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Georgia Vegetable Growers
Overwhelmingly Approve
Marketing Order

Our piece, Important Day For Georgia’s Vegetable Growers…And Possibly For Entire Industry, pointed out that, if passed, the effort to establish a mandatory assessment commodity board covering a range of smaller items could be duplicated elsewhere:

The whole effort grows out of a frustration with getting enough funds, especially to conduct research related to horticultural issues. Federal and state funds are always tight; the Georgia cooperative extension just can’t do it all. So the growers are looking to invest in building their own industry.

It is an effort with national implications. Commodity boards with mandatory assessments have typically been limited to larger items because even frugal administrative costs, if applied to an assessment of only, say, $50,000 a year, make the whole project not make sense.

Yet, by combining nine items, they’ve managed to make what previously was not sensible into an entirely pragmatic possibility. We can expect other states to pursue a similar plan.

Now we just received word that the results of the grower ballot have been tabulated and a precedent has been established:

Georgia Growers Pass Vegetable Marketing Order

The Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Vegetables announced today the vegetable marketing order put forward to Georgia growers passed by an 80 percent margin.

“We are extremely pleased with the results of this vote. Our Georgia growers have voiced a strong show of support for their industry by passing this marketing order,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin.

The marketing order assesses growers with 50 acres or more of combined annual production of squash, cabbage, leafy greens, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, bean and cantaloupes at one cent per marketing unit. It is estimated the marketing order will generate $250,000 to $400,000 in funds from the assessment on vegetables grown in Georgia. Under Georgia law these funds can only be used for commodity promotion, education or research.

According to Bo Herndon of Lyons, Georgia, Chairman of the Commission, he and the four other members of the commission have committed that at least 75 percent of the funds collected from this Order will be used for vegetable research.

“As we held meetings around the state, our growers wanted to see these funds used for research and solve some of the problems we have on the farm. We believe addressing these problems will provide the greatest amount of help to the producer,” Herndon said.

The marketing order is effective as of April 1, 2008. Growers will be receiving information in the mail.

Congratulations to Charles Hall, Executive Director of the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA), Bo Herndon, Chairman, Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Vegetables (GCCV),President, L.G. Herndon Jr. Farms, Inc., Tommy Irvin, Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of Georgia and all the Georgia growers who will benefit from this board. The industry owes you a vote of thanks for setting an innovative example.

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