Referendum Ends December 31, 2018 on Proposed Amendments to the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Order

December 18, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is conducting a referendum Dec. 17-31, 2018, on proposed amendments to the marketing order for sweet onions grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon.

The proposed amendments would reduce the size of the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee and change the quorum and voting requirements authorized in the marketing order. Growers will also vote on proposed changes to the term of office and staggered term limits. These actions were unanimously recommended by the committee and would help streamline the its operations and increase effectiveness.

The proposed amendments would need to be approved by two-thirds of the Walla Walla sweet onion growers voting in the referendum or be supported by growers representing at least two-thirds of the volume of Walla Walla sweet onions voted in the referendum.

USDA has mailed ballots and voting instructions to all sweet onion growers of record in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon. To be eligible to vote, the growers must have handled sweet onions grown in the regulated area from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018.

Eligible growers who have not received a ballot by Dec. 22, 2018, may request one by calling (503) 326-2724, faxing (503) 326-7440, or mailing the request to the Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1220 SW 3rd Avenue, Room 305, Portland, OR 97204.

Notice of the referendum was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 14, 2018.

Information about the marketing order is available on AMS’ 956 Walla Walla Sweet Onions page.

Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, marketing orders are industry-driven programs that help growers and handlers achieve marketing success by leveraging their own funds to design and execute programs that they would not be able to do individually. AMS provides oversight to 29 fruit, vegetable, and specialty crops marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.

More information about federal marketing orders is available on AMS’ Marketing Orders and Agreements page or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at (202) 720-2491.

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