Release No.: 019-16
WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will conduct a referendum among pecan growers to determine if they support a proposed Federal marketing order for pecans grown in 15 states.
The referendum will be held from March 9 through March 30, 2016. AMS, which oversees marketing orders, will mail ballot materials to all known eligible pecan growers in the proposed 15-state production area which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. The proposed marketing order would become effective if approved by either two-thirds of the growers voting in the referendum or by those representing at least two-thirds of the volume of pecans grown by those voting in the referendum.
The proposed marketing order is based on the record and evidence presented at public hearings held by USDA in Las Cruces, N.M; Dallas, Texas; and Tifton, Ga., in July 2015. It would authorize data collection; research and promotion activities; and grade, size, quality, pack, and container regulation. The program would be financed by assessments on pecan handlers. A Council of 17 growers and shellers (handlers) nominated by the industry and appointed by USDA would locally administer the marketing order with AMS oversight.
Notice of the referendum will be published soon in the Federal Register. AMS will mail ballots and voting instructions to all growers of record who meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible to vote, a grower must have produced a minimum average annual amount of 50,000 pounds of in-shell pecans between Aug. 1, 2011, and July 31, 2015, or must own a minimum of 30 pecan acres. Growers that produce less than 50,000 pounds of in-shell pecans, or who own less than 30 pecan acres, are not subject to requirements under the marketing order. Eligible growers who do not receive ballots may request them from Jen Varela, Senior Marketing Specialist; or Chris Nissen, Regional Director, Southeast Marketing Field Office; 1124 First Street South, Winter Haven, Florida 33880; Telephone: (863) 324-3375; or Fax: (863) 291-8614.
Federal marketing orders are authorized under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. AMS oversees 28 industry-driven fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing orders, each custom tailored to address the needs of the specific industry. Learn more about marketing orders at www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/moa/fv.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).
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