In April 2014, North Carolina peach growers approved a self-assessment that will be used to support research by North Carolina State University specialists and expand marketing efforts for the industry. The assessment received the required two-thirds majority vote from eligible peach growers during the mail-in referendum.

The annual assessment will be based on the total number of peach trees per commercial orchard. Those who grow between 100 and 500 trees will be assessed $100. Growers with 501 to 2,500 trees will be assessed $250. Those who grow more than 2,500 trees will be assessed $350. Those growers with fewer than 100 trees, which is less than one acre, will not be required to pay an assessment.

The assessment goes into effect January 2015 and remains in effect through December 2020. Funds will be collected by the North Carolina. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and distributed to the North Carolina Peach Growers Society. The society will determine how to allocate the money to improve peach research and marketing efforts in the state.

North Carolina is the 13th-largest peach producer in the nation. In 2012, the state grew 5,300 tons of peaches. The majority of the state’s peaches are marketed directly to consumers at farmers markets and roadside stands.

To learn more about North Carolina’s peach industry visit the North Carolina. Peach Growers Society’s website at www.ncpeachgrowers.com.