Georgia Growers Now Voting on Citrus Commission Funding

Daniel CooperGeorgia, Legislative


Through April 30, Georgia citrus producers are voting in a referendum to determine if they will fund the newly formed Georgia Citrus Commission. If growers pass the referendum, the state will begin collecting an assessment from citrus growers to carry out research, education and promotion projects coordinated by the commission. The commission consists of Georgia citrus growers. 

At the request of growers, the Georgia legislature last year passed legislation to create the Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commission for Citrus (Georgia Citrus Commission). Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law.

The legislation gave the citrus commission authority to work with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to develop a marketing order to assess citrus fruit grown, packed and marketed in Georgia. The assessment funds collected by the Georgia Citrus Commission can be used for research projects to benefit the citrus industry, education projects (for growers or consumers) regarding Georgia citrus and promotion of Georgia citrus products to consumers.

The commission has set a priority of using assessment funds to support research projects conducted by the University of Georgia and possibly the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those projects would address production issues such as protecting orchards from diseases and insects, best orchard management strategies and freeze protection.

The members of the commission have set the assessment rate for the market order to be no more than two tenths of a cent per pound of packed and marketed fruit. This applies to Georgia producers who market or have the potential to market 50,000 pounds or more of citrus fruit annually.

Ballots must be completely filled out and the back of the return envelope signed and postmarked by April 30. Qualified Georgia citrus growers who did not receive a ballot should contact Andy Harrison at or 404-710-1196.       

For the market order to be approved, 25% of the ballots sent to citrus growers must be returned and 66% (two-thirds) of the returned ballots must be yes votes. If approved, the marketing order will be in effect for three years. At the end of the three years, Georgia citrus growers would vote again to decide if they want to continue funding the citrus commission.

If and when the commission is funded, citrus growers eligible for voting in the referendum will be able to nominate and vote for future commission members.

Source: Georgia Farm Bureau

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