Helena, Mont. – Montana cherry growers have voted to eliminate the Montana Cherry Research & Market Development Program. The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) will now take the necessary steps to eliminate the checkoff program.
“With 75 percent of the cherry growers voting in favor of elimination, the Department’s directive is clear and we will begin eliminating the program immediately,” said MDA Director Ben Thomas.
After a September 14, 2017 public hearing where feedback on both sides of the issue was heard, a ballot referendum was sent by mail to over 100 Montana cherry growers. MDA received 69 completed ballots, with the final vote tally being 52-17 in favor of elimination. MDA will repeal all rules and administrative policies and procedures associated with the program. Per 80-11-513, MCA, any remaining checkoff funds will now revert to the state’s general fund.
The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries.