By Jack Ruff, NCDA&CS
On February 16, 2017, it was announced that the NC Tomato Growers Association will conduct a statewide referendum in March to continue the $20 per acre assessment on harvested commercial tomatoes.
Funds generated by the assessment would support research, education and marketing to promote tomatoes grown in North Carolina.
The proposed assessment term is six years, beginning with the 2017 crop. All NC farmers engaged in the production of tomatoes on a commercial basis, including owners of farms where tomatoes are produced, tenants and sharecroppers, are eligible to vote.
Ballots will be mailed to growers March 2, 2017. Those who have not received ballots by March 6, 2017, will have 10 days to apply for an official ballot from the association by contacting Ellen Moss, executive secretary of the NCTGA, by phone at 828.685.3989, via email, or by mail at 2491 St. Paul’s Road, Hendersonville NC 28792.
Growers should indicate their preference and return ballots by mail. Ballots must be postmarked by 5pm March 23, 2017.
The proposed assessment referendum must pass by a two-thirds majority. If approved, the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will continue to collect the assessment. Funds collected will be administered by the NC Tomato Growers Association board of directors.
The NC Tomato Growers Association’s Board information is online at www.ncagr.gov/markets/commodit/horticul/tomatoes/board.htm.