The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that a continuance referendum is scheduled to be conducted among producers and importers of highbush blueberries from July 5 through July 26, 2011.

During the referendum, eligible producers and importers of highbush blueberries will vote on whether to continue the Blueberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order. The program will be continued if it is favored by a majority of the producers and importers voting in the referendum, who also represent a majority of the volume of highbush blueberries produced or imported during the period of Jan.1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2010.

The Blueberry Order is authorized under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996. The order was developed to administer an effective and coordinated program of generic promotion, consumer information and related research designed to increase consumption of blueberries. Referendum procedures are included in the order, which can be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/FVPromotion.

The referendum will be conducted by mail ballot. Ballots and voting instructions will be mailed to all known eligible producers and importers of highbush blueberries by June 24, 2011. Any eligible producer or importer who does not receive a ballot by July 5, 2011, should contact Veronica Douglass, the referendum agent.

For additional information, contact Veronica Douglass, Marketing Specialist, or Sonia Jimenez, Chief, Research and Promotion Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, USDA, AMS, 1400 Independence Avenue, Room 0632-S, Stop 0244, Washington, D.C. 20250-0244; calling toll free (888) 720-9917; faxing (202) 205-2800; or e-mailing Veronica.Douglass@ams.usda.gov.