The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will conduct a referendum from June 8 – 24, 2011, for eligible processed raspberry producers and importers to determine whether a new national Processed Raspberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order should be established.


The program will be implemented if approved by a majority of eligible producers and importers voting in the referendum. Producers and importers of more than 20,000 pounds of raspberries for processing or processed raspberries, annually, are eligible to vote in the referendum.


If implemented, the program would be administered by a 13-member council and its alternates who will be responsible for carrying out activities intended to strengthen the position of the processed raspberry industry in the marketplace. In addition, the council will work to develop, maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets for processed raspberries and raspberries for processing.


The national coordinated generic program would be financed by a mandatory assessment of 1 cent per pound paid by producers of raspberries for processing and importers of processed raspberries. Producers and importers of less than 20,000 pounds annually would be exempt from paying assessments.


The referendum order will be published in the May 5, 2011, Federal Register, and posted electronically on the Internet at www.ams.usda.gov/FVPromotion and www.regulations.gov.


AMS will mail the ballots, voting instructions and a summary of the proposed program to all known eligible producers and importers of raspberries for processing and processed raspberries respectively. Eligible producers or importers who do not receive a ballot should contact Kimberly Coy, Research and Promotion Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, Stop 0244, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-0244; by calling (888) 720-9917; faxing (202) 205-2800; or e-mailing Kimberly.Coy@ams.usda.gov.