(a) Any commission, established by the mutual agreement of any two or more nonprofit associations of cotton producers, fairly and substantially representative of the producers of cotton throughout the state, may at any time after May 5, 1981, make application to the State Board of Agriculture and Industries for certification and approval for the purpose of conducting a referendum among cotton producers of the state, upon the question of levying an assessment, collecting, expending and utilizing the same for the purpose or purposes authorized under this article and as stated in such referendum. For the purpose of determining whether the cotton producers are fairly represented by such applicant, the nonprofit associations establishing the commission or the commission shall submit to the State Board of Agriculture and Industries for approval or disapproval a plan or system for dividing the state into six districts, each district to contain as nearly as possible the same number of acres planted to cotton during the last year immediately prior to the date of submitting such plan for which such statistics are available. The commission shall be composed of not more than eleven members, six of whom shall be elected representatives of the six respective districts into which the state is divided, as above provided, and the remainder shall be appointed from the state at large by the mutual consent of the nonprofit associations of cotton producers establishing the commission which applies for authorization to conduct the referendum and promotional program. Every member of the commission shall be a bona fide Alabama cotton producer. Any commission approved or certified hereunder by the State Board of Agriculture and Industries shall be authorized to execute or carry out such a promotional program within the limits prescribed by this article, and hereinafter shall be referred to as an approved or certified commission.
(b) Any commission authorized to make assessments pursuant to subsection (a) may make application to the State Board of Agriculture and Industries for certification and approval to conduct a referendum on the question of levying an assessment without any provision for refunds. The referendums and the levying, collection, expending, and utilization of the assessments shall otherwise be subject to the provisions of this article. Upon approval of any assessment authorized pursuant to this subsection, the assessment shall supersede any prior assessment being collected at the time of the referendum.