WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a referendum is to be conducted among U.S. mushroom producers and importers, according to a USDA news release.

The referendum is scheduled for July 6-17.

Mushroom producers and importers will vote on proposed change to the Mushroom, Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order to reapportion membership of the Mushroom Council to reflect shifts in domestic mushroom production.

Another change to be voted on would add language to the powers and duties section of the order allowing the council to develop and propose good agricultural and handling practices for mushrooms.

The referendum will be conducted via mail ballot by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

Ballots and voting instructions will be mailed to all known mushroom producers and importers by June 29.

Any eligible producer and importer who does not receive a ballot by July 6 should contact Jeanette Palmer, the referendum agent.

The Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act requires that changes be approved by a majority of producers and importers voting in the referendum, with the majority annually producing and importing more than 50 percent of mushrooms into the United States.

Voters must have paid assessments during Jan. 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2008.

The Mushroom, Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order was implemented under the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1990.

The order was developed to finance an effective and coordinated program of generic promotion, consumer information, and related research designed to maintain and expand markets for mushrooms.

The proposed rule and referendum order will be published in the June 5 Federal Register, and can be found on the Internet at www.ams.usda.gov/FVPromotion.

For more information, contact Jeanette Palmer, marketing specialist, at (888) 720-9917 or e-mail Jeanette.Palmer@ams.usda.gov.