Release No.: 016-16
WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today that a continuance referendum will be conducted among eligible domestic (U.S.) producers and importers of highbush blueberries from July 5 through July 28, 2016.
The referendum will allow eligible producers and importers to vote on whether to continue the Blueberry Promotion, Research and Information Order. The program will continue if it is favored by a majority of producers and importers voting in the referendum, who also represent a majority of the volume of blueberries represented in the referendum. 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, 2015, paid assessments during that period, and must currently be producers or importers subject to assessment under the program.
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. Referendum procedures are included in the Order, which can be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/research-promotion.
The referendum will be conducted by mail by AMS. Ballots and voting instructions will be mailed to all known eligible producers and importers prior to the first day of the voting period. Any eligible producer or importer who does not receive a ballot by July 8, 2016, should contact referendum agent Maureen Pello. Ballots must be received by the referendum agent by 4:30 pm Eastern time, July 28, 2016, in order to be counted.
For additional information, contact Maureen Pello, Marketing Specialist, Promotion and Economics Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW. Room 1406-S, Stop 0244, Washington, DC 20250-0244; telephone (503) 632-8848; (202) 720-9915; or by email Maureen.Pello@ams.usda.gov.
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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