Agriculture Press Release

February 13, 2004

Florida Citrus Producers Approve Research and Marketing Order in Referendum

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today announced the results of the referendum for citrus growers that was held in January to determine whether the Citrus Production Marketing Order was to be renewed for another six years.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services mailed ballots on January 1 to those who produce and market citrus.  The returned ballots had to be postmarked no later than January 31, 2004.

Under Chapter 573, Florida Statues, the referendum must win approval of 65 percent of those voting, who represent 51 percent of the voting acreage.  The initial order set the assessment fee at one-half cent per box.  The current fee is three-fourths cent per box, and by law cannot exceed one cent per box.

In the past 12 years, the program has generated more than $18 million, which has been used on research to eradicate citrus pests and diseases, and improve varieties and management practices, among other research project.  The marketing order is administered by the 14-member Florida Citrus Production Research Advisory Council, which consists of Florida citrus growers appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture to recommend the annual assessment fee and determine which projects are funded.

The results of the referendum are as follows:

Number of growers voting YES:                                   652

Number of growers voting  NO:                                    206

Percentage of growers voting YES:                               76 percent

Acreage represented by YES vote:                               296,351

Acreage represented by NO vote:                                 44,015

Percentage of acreage represented by YES vote:           87 percent

Percentage of acreage represented by NO vote:            13 percent

For more information:
Tony Fendrick
(850) 487-3153

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