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Referendum Order on Proposed Amendments to the Pennsylvania Potato Research Program

[47 Pa.B. 2444]
[Saturday, April 29, 2017]

 A referendum will be held to vote on recommended changes to the Pennsylvania Potato Research Program. In summary, the proposed amendments would: (1) revise the total board member seats from eleven (11), members, one of whom is the Secretary of Agriculture or his/her designee, to a minimum of nine (9), but no more than eleven (11), members, one of whom shall be the Secretary of Agriculture or his/her designee; (2) revise the regular meetings of the Program to be held at least two (2) times per year as opposed to three (3) times per year; (3) revise the producer charge amount from $5.00 per acre to $8.00 per acre.

 After a public hearing held on November 1, 2016 and in accordance with Section 4503 of the Agricultural Commodities Marketing Act, this office finds that the proposed amendments tend to effectuate the purposes of the Agricultural Commodities Marketing Act.

 I. The Pennsylvania Potato Research Program was established under the provisions of the Agricultural Commodities Marketing Act. The Act requires that the Secretary of Agriculture call a referendum of affected producers any time there is a proposed change to the program order. The referendum to be held for the Pennsylvania Potato Research Program will determine whether a majority of those voting desire the requested changes.

 II. Referendum Period: The referendum period shall be from April 24, 2017, until 4 p.m. on May 9, 2017. Completed ballots shall be mailed or hand-delivered to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Market Development, Room 310, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17110-9408. Hand-delivered ballots must be received by 4 p.m. on May 9, 2017. Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked no later than May 9, 2017, and received no later than May 12, 2017.

 III. Notice of Referendum: This referendum order and an official ballot shall be mailed no later than April 17, 2017, to all affected producers whose names appear on the list of Pennsylvania potato producers maintained in the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. Additional copies of the same materials shall be made available at the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture.

 IV. Eligible Voters: The rules governing the eligibility of a producer for voting are as follows: The record date for determination of whether a producer is eligible to vote is April 17, 2017. All potato producers who produced, grew, or caused to be grown five (5) or more acres of potatoes for sale or marketing in the Commonwealth in calendar year 2016 and intend to produce, grow, or cause to be grown five (5) or more acres of potatoes for sale or marketing in the Commonwealth in calendar year 2017 are eligible to vote.

 V. Counting of Ballots: The ballots will be canvassed and counted by a Teller Committee appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The counting of the ballots will begin at 10 a.m., Monday, May 15, 2017, at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17110. The Secretary will announce the results of the referendum within 30 days following the completion of the referendum period. The results will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and the Harrisburg Patriot-News, and disseminated to the news media.

 VI. Reporting Irregularities: Any irregularities or disputes concerning the referendum procedures must be reported in written form to the Secretary of Agriculture not later than seven (7) calendar days from the end of the referendum period.

 VII. Publication: This referendum order shall be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and the Harrisburg Patriot-News.

 VIII. Effective Date: The foregoing order shall be effective immediately.

RUSSELL C. REDDING, 
Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-710. Filed for public inspection April 28, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]



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