AMS No. 266-10
Jimmie Turner (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that pistachio producers in California, Arizona and New Mexico voted to continue their federal marketing order program.
More than 99 percent of those voting – by number and by volume – favored continuance of the order.
“Pistachios are an important specialty crop and this continuance will provide opportunities to expand pistachio markets and help growers thrive,” said Administrator Rayne Pegg of the Agricultural Marketing Service, which oversees marketing orders at USDA. “Everyone benefits from improved quality standards, especially consumers.”
The marketing order requires that a continuance referendum be held every six years. This was the first such referendum conducted among pistachio producers since the order was established in 2004. Since that time, the order has been amended to add the states of Arizona and New Mexico to the existing program for California pistachios.
USDA would consider terminating the program if fewer than two-thirds of participating producers, or those representing less than two-thirds of the volume of pistachios produced, voted to continue the order.
The marketing order authorizes the establishment of quality standards and aflatoxin testing and certification requirements for pistachios produced in California, Arizona and New Mexico. Research projects for the improvement of production and handling practices, as well as the study of pistachios in health and nutrition, are also authorized.
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