(April 28) While California peach growers await the results of a referendum that would allow them to follow their counterparts in the nectarine business to create their own state marketing order, another referendum allowed for changes in the federal marketing order for both commodities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said April 24 that California peach and nectarine growers had approved several adjustments in the federal program.

“There was a list of 10 or 12 things we needed brought up to date, like being able to get a line of credit, borrow money, that kind of stuff,” said Gary Van Sickle, director of research and regulatory compliance for the Reedley-based California Tree Fruit Agreement, which administers the marketing orders.

In the referendum, which took place in March, growers voted to make the following changes in the federal marketing order:

  • increase the Nectarine Administrative Committee from eight to 13 members;

  • eliminate the Shippers Advisory Committee under order 916;

  • allow the Control Committee to be suspended if the provisions of one commodity are suspended and transfer applicable duties and responsibilities to the remaining commodity committee; and

  • authorize interest and late payment charges on assessments paid late.

Nectarine growers already have approved creation of a state marketing order for their crop. A similar referendum for peach growers had been extended to April 17 because not enough of them participated in the first round of voting, the CTFA said.