Lawmakers approved a bill July 31 creating a checkoff program for Nebraska dry pea and lentil growers. The commission may create general state policies and programs related to the discovery, promotion and development of markets and industries for the utilization of dry peas, lentils, chickpeas or garbanzo beans, faba beans or lupins grown in Nebraska. It also may adopt an education and publicity program, make grants and enter into research contracts.LB803, introduced by Venango Sen. Dan Hughes, creates the five-member Dry Pea and Lentil Commission.
The commission’s members, who will be appointed by the governor, must be Nebraska residents who are dry pea or lentil growers with at least five years of experience, among other requirements. Beginning July 1, 2021, a 1 percent excise tax will be imposed on the net market value of dry peas and lentils sold through commercial channels in the state. The tax will be levied and imposed on the grower at the time of sale or delivery. The first purchaser will collect the tax and remit it to the commission. The commission may adjust the levy after July 1, 2023, but it may not be less than 1 percent or more than 2 percent of net market value. LB803 passed on a vote of 44-0.