The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a referendum March 9-30, 2020, for tart cherry growers and processors to vote on whether to continue their federal marketing order. Growers and processors who produced or processed tart cherries in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Washington or Wisconsin from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019, are eligible to vote. A notice of the referendum was published in the Federal Register on Feb. 4, 2020.
USDA will consider continuing the marketing order if at least fifty percent of the producers and processors voting are in favor of continuing the order or if the producers and processors voting in favor of continuing the order represent at least fifty percent of the tart cherry volume represented in the referendum.
The marketing order enables the tart cherry industry and the Cherry Industry Administrative Board to conduct, under USDA’s oversight, production and marketing research, promotional initiatives, and volume control. The Cherry Industry Administrative Board administers the marketing order which requires a continuance referendum every six years to determine producers’ level of support for the program.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will mail ballots and voting instructions to all growers and processors of record. Eligible growers and processors who do not receive a ballot by March 20 may contact Jennie Varela at Jennie.Varela@usda.gov or (863) 324-3375. Requests for a ballot may also be faxed to (863) 291-8614 or mailed to USDA, AMS, 1124 First Street South; Winter Haven, Fla. 33880.
More information about the marketing order regulating the handling of tart cherries is available on the AMS 930 Tart Cherries web page.
Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, marketing orders are industry-driven programs that help producers 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 crop marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.
More information about federal marketing orders is available on the AMS Marketing Orders and Agreements web page or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at (202) 720-2491.