Good Fruit Grower

December 2012

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be assessed an additional $1 per ton of production, in addition to their cur- rent WTFRC assessment. This assessment will run for a time not to exceed eight years or until a total of $27 million is achieved, and then it will disappear. This $27 million gift to the WSU Capital Campaign for Tree Fruit is the largest single investment in WSU's history. Apples and pears In accordance with referendum results, the Special Project Assessment activities will be solely focused on apple and pear. In fact, activities have already begun. With regular input from the Endowment Advisory Com- mittee, comprising seven industry representatives, WSU is recruiting world-class scientists to fill priority positions. Our new tree fruit extension team leader, Des Layne, will be moving from Clemson University to WSU Wenatchee in February 2013. His position will be par- tially funded by endowment dollars; additional funding contributed by WSU permits him to work across all crops, including cherry and stone fruit. A second endowed chair at Wenatchee, funded solely through the endowment, will focus solely on apple and pear horticulture. The university expects to fill that posi- tion by August 2013. Over the next seven years, up to five more endowed chairs will be recruited, and an equal amount invested for positions in technology and information transfer. While these investments in people and resources will certainly continue the trajectory of Washington apple and pear growers, cherry and stone fruit will not directly benefit from any expansion of activities based on revenues from the special project assessment. Of course, the ongoing research supported by current grower assessments will continue. The Research Com- mission annually collects around $450,000 and the Ore- gon Sweet Cherry Commission around $200,000. Both organizations collaborate closely to fund solid research on problems of the most importance to our industries. Cherry and stone fruits Nonetheless, the Research Commission has returned to ask Washington's cherry and stone fruit growers to reconsider the same referendum they failed to pass a year ago. The Washington State Fruit Commission unan- imously advocated this course of action early this year. Since then, the Research Commission has worked with the Washington State Department of Agriculture to comply with regulatory requirements, including holding two public hearings, on November 14 in Yakima and November 15 in Wenatchee. Cherry and stone fruit growers can still provide their input directly to the Research Commission or WSDA at any time. Such input will be considered by the WSDA and the Director of Agri- culture before approving a vote on the referendum. In mid-December, all cherry and stone fruit growers will be mailed ballots, which must be returned by mid-January 2013. Assessment The referendum will be substantively the same as the one offered in 2011, except it will only address cherry and stone fruit, and the assessment would commence a year later, on the 2013 crop. It will be time limited to eight years, or until $5 million (the proportionate amount that was expected from cherry and stone fruit under the 2011 measure) is reached, whichever happens first, and then it will disappear. Cherry growers would be assessed a per-ton amount equivalent to their current assessment of $4 per ton. Similarly, stone fruit growers would be assessed $1 per ton. The issue of $4 per ton on cherries versus $1 per ton on the other crops understandably concerns many because cherries are volatile and returns can be wildly different across and within seasons. However, a typical GOOD FRUIT GROWER DECEMBER 2012 67 For additional information WSU Campaign for Tree Fruit: WTFRC web site: WTFRC contact: Jim McFerson, mcferson@treefruit WSDA contact: Kelly Frost, Servin ngg A Am 3035 R cherry block in Washing- ton could produce around five ton per acre and thus be assessed $20 per acre. A typical apple block produces around 20 tons per acre (approximately 45 bins per acre) and would be assessed $20 per acre. Over the long run, cherry growers would be assessed annually at about the same rate as apple growers, and somewhat more than pear growers. Stone fruit growers are a much smaller part of the industry and at an assessment of $1 per acre, contribute significantly less than the other tree fruit crops. Another concern has been the adequacy of the cherry and stone fruit grower list used by the WSDA to mail bal- lots. Over the past year, the Fruit Commission has thor- oughly reviewed and revised its list, which should make it easier for cherry and stone fruit growers to determine if they are receiving ballots correctly for each business entity that is assessed. Separate votes for each commodity Finally, it is important to note that the referenda for cherries and stone fruit are separate votes. Each grower will receive ballots based on the number of entities they are farming for each commodity. That is, if you have a cherry block and a stone fruit block, you would get a separate ballot for each. Returning all ballots mailed to you will ensure your voice is heard as the industry makes this decision. The two referenda will pass or fail based on a simple majority of growers voting. You can't do much about the weather, but you can vote! • meerica's Lan 5 Ricken a s Landown s wners S Si ncence 1 192 9 enbab cher D vr Driive Pasco, Washington 99301 Ca lll us f for y our f farm r real estat e ne

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