(Feb. 26, 3:15 p.m.) California almond growers are scheduled to cast ballots April 6-24 to determine whether to continue the state’s federal almond marketing order.

“I would be very surprised if growers don’t vote overwhelmingly to approve extending the marketing order,” said Richard Waycott, chief executive officer of the Almond Board of California, Modesto.

“Much of the success almond grower-shippers have enjoyed in California is due to the industry’s cohesion and collective efforts,” Waycott said.

By law, almond growers vote on the continuation every five years. The federal marketing order continues if at least two-thirds of the growers vote in favor of the order, or if the growers voting to continue the order represent two-thirds of the state’s annual almond volume.

California produced 1.6 billion pounds of almonds last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. That is more than double the 700 million pounds the California industry produced in 2000. The value of the 2008 crop, the federal agency reported, was more than $2.2 billion.