If you want to voice your opinion on the Sunflower Marketing Order, you have only until June 22 to make your vote count.
Growers of sunflowers in Colorado are urged to vote to an amendment on their marketing order which doubles the current 3-cent per hundredweight assessment to support work under the order. The new 6-cent per cwt. rate is recommended by the Colorado Sunflower Administrative Committee, which runs the order.
"If you are a sunflower producer, please express your opinion by voting on this important referendum," comments Colorado Agricultural Commissioner John Salazar. "This is your marketing order and the decision on an assessment increase is a big decision and should be made by those who will be most affected – Colorado's sunflower producers."
The order establishes and expands markets for producers under a Colorado Department of Agriculture-monitored program. It is also designed to create and expand the crop itself as a viable commodity for state farmers.
The current 3-cent assessment rate was set in 2001, when the Colorado Sunflower Administrative Committee began its work. If passed, the increase is set to be invested in sunflower research that will discover yield improvements and new management strategies for disease and insect pest management, all which could save producers money in their yearly farm costs.
Improve hybrid testing strategies would also be funded under the increase, if passed, and quality improvement to both oil and confection sunflower types would be advanced.
Ballots mailed to producers on June 1 must be postmarked to the Colorado Department of Agriculture no later than June 22. Proposed amendments to the order must be approved by a simple majority of sunflower producers eligible to vote on the referendum for the new rate to become law.
Producers who believe they are eligible to vote but who have not received ballots may request forms by contacting the CDA. An eligible producer is defined as any person who is engaged in the business of producing or causing to be produced at least 20 acres of market sunflowers in Colorado.
For questions, and to request a ballot, contact Tom Lipetzky at CDA at (303) 239-4100 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.