S. Texas Onion Committee Manager and CEO/President of the Texas International Produce Association Dante Galeazzi announced on May 3 that the USDA notified him that day, advising that a referendum will be conducted this summer “to determine the future of the marketing order (FMO #959).”
He wrote to the industry and to committee members, “The [USDA] announcement reads as follows:
“`The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it will conduct another referendum among South Texas onion producers to determine their level of support for continuing their federal marketing order.
“`Results of a referendum USDA conducted with producers in 2020 failed to reach the level of support among voting producers for continuing the marketing order. However, feedback received during the public comment period of the proposed termination of the program demonstrated support for keeping the order. To assess the true level of producer support for the program, the Secretary of Agriculture has determined that a second referendum is appropriate.
“`The marketing order requires that a continuance referendum be held every six years. USDA would consider continuing the marketing order if two-thirds of the growers, or growers representing two-thirds of the volume of Texas onions in the referendum, vote in favor of continuance.
“`The dates of the new voting period will be published in an upcoming issue of the Federal Register. USDA will also notify producers of the dates and publish them on the Agricultural Marketing Service website.’”
Dante added, “As STOC receives additional information, including the dates, we will be sure to share and keep the industry apprised of these developments. Additionally, STOC will be holding Committee nominations in the near future for any necessary seats. The last nominations were held in early 2020. More information on that process soon as well.”