Published online: May 16, 2011 Potato Harvesting, Seed Potatoes
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WASHINGTON, D.C.-The USDA last week announced that Irish potato growers in Idaho and Malheur County, Ore., voted to continue their federal marketing order program.

The continuation of the marketing order was favored by 91 percent of eligible Irish potato growers voting in the referendum, representing 79 percent of the volume voted. The marketing order authorizes the establishment of minimum grade, size, quality, maturity and pack requirements for fresh market Irish potatoes grown in the production area.

The marketing order requires that a continuance referendum be held within every six-year period. USDA would consider terminating the marketing order if less than two-thirds of growers, by number and production volume, favor continuance.

"Marketing orders and agreements are designed to help stabilize market conditions for fruit and vegetable products," said Administrator Rayne Pegg, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). "The programs allow growers to work collectively to solve marketing problems."

Industries voluntarily enter into these programs and choose to have federal oversight of certain aspects of their operations. AMS oversees the programs to ensure that the orders and agreements operate in the public interest and within legal bounds.