HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania apple growers are set to vote on a new Apple Program Order during a referendum that will remain open through April 18.
The referendum includes an assessment rate of $0.05 per bushel for fresh apples and $0.01 per bushel for processed apples.
Ballots were mailed March 27 to all qualified growers — those with 500 or more apple trees. All ballots must be postmarked no later than April 18 and must be received by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture by close of business April 21.
If approved by growers, the new Pennsylvania Apple Program will replace the existing Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program (PAMP), which is set to expire May 26 after growers voted to discontinue the program in that form.
If approved by voters, the new program would generate an annual budget estimated between $200,000 and $250,000.
The use of those resources would be limited to funding membership in the U.S. Apple Association, as well as research, consumer education, and necessary administrative costs.
If approved, the program would be led by a board of seven members, including the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture or an appointed designee. The board would meet at least two times per year.