Feb 7, 2014
Tart cherry producers to vote on marketing order

Tart cherry growers and handlers will soon decide whether to extend the life of their industry’s federal marketing order, known as the Cherry Industry Administrative Board (CIAB), for another six years.

USDA will send ballots to CIAB members via mail. The voting period is March 10-24. To renew the marketing order, more than 50 percent of the voters – by number or by tonnage – must vote yes, said Perry Hedin, CIAB’s executive director.

CIAB was created in 1996, after the industry petitioned USDA for a new federal marketing order. The order is based in Michigan, which typically produces about three-quarters of the U.S. tart cherry crop. The order also encompasses growers and handlers in Utah, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania. The last referendum – held every six years – was in 2008, Hedin said.

CIAB’s traditional role has been balancing supply and demand. If supply was predicted to be higher than demand in a particular year, the marketing order restricted the surplus – not allowing it to be sold in domestic markets. Processors were allowed to sell restricted product in new markets and other designated outlets, however.

The marketing order still seeks to balance supply and demand, but its method of calculation isn’t as restrictive as it used to be, Hedin said.

In addition, CIAB has expanded its focus in the last several years – to the benefit of growers. Promotion of tart cherries is more of a priority. Since 2006, the marketing order has spent an average of $1.4 million per year (71 percent of its budget) on promotional activities. CIAB works jointly with the Cherry Marketing Institute on tart cherry promotions, Hedin said.

Matt Milkovich

75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
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