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Michigan Blueberry Producers to Vote to Establish a Research and Education Program

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

For immediate release: December 7, 2016 Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724 Industry contact: Shelly Hartmann, 269-434-6112

LANSING - A referendum to determine whether to establish a Michigan Blueberry Research and Education Program and creating a Michigan Blueberry Commission will be conducted from January 9, 2017 through January 20, 2017 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

The referendum of Michigan blueberry producers was authorized by MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams after her review of testimony given at two public hearings held in Holland and South Haven on November 29, 2016, and from written testimony received by MDARD. The proposed program would be administered by a committee of seven members appointed by Governor Rick Snyder – all Michigan blueberry producers - and fully funded by assessments on pounds of blueberries grown in Michigan. The proposed program calls for a maximum assessment of up to three tenths of a cent per pound of blueberries sold.

By law, the referendum is conducted by MDARD. An official ballot will be mailed to Michigan blueberry producers of record on January 5, 2017. For this program, eligible producers are those who are engaged in the business of producing or causing to be produced for any processing or fresh market outlet a quantity of more than 50,000 pounds within any one growing and marketing season within the last three years. All ballots must be postmarked no later than January 20, 2017.

For the program to be adopted, more than 50 percent of the votes cast, representing more than 50 percent of the total bushels voted, must approve the proposal.

Eligible producers not receiving a ballot after January 9, 2017 should contact MDARD at P.O. Box 30017, Lansing, MI  48909, or call toll-free (800) 292-3939.  Eligible producers may also request a ballot by sending an e-mail to merrilld@michigan.gov.

To review a copy of the Director’s Order and the proposed Michigan Blueberry Research & Education Program creating the Michigan Blueberry Commission, please visit www.michigan.gov/mdard.

 

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Distribution channels: Agriculture, Farming & Forestry