AMS No. 073-12
Gwen Sparks, (202) 260-8210
WASHINGTON, March 13, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will amend the federal marketing order regulating the handling of dates produced or packed in Riverside County, Calif.
During a recent referendum, eligible growers and producers favored five amendments recommended by the California Date Administrative Committee. The amendments, which received the required approval from two-thirds of growers voting or producers accounting for at least two-thirds of the volume of dates represented, will authorize the committee to:
* Increase the terms of office for committee members and alternates from two years to three
* Recommend regulatory exemptions for certain date varieties, if market conditions warrant
* Collect interest charges and late fees on delinquent assessment payments
* Build and maintain an operating monetary reserve not to exceed one year’s average expenses
* Conduct business via telephone or video conference
Voters did not approve amendments that would:
* Require a referendum once every six years to determine support for the order
* Establish term limits of no longer than two consecutive terms of office or six consecutive years for committee members
Notice of the referendum was published in the Dec. 9, 2011, Federal Register. Ballot materials were mailed to all known eligible growers producing dates in Riverside County, Calif. between Oct. 1, 2010, and Sept. 30, 2011. A final rule implementing the amendments will be published in a future issue of the Federal Register.
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