Vote! It Makes Good Sense!

— Written By Zack Taylor and last updated by

Political season is upon us, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, you probably already know that election day is November 8th. What most probably don’t know, is that there is another chance to vote in a different election on November 1st. You don’t need to be registered, and you won’t find a list of candidates on this ballot. Instead you will see two simple check boxes, where you may vote either for or against. This election is a referendum, to decide whether or not to continue the popular program known as “Nickels for Know How.”

Nickels for Know How is a program that began back in 1951, and has since been approved by referendum vote every 6 years with over 90% support. When the program began, manufactures agreed to add 5 cents to the price of every ton of feed and fertilizer sold in the state of North Carolina. This money then went to support agricultural research, education, and cooperative extension services. Over the years the program has funded countless advances in research, which help advance the state’s 84-billion-dollar agricultural industry. Little has changed with how the program works today, except the assessment has risen from 5 cents to 15.

Every year, Nickels for Know How raises 1.4 million dollars, and that money goes on to support a wide variety of programs and research. Nickels for Know How helps fund cooperative extension in every county in the state, a resource that provides free information and programming, which is available for you and everyone else in our community. Some money goes towards endowment funds, which help students from rural communities attend college, with over 1 million dollars a year in scholarships. Research funding ranges from finding new ways to control red fire ants, to improving poultry, pork, and beef production practices, to finding the energy source of tomorrow through bio fuels and bio mass production.

As I mentioned before, there is no registration required to vote in this referendum. The only requirement to vote is that your family must be a consumer of feed or fertilizer. So whether you feed 100 head of cattle every day, buy fertilizer for 300 acres of tobacco, or you buy fertilizer to keep your yard healthy and green in town, you are eligible to vote. If you fall into that category, then come out and vote on November 1st from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are three polling places this year in Lee County. Two inside the McSwain Extension education and Agriculture Center at 2420 Tramway Road, with one ballot box in the Cooperative Extension office, and another in the Farm Service Agency. Also, you may vote at Crop Production Services at 2619 Lemon Springs Road. Each polling place has literature available today about the Nickels for Know How program, or you may learn more online at

Zack Taylor is the Agriculture Agent – Field Crops and Livestock, for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.