For the first time, eligible peanut producers can opt to vote electronically or by paper ballot.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published a notice in the Federal Register announcing a referendum among eligible producers of peanuts to determine whether they favor continuance of the Peanut Promotion, Research and Information Order (Order), which authorizes the National Peanut Board.
The referendum will be conducted from April 15 through May 3, 2019. USDA will provide the option for electronic balloting. Further details will be stated in the official ballot instructions, which will be sent by regular U. S. mail to all eligible peanut producers. Voters must return ballots postmarked by May 3, 2019. Ballots returned via express mail or electronic means must show proof of delivery by no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on May 3, 2019.
To be eligible to vote in this continuance referendum, persons must have produced peanuts and been subject to assessments during the representative period from June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018.
Under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 (Act), the U.S. Department of Agriculture must conduct a referendum every five years or when 10 percent or more of the eligible peanut producers petition the Secretary of Agriculture to hold a referendum to determine if persons subject to assessment favor continuance of the Order. The Department of Agriculture would continue the Order if continuance is approved by a simple majority of the producers voting in the referendum.
Jeanette Palmer and Heather Pichelman, PED, SCP, AMS, USDA, Stop 0244, Room 1406-S, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-0244, are designated as the referendum agents to conduct this referendum. The referendum agents will distribute the ballots and voting instructions by
U. S. mail or through electronic means to all known producers prior to the first day of the voting period. Persons who produced peanuts and were subject to assessments during the representative period are eligible to vote.
Any eligible producer who does not receive a ballot should contact the referendum agent as soon as possible.