Producers’ vote fails to continue California pistachio commission
The California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) has announced the results of the Continuation Referendum for the California Pistachio Commission (CPC) and confirmed that California pistachio producers did not achieve the required threshold vote to continue the CPC.
“The CPC has served the industry extremely well for the past 26 years and I know that many of my fellow growers share my profound disappointment that we could not resolve our differences that have ultimately resulted in this vote that terminates the CPC,” stated CPC Chairman Kevin Herman, “I have always been a strong believer in the democratic system and therefore we must accept the fact that the voice of the growers has been heard.”
A constitutional challenge was filed against the CPC in October 2005 and since that time the CPC has been embroiled in litigation while attempting to negotiate a settlement resolution with the plaintiffs in the case. CDFA oversees the CPC and had conducted a public hearing in December 2006 to allow the industry to express their opinions as to potential structural and governance changes for the CPC that was enacted by the State Legislature in 1981.
Referendum ballots were mailed to all assessed growers on January 25, 2007 and included options to restructure the CPC for the purpose of resolving the current litigation. The referendum results revealed that 61 percent of the producers voted in the referendum and of those voting, 66 percent of the producers, representing 41 percent of the voted volume, voted to continue the CPC. However, this vote fell short of the requirement that for the CPC to continue, at least 65 percent of the producers, representing a majority of the voted volume, or the reverse, of those voting, must vote in favor.The CPC Board of Directors will meet Monday, March 5 to discuss the next steps in preparation for winding down the operations of the CPC.
“This has been a very difficult time for the industry and it is my sincere hope that the growers can move beyond their disappointment and start working together for the good of the industry,” stated Karen Reinecke, CPC President.
California produced its first commercial crop in 1976. The state is the largest producer of pistachios in the U.S. and the second largest in the world. A total of 734 growers farm 112,000 bearing acres with 40,000 nonbearing acres. The 2006 harvest produced 237 million pounds; the record to date was 347 million pounds produced in 2004.
California Pistachio Commission 1318 East Shaw Avenue, Suite 420Fresno, California 93710-7912T: (559) 221-8294 F: (559) 221-8044E-mail: email@example.comWeb site: www.pistachios.org