The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today that, as required by law, it will conduct a referendum for eligible domestic producers and importers of highbush blueberries on whether to continue the Blueberry Promotion, Research and Information Order. The referendum will be held Oct. 8-22, 2021.
If a majority of producers and importers voting in the referendum, who also represent a majority of the volume of blueberries represented in the referendum favor continuance of the order, USDA would continue the blueberry research and promotion program.
To vote in the referendum, producers and importers must have produced or imported 2,000 pounds or more of highbush blueberries during the representative period Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, paid assessments during that period, and must currently be producers or importers subject to assessment under the program.
AMS will conduct the referendum by express mail and electronic ballot. AMS staff will express mail ballots and voting instructions to all known eligible producers and importers of highbush blueberries before the voting period. Any eligible producer or importer who does not receive a ballot by Oct. 8, 2021, should contact referendum agent Jeanette Palmer at (202) 720-5976 or (202) 720-9915, or email Jeanette.Palmer@usda.gov. Completed ballots delivered to AMS via express mail or electronic means must be delivered no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on Oct. 22, 2021.
The notice of referendum was published in the Federal Register on July 16, 2021.
More information about referendum procedures is in Subpart B of the Blueberry Promotion, Research and Information Order. For more information about the Council, visit the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council page on the AMS website and on the Council’s website, ushbc.blueberry.org.
The blueberry program is authorized under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. The program was developed to administer an effective and coordinated program of generic promotion, consumer information and related research designed to drive consumption of highbush blueberries within the U.S and internationally.
Since 1966, Congress has authorized the development of industry-funded research and promotion boards to provide a framework for agricultural industries to pool their resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets and conduct important research and promotion activities. The Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight of 22 boards, paid for by industry assessments, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.
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