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From the American Beekeeping Federation News
U.S. Honey Producer Board Election Being Held
Ballots have been mailed to eligible voters for the U.S Honey Producer Board. The official referendum period is May 17 to June 4, 2010.
The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) urges the eligible voters to consider the issue carefully and to cast their ballots in time to be counted. Strong participation is necessary for the referendum to reflect the wishes of the producers.
The referendum is for eligible producers of U.S. honey to decide whether a new national U.S Honey Producer Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Order should be established. If the referendum passes, what has been called the U.S Honey Producer Board will be established. It would be similar to the National Honey Board (NHB), except where the NHB is funded by assessments paid by importers and honey packers, the new board would be funded totally by assessments on U.S.-produced honey.
The program will be implemented if approved by a majority of producers voting who also represent a majority of the volume of U.S. honey produced during the representative period. To be eligible to vote in the referendum, producers must have produced 100,000 or more pounds of honey from Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008.
If implemented, the program would be administered by a seven-member board and its alternates – from seven regions – who will be responsible for carrying out activities intended to strengthen the position of the U.S. honey industry in the marketplace. In addition, the board will work to develop, maintain and expand domestic markets for U.S. honey.
The national coordinated generic program would be financed by a mandatory assessment of two cents per pound paid by U.S. honey producers; a U.S. producer who produces less than 100,000 pounds would be exempt from paying assessments.
These links will take you to:
- A summary of the program from USDA-AMS (PDF file)
- The proposed order, as published in the Federal Register (PDF file)
- The referendum procedures, as published in the Federal Register (PDF file)
USDA-AMS has mailed the ballots, voting instructions and a summary of the proposed program to all known eligible producers of U.S. honey. The list of eligible voters was drawn from the records of the old National Honey Board, using 2008 assessments when producers had to report their production.
Producers who feel they are eligible, but did 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.
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