USDA holding American Pecan Council referendum through June 28
Pecan growers in 15 states have until June 28 to vote on whether to continue their federal marketing order in a mail referendum the USDA is holding.
The marketing order authorizes the American Pecan Council to conduct crop and market data collection, domestic pecan research and promotion campaigns, and efforts to regulate grade, size, quality, pack and container requirements under USDA’s oversight. The federal statutes that outline how USDA manages commodity marketing orders stipulates that the USDA conduct a continuance referendum every five years to determine growers’ level of support for the program.
To be eligible to vote, pecan growers must have produced a minimum average of 50,000 pounds of inshell pecans over the four years from Oct. 1, 2016, to Sept. 30, 2020, or must own a minimum of 30 pecan acres in the production area of Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. USDA will consider continuing the marketing order if at least two-thirds of the growers voting, by number or volume, vote in favor of continuance.
“I encourage pecan growers who receive a ballot to vote in the American Pecan Council referendum to fill it out and send it back by June 28. I won’t tell you how to vote, but I will tell you to vote,” said Garrett Ganas, chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Pecan Advisory Committee. “Time is short so don’t wait.”
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has mailed ballots and voting instructions to all growers of record. Eligible growers who did not receive a ballot by June 7, should contact Abigail Campos at Abigail.Campos@usda.gov or 863-324-2145. Requests for a ballot may also be faxed to (863) 291-8614 or mailed to USDA, AMS, 1124 First Street South, Winter Haven, FL 33880.
More information about the marketing order regulating the handling of pecans grown in 15 states is available on the AMS 986 American Pecan Council webpage, the Marketing Orders and Agreements webpage or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at (202) 720-2491.
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 29 fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.