USDA has announced a change in the voting period for the upcoming National Peanut Board (NPB) reaffirmation referendum. The referendum now is scheduled for May 10 through June 11, 2004.

The NPB referendum had originally been scheduled for May 3 through June 2.

Eligible peanut producers should begin receiving ballots in early May. Peanut growers should mail in their ballots by June 11, 2004. According to USDA, ballots must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. EST on June 11 to be counted.

To be eligible to vote in the NPB referendum, growers must have paid into the national checkoff assessment sometime between Oct. 1, 2002, and April 30, 2004. Farmers who grew peanuts for the first time in 2003 and placed them into the Commodity Credit Corporation loan program are not eligible to vote unless they had redeemed their peanuts by April 30, 2004.

Peanut producers with questions or those who do not receive a ballot by May 10 should contact USDA marketing specialist Deborah Simmons at (202) 720-9915.