Apr 9, 2012
California cherries get new marketing order

The California Cherry Marketing and Research Program has replaced the California Cherry Advisory Board (CCAB) as the marketing order for the state’s sweet cherry industry.

The transfer of responsibilities took place in early April, after a vote of growers and shippers.

CCAB was formed in 1993. Back then, 95 percent of all sweet cherries grown in the state were Bing, Rainier, Van and Lambert, said Jeff Colombini, chair of CCAB before it was replaced.

Since 1995, the cherry industry grew by leaps and bounds in the San Joaquin Valley, with other varieties becoming prominent. By the time it ended, CCAB covered less than half of all cherries produced in California.

Last year, CCAB set in motion a plan to establish a new marketing order, one that would cover the entire industry. On Nov. 15, a public hearing was held asking California sweet cherry growers whether they were in favor of forming a new marketing order that would include all varieties of cherries grown in the state. Due to overwhelming support, a referendum was scheduled for January, said Chris Zanobini, manager of CCAB before it was replaced.

The state’s cherry growers and packers voted to approve the new marketing order. Before the vote, Zanobini said the assessment rate under the new marketing order would start out at 7.5 cents for growers and 7.5 cents for packers per 18-pound box of cherries.

Colombini said the proposed marketing order would deal with export promotions. He also said it would allocate funding for research projects.

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