects “Nickels” funds from the manufacturers of feed and fertilizer. The manufacturers build the extra cost—three nickels per ton—into the price of their products. The funds are then deposited with the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc., based in the college.

“Since Nickels for Know-How began in 1951, most of the state’s research-based agricultural advances have at some point shared ‘Nickels’ funds,” said college dean Johnny C. Wynne. “The college and the university are deeply grateful to the citizens who make these opportunities possible by voting for the statewide ‘Nickels’ referendum.”

All users of feed and fertilizer in North Carolina, along with their families, are eligible to vote. This year’s vote, which will extend the program for another six years, passed overwhelmingly in all 100 North Carolina counties and the Cherokee Reservation.

“Nickels” funds have supported a range of faculty-based projects in the college, from research on alternative fuel production to avian flu education programs. These funds also provide operating support for entities such as the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Foundation and the North Carolina 4-H Development Fund.

The “Nickels” program creates opportunities for students by helping raise funds for more than 475 endowments that provide $800,000 in scholarships each year. These endowments also bolster faculty efforts, county extension programs and commodity research efforts.

“Nickels” also supports college fundraising efforts by generating more than $30 million annually in private contributions.

“These are just a few of the ways ‘Nickels for Know-How’ has helped advance efforts in the college and the university that, in turn, support North Carolina farmers and bolster agribusiness in our state,” Wynne said. “By passing this referendum, the state’s voters have played a key role in creating opportunities that will benefit all North Carolina citizens.”

-S. Stanard

Posted by Suzanne at June 1, 2006 04:36 PM