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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois corn producers will have a vote on whether to contribute more toward promoting their product.

The Illinois Corn Marketing Board has scheduled a referendum on increasing the corn checkoff one-quarter, from 5/8 of a cent to 7/8 of a cent per bushel.

The vote will be March 29 with polling at local extension offices. However, extension offices in Brown, Pike, Bond, Henderson and Menard counties will be closed and Grundy County's will have reduced hours from 12 to 4 p.m.

Growers who sell a bushel of corn in Illinois pay the checkoff to the marketing board to promote the industry. The money is used for research, marketing, and education.

The referendum follows a public meeting conducted earlier this month by the Illinois Department of Agriculture seeking input on the checkoff. Public comments convinced the marketing board to schedule the vote.

The matter will be approved if a majority of those casting a ballot the referendum vote in favor of increasing the checkoff.

Eligible voters who live outside Illinois or can't vote in person may request an absentee ballot. The request must be made in writing to the Agriculture Department.

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