The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is busily preparing a list of eligible wine grape growers to vote in next year’s referendum to whether to continue the battle against Pierce’s disease and its pesky vector, the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS).
CDFA tells Western Farm Press that the referendum vote is tentatively planned for April but the date could change. The state agriculture department will stay in touch with growers on the final date.
The referendum will be held in 2015 as California Assembly Bill 1642 signed into law earlier this year reauthorized the Pierce's Disease Control Program, the PD/GWSS Board, PD Advisory Task Force, and PD/GWSS Winegrape Assessment for five more years.
Growers previously reauthorized the assessment in 2005 and 2010. This will be the third grower assessment vote.
The law allows a referendum of eligible growers on whether or not to continue the assessment to support research and other activities against Pierce's disease and the GWSS pest.
Eligibility is limited to those producers who paid the assessment on grapes crushed during the 2014 season. CDFA collects information from processors, producers, and others to help ensure the list is complete.
Growers should return their completed ballots within 30 days of the CDFA mailing date, yet the period could be extended to 60 days if necessary.
CDFA reminds growers that a ballot will be sent for each separate growing entity. Growers who represent multiple entities will receive multiple ballots. All ballots should be voted on and returned.