FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, FEB. 20, 2014
Paul Jones, media marketing specialist
NCDA&CS Marketing Division
Paige Burns, horticulture agent
Richmond County Cooperative Extension
N.C. peach growers to vote on assessment in April
Funds would go toward research, marketing
RALEIGH — Peach growers across the state will have a chance to vote on an assessment for commercial orchards during a mail-in referendum in April. The assessment was proposed by the N.C. Peach Growers Society to generate funds for peach research and marketing.
This is the society’s second attempt to establish an assessment for the peach industry. A referendum last October failed to achieve the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass. Under state law, a second referendum may be held within a year if the original fails.
“Growers from across the state weighed the pros and cons of an assessment during the society’s annual meeting in January,” said Dexter Hill, peach marketing specialist for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “It was decided the peach industry could really benefit from the research and marketing an assessment could provide.”
Ballots will be mailed to each commercial orchard in the state on April 1. Growers will have 10 days to return the ballots. Additional ballots will be available at local N.C. Cooperative Extension offices, or may be downloaded at http://peaches.ces.ncsu.edu.
To vote, an individual must be 18 years old by April 1 and also be an orchard owner, designated family member or an orchard manager. Each orchard gets one vote.
If passed, the annual assessment would be based on the total number of peach trees per commercial orchard. Those who grow between 100 and 500 trees would be assessed $100. Growers with 501 to 2,500 trees would be assessed $250. Those who grow more than 2,500 trees would be assessed $350.
To pass, the assessment needs a two-thirds majority of votes. The assessment would be in effect from January 2015 through December 2020.
More information about the referendum is available on the N.C. Peach Growers Society’s website at www.ncpeachgrowers.com/referendum.