Peach growers in the state of North Carolina are holding a mail-in referendum on October 1st for an assessment to further research and marketing of the state’s peach crop. Mike Parker, NC State Extension Tree Fruit Specialist:
“The peach growers have decided to hold a campaign to vote on whether or not they want to have an assessment, that would be to support the activities of the NC peach growers, the education, research and marketing activities.”
Parker explains why there’s a need for such an assessment:
“We are losing funds from the Dept of Ag, and losing funds from the University and the growers are going to have to step up for the activities for their industry.”
Most assessments are based on volume of crop sold, but the peach growers are proposing an assessment on the number of trees a grower manages explains Parker:
“It is a self imposed assessment, and it has to pass by 2/3 vote of the growers. If its passed, the growers will assess themselves by three different tiers: fewer than 500 trees will pay $100, 500-2500 is $250 per year and those with more than 2500 pay $350 per year.”
And the NCDA will oversee the funds if the assessment referendum passes:
“If this is passed in January, the checks will go to NCDA and the money will go into an account for the growers to determine where those funds need to go to best support their industry.”
Parker reiterates that the growers themselves will determine where the funds are used:
“It may support the research or educational programs or a marketing initiative. It’s a self imposed assessment that the growers dictate where the funds are used.”
For more information on the referendum, or to participate, contact your local FSA office. The ballots are mail-in only, and if you should receive one and haven’t, your local FSA office can help.
NC State Extension Tree Fruit Specialist Mike Parker.