Producers vote to start blueberry checkoff

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LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s blueberry producers recently approved a referendum establishing a Michigan Blueberry Research and Education Program.

This program will be administered by a new Michigan Blueberry Commission, which will be compromised of seven Michigan blueberry producers appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The program will be fully funded by assessments on blueberries with a maximum assessment of up to three tenths of a cent per pound of blueberries sold.

The effective date is May 1, 2017. The program was proposed by blueberry producers to help improve the economic position and competitiveness of Michigan’s blueberry industry by supporting research.

The goal for this program is to keep Michigan’s blueberry industry on the cutting edge of new technology, as well as to implement new research keeping the state’s farmers economically competitive in the growing world market.

Of the 82 ballots received, 61 producers voted yes, 74 percent, representing more than 36,000,000 pounds, and 21 producers voted no, 26 percent representing more than 13,000,000 pounds.

For the program to be adopted, more than 50 percent of the producer votes cast and more than 50 percent of the total production amount represented on the cast ballot must approve the proposal.

The referendum was conducted from Jan. 9-20.

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