The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a referendum April 3-May 1, 2023, on proposed amendments to the federal marketing order regulating the handling of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and pummelos grown in Florida.
Notice of the referendum was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, 2023.
The proposed amendments would include reducing the size and quorum requirements of the Citrus Administrative Committee and revising the nomination and selection processes of committee members. The requirement to allocate committee seats based on volume from each district would also be removed. Lastly, a new section would authorize the committee to receive and expend domestically sourced voluntary contributions and grant funds for promotion and research projects.
The committee, which locally administers the federal marketing order for Florida citrus under USDA’s oversight, seeks these changes to reflect industry consolidation and reduced production. Having a smaller committee size would enable the committee to fulfill membership and quorum requirements, thereby ensuring a more efficient and orderly flow of business. The authority to accept voluntary contributions would allow for more collaboration with other organizations for research/promotional activities.
The proposed amendments would become effective if approved by two-thirds of the growers voting in the referendum or by those representing at least two-thirds of the volume of citrus grown by those voting in the referendum.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will mail ballots and voting instructions to all growers of record in Florida. To be eligible to vote, a grower must have produced oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and pummelos in Florida from Aug. 1, 2021, through July 31, 2022.
Eligible growers who have not received a ballot may request one by calling (863) 324–3375, faxing (863) 291–8614, or mailing the request to Southeast Region Branch Office, Market Development Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1124 1st Street South, Winter Haven, Florida 33880.
More information about the marketing order regulating the handling of Florida citrus is available on the AMS 905 Florida Citrus webpage.
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 fruit vegetable and specialty crops marketing orders to ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.
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