Peach farmers across North Carolina will have a chance to vote on a new assessment for commercial growers during a mail-in referendum next month.

The assessment was proposed by the North Carolina Peach Growers Society to raise funds for research and marketing to support the peach industry in the state.

Ballots will be mailed to each orchard in the state by Oct. 1, and growers will have a week to return the ballots. Backup ballots will be available at local North Caolina Cooperative Extension offices and available for download through the North Carolina Peach Portal at http://peaches.ces.ncsu.edu.

In order to vote, an individual must be 18 years old by Oct. 1 and also be an orchard owner, a designated family member or an orchard manager. Only one vote per orchard will be allowed.

The assessment would be tiered and based on the total number of trees a grower has. Growers with less than 500 trees would be assessed $100. Those who grow between 500 and 2,500 trees would be assessed $250. Growers with more than 2,500 trees would be assessed $350.

To pass, the assessment needs a two-thirds majority of votes. The assessment would be in effect from January 2014 through December 2018.

The North Carolina Board of Agriculture approved the society’s request for the referendum at its May 28 meeting. More information about the referendum is available at the North Carolina Peach Growers Society’s website at www.ncpeachgrowers.com/referendum.