Good Fruit Grower

May 15

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QUICK BITES Read more Quick Bites at Call for: • TREES • ROOTSTOCK • INTERSTEMS Cherry vote gets the go ahead • BENCH GRAFTS • SLEEPING EYES • ROYALTIES Washington cherry and stone fruit growers will vote again on a special assessment to support research at WSU. T TOP QUALITY VIRUS TESTED VERY COMPETITIVE PRICING CONTRACTS FOR 2013, 2014, 2015 Custom Contracted Apple, Pear, Cherry & Peach Trees A TIMELY REMINDER: • Time to order 2013 Dormant Eyes, 2014 and 2015 Trees, and 2013 Rootstocks. Paul Tvergyak: 509-669-0689 We ship nationwide, so please call for price and availability! 509/662-6931 1261 Ringold Rd., PO Box 300 • Eltopia, WA 99330 6 MAY 15, 2012 GOOD FRUIT GROWER he Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission's board has voted unanimously to send out a second referendum to Washington cherry and soft fruit growers asking if they will approve a special assessment to fund research at Washington State University. Last fall, tree fruit growers in the state received a ballot on whether to support an added research assessment, equivalent to the amount they already pay, to the Washing- ton Tree Fruit Research Commission. The rate was $1 a ton on apples, pears, and soft fruits, and $4 a ton on cherries. A majority of apple and pear growers voted in favor of a special assessment, which they will begin paying on the 2012 crop, but only 44 percent of the 308 cherry ballots returned were in favor of the special assessment. A simple majority was required for it to pass. Of the 54 ballots returned by stone fruit growers, 24 were in favor, also a 44 percent favorable vote. Dr. Jim McFerson, manager of the Research Commission, said the commission hopes that the new referendum, which will be conducted through the Washington State Department of Agriculture, can be sent out in late fall or early winter when growers are not busy harvesting their crops. It takes several months to prepare for a referendum, but a small-business impact assessment will not be required this time, as it was conducted for the first referendum. The proposed assessment rate will be the same, at $4 a ton. The Research Commission made its decision based on a recommendation from the Washington State Fruit Commission. At their March meeting, Fruit Commission board members attributed the lack of sup- port for the special assessment among soft fruit growers to an incomplete mailing list and a lack of information about why it was necessary. B.J. Thurlby, Fruit Commission president, said the commission has worked with packers to make the mailing list more accurate and complete. The Fruit Commission board voted to support a second referen- dum with the proviso that the Research Commission conduct an educational campaign to explain to growers how the special assessment would be used. The additional money collected on apples and pears, which should amount to $27 million over the next eight years, will help pay for six endowed research positions and five technology transfer, or extension, positions to work on research specifically to benefit the apple and pear industries. WSU has begun the hiring process for an endowed chair in pome fruit horticulture and physiology and a tree fruit extension team leader. Part of the funds will be used to update WSU's research orchards in Prosser and Wenatchee. McFerson said cherry and soft fruit growers need to be on board so they can benefit from research on new varieties as well as new growing techniques and pest management strategies, etc., and continue to be among the world's most competitive producers. Should the referendum pass, the additional $4 a ton assessment would generate $600,000 to $700,000 a year, assuming a total crop of 150,000 to 175,000 tons annually. Michigan cherry program continues M ichigan cherry producers have voted to continue the Michigan Cherry Promotion and Development Program. It will continue for five more years beginning July 1. Growers pay $10 at ton for sweet or tart cherries and $5 a ton for cherries sold for juice. The program was established in 1972 to improve the economic position of the state's cherry producers by identifying additional marketing opportunities for Michigan cherries. One hundred thirty valid ballots were cast in the referendum. Of those, 114 producers representing 99,099,704.5 pounds of cherries voted yes—88 percent of the voters and 91 percent of the production volume. Continuation required simple majorities of growers and volume. QUALITY FRUIT TREES ! HIGHEST

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