In early February, growers and handlers will receive a ballot from the California Department of Food and Agriculture for the California Rice Commission referendum. Recipients are asked to take a moment to fill it out and return it.
Every five years, the commission is required to go to both growers and handlers and reaffirm that the industry wishes to continue the program.
If the majority vote to continue it, operations will proceed under the direction of the Board of Directors. If a majority of both growers and handlers vote to discontinue the CRC, assessments will cease and operation wound down over the upcoming year.
Rather than using a simple majority to pass the continuation measure, CDFA uses a complex formula spelled out in the California Rice Commission Law.
At least 40 percent of the total number of handlers must participate in the referendum. Of those, either 65 percent must vote in favor and they must represent a majority of the total quantity of rice handled in the preceding marketing season by all handlers voting in the referendum. Or a majority of handlers who voted in the referendum must have handled 65 percent or more of the total rice handled the preceding marketing season by all handlers voting.
The same complex formula applies to producers voting, with at least 40 percent participation needed. Of those, either 65 percent of producers most vote in favor of the referendum and they must produce the majority of total rice produced in the preceding marketing season by all of the producers voting. Or a majority of producers voting in favor of the referendum just produce at least 65 percent of the total rice produced by all producers voting in the referendum.
If you fail to receive a ballot, contact the CDFA Marketing Branch at (916) 900-5018. If you have any questions, contact the CRC office at (916) 387-2264.