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Michigan’s Tree Fruit Producers to Vote on Program Continuation

LANSING – The state’s tree fruit producers will have an opportunity to vote on whether or not to continue the Michigan Tree Fruit Research and Development Program in a referendum conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) beginning Monday, February 26, 2024, through Friday, March 8, 2024.

Ballots will be mailed by MDARD to Michigan apple, cherry, peach, and plum producers of record. Eligible producers with questions, or those not receiving a ballot, should contact MDARD toll-free at 800-292-3939.

The Michigan Tree Fruit Research and Development Program was created in 2013 under Agricultural Commodities Marketing Act 1965, PA 232 to improve the economic position and competitiveness of Michigan’s tree fruit industry by supporting the fruit research stations, research and extension programs. The goal for this program is to keep Michigan’s tree fruit industry on the cutting edge of new technology as well as implementation of new research that keep Michigan’s farmers economically viable in the world market into the future. 

The program was first approved in 2014 and, by law, must be renewed every five years. Currently, Michigan Tree Fruit may be assessed at a maximum rate of $2.50 per ton for cherries sold four cents per hundredweight; for apples sold; $2.00 per ton; for peaches sold; and $4.50 per ton for plums sold.  The Michigan Tree Fruit Commission can use a sliding scale to set the assessment rate each year at their spring meeting adjusting the rate as priorities are set. Additionally, the Commission may set a lesser rate for categories of fruit with a lower grade or value. If passed, the program would be sent back to the producers every five years for a continuation referendum.

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

For the purpose of this referendum, each producer, partnership, or corporation is entitled to one vote. All ballots must be filled out completely, signed, and postmarked by March 8, 2024, and should be sent to MDARD, Executive Office, P.O. Box 30017, Lansing, MI 48909. 


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