Vegetable marketing order approved

The marketing order which Georgia vegetable growers voted on in a referendum that ran from Jan. 14 through Feb. 12, passed by an 80-percent margin, the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Vegetables has announced.

On April 1, the marketing order began assessing growers who annually produce 50 acres or more of squash, cabbage, leafy greens, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, beans and/or cantaloupes. Growers who produce less than 50 acres of total annual production of the affected vegetables will not be assessed. Growers will receive information on the new order in the mail.

The marketing order is expected to generate between $250,000 to $400,000 in funds. Under Georgia law, the funds raised under the marketing order can be used for commodity promotion, education or research. Vegetable Commission Chairman Bo Herndon of Lyons says he and the four other members of the commission have committed that at least 75 percent of the funds collected under the marketing order will be used for vegetable research.

“As we held meetings around the state, our growers wanted to see these funds used for research to solve some of the problems we have on the farm. We believe addressing these problems will provide the greatest amount of help to the producer,” Herndon said in a released statement.

Growers will be assessed one cent per marketing unit. Marketing units are defined as one bushel for bell pepper, beans, cucumber and squash. Sweet corn will be assessed on a unit of one box (45 to 52 ears). Tomatoes will be assessed on a unit of 25 pounds. Greens will be assessed on a unit of one box/container of 22 to 30 pounds or if packed in bulk, a unit is one dozen bunches. Cabbage will be assessed on a unit of one box of about 50 pounds. Cantaloupes will be assessed on a unit equal to a 24-count box; a bin will be assessed as five units.

In addition to Herndon, commission members are Vice-Chairman Felton Coggins of Lake Park, Jim Gillespie of Rabun Gap, Dick Minor of Andersonville, and Greg Murray of Bainbridge. Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin and Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall serve as ex-officio members.

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