2006 Regular Session
To: Agriculture; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Hyde-Smith, Lee (35th)
AN ACT TO CREATE THE CORN PROMOTION BOARD; TO PROVIDE FOR AN ASSESSMENT ON CORN PRODUCED IN THE STATE; TO CREATE A SPECIAL FUND FOR SUCH ASSESSMENT; TO PROVIDE FOR METHOD OF COLLECTION AND DISBURSEMENT OF THE ASSESSMENT; TO PRESCRIBE CONDITIONS AND PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE ASSESSMENT MAY BE EXPENDED; TO PRESCRIBE DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE RELATED TO THE CORN PROMOTION BOARD; TO PROVIDE A PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO PAY THE ASSESSMENTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The purpose of this chapter is to promote the growth and development of the corn industry in Mississippi by research, advertisement promotions and education and market development, thereby promoting the general welfare of the people of this state.
For purposes of this chapter:
(a) "Board" means the Mississippi Corn Promotion Board.
(b) "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
SECTION 2. (1) The Mississippi Corn Promotion Board is hereby created, to be composed of twelve (12) members to be appointed by the Governor to serve terms of three (3) years. All of the twelve (12) members of the board shall be producers of corn in the State of Mississippi. Within ten (10) days following the effective date of this chapter, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Inc., the Mississippi Feed and Grains Association, the Mississippi Corn Growers Association and the Delta Council shall each submit the names of six (6) corn producers to the Governor, and he shall appoint three (3) members from the nominees of each organization to serve on the board on rotating three-year terms. The original board shall be appointed with members of each of the organizations appointed as follows: one (1) for one (1) year, one (1) for two (2) years, and one (1) for three (3) years. Each year thereafter, not less than thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the terms of expiring board members, the organizations shall submit the names of three (3) nominees to the Governor and succeeding boards shall be appointed by the Governor in the same manner, giving equal representation to each organization. Vacancies which occur shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments were made.
(2) The members of the board shall meet and organize immediately after their appointment, and shall elect a chairman, vice chairman and secretary-treasurer from the membership of the board, whose duties shall be those customarily exercised by such officers or specifically designated by the board. The chairman, vice chairman and secretary-treasurer shall be bonded in an amount not less than Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00). The cost of the bonds shall be paid from the funds received under this chapter. The bond shall be a security for any illegal act of such member of the board and recovery thereon may be had by the state for any injury by the illegal act of the member. The board may establish rules and regulations for its own government and the administration of the affairs of the board.
SECTION 3. (1) After July 1, 2006, there is imposed and levied an assessment at the rate of One Cent (1¢) per bushel on all corn grown within the State of Mississippi, and the assessment shall be deducted by the purchaser from the amount paid the producer at the first point of sale, whether within or without the state. If a producer pledges corn grown by that producer as collateral for a loan issued by the Commodity Credit Corporation and if that producer forfeits the corn in lieu of loan repayment, the Commodity Credit Corporation shall at the time of the loan settlement, collect the assessment from the producer.
(2) The assessment imposed and levied by this section shall be payable to and collected by the department from the purchaser of the corn at the first point of sale or from the Commodity Credit Corporation as provided in subsection (1) of this section. The proceeds of the assessment collected by the department shall be deposited with the State Treasurer in a special fund to be established as the "Mississippi Corn Promotion Fund," and promptly remitted to a foundation under the terms and conditions as the board deems necessary to ensure that the assessments are used properly in carrying out the purposes of this chapter.
(3) The department shall submit to the board a budget detailing and justifying the administrative costs of the department in administering the provisions of this chapter. The budget must be approved by the board by April 1 of each year. The department shall pay over to the Mississippi Corn Promotion Fund the funds collected, less three and one-half percent (3-1/2%) of the gross amount collected. The amount withheld by the department must be approved by the board by July 1 of each year.
(4) Each purchaser or the Commodity Credit Corporation shall keep a complete and accurate record of all corn handled by him and shall furnish each producer with a signed sales slip showing the number of bushels purchased from him and the amount deducted by him for the Mississippi Corn Promotion Fund. The records shall be in the form and contain any other information as the department shall by rule or regulation prescribe. The records shall be preserved by the purchaser for a period of two (2) years and shall be offered for inspection at any time upon oral or written demand by the department or any duly authorized agent or representative thereof. Every purchaser or the Commodity Credit Corporation, at such time or times as the department may require, shall submit reports or other documentary information deemed necessary for the efficient and equitable collection of the assessment imposed in this chapter. The department shall have the power to cause any duly authorized agent or representative to enter upon the premises of any purchaser of corn and examine or cause to be examined by the agent only books, papers and records which deal in any way with the payment of the assessment or enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.
SECTION 4. (1) Any purchaser who fails to file a report or to pay any assessment within the time required by the department shall forfeit to the department a penalty of five percent (5%) of the assessment determined to be due, plus one percent (1%) of the amount for each month of delay or fraction thereof after the first month after the report was required to be filed or the assessment became due. The penalty shall be paid to the department and shall be disposed of by it in the same manner as funds derived from the payment of the assessment imposed herein.
(2) The department shall collect the penalties levied herein, together with the delinquent assessment, by any or all of the following methods:
(a) By voluntary payment by the person liable.
(b) By legal proceedings instituted in a court of competent jurisdiction.
(3) Any person required to pay the assessment provided for in this chapter who fails to remit same or who refuses to allow full inspection of the premises, or the books, records or other documents relating to the liability of the person for the assessment herein imposed, or who shall hinder or in any way delay or prevent the inspection, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or by imprisonment not to exceed one (1) year, or both.
(4) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any person who purchases one thousand (1,000) or fewer bushels of corn in any calendar year, provided he is not regularly engaged in the purchase of corn.
SECTION 5. (1) The board shall plan and conduct a program of research, education and advertising designed to promote the corn industry in Mississippi. The board is authorized to use the funds derived from the assessment imposed herein for these purposes, including basic administration expenses of the plan. Use of these funds may be applied, as prescribed in this section, within or without the State of Mississippi, including regional, national and international research and promotional applications.
(2) (a) The Mississippi Legislature finds and declares that the factors which affect the ability of Mississippi corn farmers to market their crop are established by national and international forces in the world market. The Legislature further finds and declares that the expenditure of funds by the board for the purpose of influencing the development and implementation of national and international policy affecting the marketing of corn produced by Mississippi farmers is the expenditure of funds for a public purpose.
(b) The board may expend a portion of the funds received and administered by the board for the purpose of influencing the development and implementation of national and international policy affecting the marketing of corn produced by Mississippi farmers.
(c) The amount of funds expended by the board in each fiscal year for the purposes authorized in this subsection shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the budget of the board for that fiscal year.
(d) The board shall not expend any funds for the purpose of influencing any legislative action on the state level.
(3) A report of all income and expenditures shall be made annually with four (4) copies of the report to be filed with each of the following: the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Secretary of the Senate, the State Law Library and the State Auditor.
SECTION 6. The State Tax Commission shall provide any information necessary to assist the department in collecting the assessments provided for in this chapter.
SECTION 7. Notwithstanding the provisions of any laws or parts of laws in conflict herewith, the provisions of this chapter shall be controlling to the extent of the conflict.
SECTION 8. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.