The U.S. Department of Agriculture will conduct a referendum Oct. 7–28, 2019, for Vidalia onion growers to vote on whether to continue their federal marketing order. Growers who produced Vidalia onions in Georgia from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018, are eligible to vote. Notice of the referendum was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 27, 2019.
USDA will consider continuing the marketing order if two-thirds or more of producers voting in the referendum, or producers representing two-thirds or more of the volume of Vidalia onions, vote in favor.
The marketing order enables the Vidalia onion industry and the Vidalia Onion Committee to conduct research and promotion initiatives under USDA’s oversight and requires a continuance referendum every six years to determine producers’ level of support for the program.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will mail ballots and voting instructions to all producers of record. Eligible producers who do not receive a ballot by Oct. 27 may contact Steven Kauffman at Steven.Kauffman@usda.gov or (863) 324-3375. Requests for a ballot may also be faxed to (863) 291-8614 or mailed to USDA, AMS, 1124 First Street South; Winter Haven, Fla. 33880.
More information about the marketing order regulating the handling of Vidalia onions produced in Georgia is available on the 955 Vidalia Onions webpage.
Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, marketing orders are industry-driven programs that help producers and handlers achieve marketing success by leveraging their own funds to design and execute programs that they would not be able to do individually. AMS provides oversight to 29 fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.