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Michigan producers of cherries to vote on program continuation

Michigan producers of sweet and tart cherries have an opportunity to vote on whether to continue the Michigan Cherry Promotion and Development Program in a referendum conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). The referendum will begin Monday, February 7 and runs through Friday, February 18, 2022.

Ballots were mailed Monday, January 31, 2022, to cherry producers. Producers are eligible to vote if they produced cherries valued at more than $800 at first point-of-sale in any of the last three years.

The Michigan Cherry Promotion and Development Program was developed to improve the economic position of Michigan cherry producers by creating greater marketing opportunities for Michigan cherries. The program was established in May 1992. By law, it must be re-submitted for grower approval every five years. Currently, the assessment is $10 per ton for sweet or tart cherries and $5 per ton for cherries sold for juice.

For the program to be renewed, more than 50 percent of the producer votes cast, representing more than 50 percent of the total unit of measure represented on the cast ballots, must approve it.

For the purpose of this referendum, each producer is entitled to one vote representing a single firm, individual proprietorship, corporation, company, association, partnership, or a husband-wife or family ownership. All ballots must be filled out completely, signed and postmarked by February 18, 2022, and should be sent to MDARD, Executive Office, P.O. Box 30017, Lansing, MI 48909.

Eligible producers with questions or those who have not received a ballot should contact Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at toll-free at 800-292-3939 or send an email to Guardiolaj1@Michigan.gov.