California nectarine and peach grower-shippers have voted to terminate the state’s tree fruit marketing board.

Growers reject California tree fruit marketing board

“In itself, it just means regrouping and doing what we’d been doing in the past,” said Gary Van Sickle, president of the Reedley-based California Tree Fruit Agreement.

The tree fruit marketing board was established five years ago and instituted, among other things, random inspections as opposed to mandatory inspections for every peach and nectarine grower-shipper.

The vote against the marketing board, Van Sickle said, may be tied to market prices this season, especially those for peaches.

“It was frustrating because of the national situation,” he said. “Spring weather delayed the start of the California harvest. By the time California peaches reached market, the smaller-sized fruit from other states had set low market prices.”

Even when large California peaches began reaching retailers, prices remained low, Van Sickle said.

The termination of the marketing board will mean an end to the assessments — approximately 2.6 cents per carton — that supported the program. As a result, CTFA is postponing the organization’s Dec. 9 committee and board meetings. Those meetings are tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 21.

“We need some time to get industry direction on budgetary issues,” Van Sickle said.

Votes on the CTFA’s federal programs, which are overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are scheduled for January.