Program Referenda

The AMS Market Development Division is responsible for conducting referenda for Research and Promotion programs. Simply put, a referendum is an event where eligible parties vote for or against a specific issue. The reasons for a referendum are dependent upon the specific regulations governing that commodity. There are typically three reasons for conducting a referendum, which are outlined in each program’s regulations:

  • Establishment of a new research and promotion program
  • Continuation of an existing research and promotion program
  • If 10% or more of eligible voters (assessment payers) request a referendum

Additionally, the Secretary of Agriculture may hold a referendum at any time.

Upcoming Referenda

Peanut Promotion, Research, and Information Order – April 2023

The Secretary of Agriculture will conduct a referendum to determine whether eligible peanut producers favor the continuation of the Peanut Promotion, Research, and Information Order (Order). For the Order to continue, it must be approved by a simple majority of the producers voting in the referendum who, during the representative period, have engaged in the production of peanuts.

Pecan Promotion, Research, and Information Order – April-May 2023

The Secretary of Agriculture will conduct a referendum to determine whether eligible pecan producers and importers favor the continuation of the Pecan Promotion, Research, and Information Order (Order). For the Order to continue, it must be approved by a majority of producers and importers voting for approval in the referendum who, during a representative period determined by the Secretary, have engaged in the production or importation of pecans.

Completed Referenda

Paper and Paper-Based Packaging Promotion and Research Program – October 2023

The Secretary of Agriculture conducted a referendum to determine whether eligible manufacturers or importers favor the continuation of the Paper and Paper-Based Packaging Promotion, Research and Information Order. In the referendum, 53% of domestic manufacturers and importers voting, who represented 53% of the volume of paper and paper-based packaging voting in the referendum, were in favor of continuing the program. Over 50% of the domestic manufacturers and importers voting and over 50% of the volume voting in the referendum were required to vote in favor for the program to continue.

Referendum Agents: Marlene Betts, Marketing Specialist, and Alexandra Caryl, Branch Chief, SCP, AMS, USDA, Stop 0244, Room 1406–S, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250, are designated as the referendum agents to conduct this referendum. Telephone: (202) 720-8085 Electronic Mail: Marlene.Betts@usda.gov.

Voting Period:  The voting period for the referendum was October 6, 2023 through October 20, 2023. Current manufacturers and importers who manufactured or imported 100,000 short tons or more of paper and paper-based packaging from January 1, 2022, through December 31, 2022 (representative period) were eligible to vote in the referendum.

Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Information Order - August 2022

The Secretary of Agriculture conducted a referendum to determine whether eligible first handlers or importers favored the continuation of the Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Information Order.  In the referendum, 73.8% of first handlers and importers voting, who represented 85.5% of the volume of honey or honey products voting in the referendum, were in favor of continuing the program. Over 50% of the first handlers and importers voting and over 50% of the volume voting in the referendum were required for the program to continue.

Referendum Agents: Katie Cook, Marketing Specialist, and Heather Pichelman, Acting Director, Market Development Division, SCP, AMS, USDA, Stop 0244, Room 1406–S, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250, are designated as the referendum agents to conduct this referendum.  Telephone: (202) 617-4760 Electronic Mail: Katie.Cook@usda.gov.

Voting Period:  The voting period for the referendum was August 8, 2022 through August 26, 2022.  First handlers and importers who handled or imported 250,000 pounds or more of honey or honey products from January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021 are eligible to vote in the referendum.