RALEIGH — Peach farmers across the state will have a chance to vote on a new assessment for commercial growers during a mail-in referendum. The assessment was proposed by the N.C. Peach Growers Society to provide funds for research and marketing to support the peach industry in North Carolina.
Ballots will be mailed to each orchard in the state by Oct. 1, and growers will have a week to return the ballots. Backup ballots will be available at local N.C. Cooperative Extension offices and available for download through the N.C. Peach Portal at http://peaches.ces.ncsu.edu.
In order to vote, an individual must be 18 years old by Oct. 1 and also be an orchard owner, a designated family member or an orchard manager. Only one vote per orchard will be allowed.
The assessment would be tiered and based on the total number of trees a grower has. Growers with less than 500 trees would be assessed $100. Those who grow between 500 and 2,500 trees would be assessed $250. Growers with 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 2014 through December 2018.
The N.C. Board of Agriculture approved the society’s request for the referendum at its May 28 meeting. More information about the referendum is available at the N.C. Peach Growers Society’s website at www.ncpeachgrowers.com/referendum.