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SPUD SUPPORT NEEDED: To maintain the USDA federal marketing order for the handling of Irish potatoes in Washington, USDA needs producers to vote. The referendum runs June 9-23.

Washington potato-grower votes needed

USDA is conducting a referendum to determine if a potato federal marketing order will be continued.

The federal marketing order that governs potatoes in Washington is up for a vote. The federal marketing order is for regulating the handling of Irish potatoes grown in the state. Producers who raised potatoes in the state from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016 are eligible to vote.

A continuance referendum for the marketing order is required every six years. USDA would consider terminating the order if less than two-thirds of the producers voting in the referendum and producers of less than two-thirds of the volume of potatoes represented in the referendum favor continuing the program. USDA can, according to the notice in the Federal Register, elect to continue the marketing order even if the vote is lower than needed.

The Washington potato marketing order provides authority for regulating potato grade, size, quality, maturity and container rules. The state of Washington Potato Committee administers the marketing order locally.

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service will mail ballots and voting instructions to all producers of record. Watch your mailbox — and if you don't receive a ballot, reach out to Teresa Hutchinson at [email protected] or Gary Olson at [email protected], or call 503-326-2724. You can also use traditional mail by sending a note to the Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1120 SW 3rd Ave., Suite 305, Portland, OR 97204.

Source: USDA AMS

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