Michigan’s asparagus producers have approved a referendum to continue the Michigan Asparagus Industry Development Program.
Established in June 1978, the Michigan Asparagus Industry Development Program was designed to improve the economic position of Michigan asparagus growers by supporting research and market development efforts.
The program established the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, which is a public body independent of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. It is comprised of nine asparagus producers appointed by the Governor. MDARD Director Gordon Wenk is a non-voting ex-officio member.
The program will continue for an additional five years, beginning June 8, 2018, and ending June 7, 2023. The current assessment is at a rate not to exceed two cents per pound.
A total of 55 valid ballots were cast in the referendum. Of those, 51 producers voted yes (93 percent) representing 11,217,520 pounds of asparagus (98 percent) and 4 producers voted no (7 percent) representing 209,800 pounds (2 percent).
For renewal of the program and its activities, more than 50 percent of the voting producers, representing more than 50 percent of the production of those voting, must have approved it.
“Michigan’s asparagus season as emerged for 2018, spears and all,” said Kevin Robson, horticulture specialist with Michigan Farm Bureau. “This referendum approval shows Michigan’s growers’ continued commitment to research, industry advancements, and promotion of their commodity, and all facets of their industry beyond the field.
“An approval rate of 93 percent is nothing short of impressive,” he said. “Hats off to the staff of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board for their relentless commitment and service to one Michigan’s most valued industries.”