AMS No. 050-08
Jimmie Turner (202) 720-6179
Billy Cox (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, Feb. 29, 2008 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it will conduct a referendum from April 2-16, 2008, for eligible first handlers and importers of honey and honey products to establish a new national Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order.
The program will be implemented if favored by a majority of the first handlers and importers, and a majority of volume voting in the referendum. Voters consist of first handlers and importers of 250,000 or more pounds of honey per calendar year.
If implemented, the program would be administered by a 10-member board and its alternates who will be responsible for carrying out activities intended to strengthen the position of the honey industry in the marketplace. In addition, the board will work to develop, maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets for honey and honey products.
The national coordinated generic program would be financed by a mandatory assessment of $0.01 per pound on honey and honey products paid by first handlers and importers that handle or import at least 250,000 pounds of the commodity annually.
The proposed order, referendum order and referendum procedures for the program will be published in the March 3, 2008, Federal Register, and posted electronically on the Internet at www.ams.usda.gov/fv/rpdocketlist.htm and www.regulations.gov
On March 24, 2008, AMS will mail the ballots, voting instructions and a summary of the proposed program to all known eligible first handlers, and importers of honey. Eligible first handlers or importers who do not receive a ballot should contact Kathie Birdsell, Research and Promotion Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, Stop 0244, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-0244; by calling (888) 720-9917; faxing (202) 205-2800; or e-mailing Kathie.Birdsell@usda.gov.