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e-CFR data is current as of February 26, 2021

Title 7Subtitle BChapter IXPart 900 → Subpart J

Title 7: Agriculture

Subpart J—Procedure for the Conduct of Referenda in Connection With Marketing Orders for Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts Pursuant to the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as Amended

§900.400   General.
§900.401   Definitions.
§900.402   Voting.
§900.403   Instructions.
§900.404   Subagents.
§900.405   Ballots.
§900.406   Referendum report.
§900.407   Confidential information.

Authority: Secs. 1-19, 48 Stat. 31, as amended; 7 U.S.C. 601-674.

Source: 30 FR 15414, Dec. 15, 1965, unless otherwise noted.

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§900.400   General.

Referenda for the purpose of ascertaining whether the issuance by the Secretary of Agriculture of a marketing order to regulate the handling of any fruit, vegetable, or nut, or product thereof, or the continuance or termination of such an order, is approved or favored by producers or processors shall, unless supplemented or modified by the Secretary, be conducted in accordance with this subpart.

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§900.401   Definitions.

(a) Act means Public Act No. 10, 73d Congress (48 Stat. 31), as amended, and as reenacted and amended by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (50 Stat. 246), as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674).

(b) Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, or any officer or employee of the Department to whom authority has heretofore been delegated, or to whom authority may hereafter be delegated, to act in his stead; and Department means the United States Department of Agriculture.

(c) Administrator means the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service, with power to redelegate, or any officer or employee of the Department to whom authority has been delegated or may hereafter be delegated to act in his stead.

(d) Order means the marketing order (including an amendatory order) with respect to which the Secretary has directed that a referendum be conducted.

(e) Referendum agent means the individual or individuals designated by the Secretary to conduct the referendum.

(f) Representative period means the period designated by the Secretary pursuant to section 8c of the act (7 U.S.C. 608c).

(g) Person means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other business unit. For the purpose of this definition, the term partnership includes (1) a husband and wife who have title to, or leasehold interest in, land as tenants in common, joint tenants, tenants by the entirety, or, under community property laws, as community property, and (2) so-called joint ventures, wherein one or more parties to the agreement, informal or otherwise, contributed capital and others contribute labor, management, equipment, or other services, or any variation of such contributions by two or more parties, so that it results in the growing of the commodity for market and the authority to transfer title to the commodity so produced.

(h) Producer means any person defined as a producer in the order who: (1) Owns and farms land, resulting in his ownership of the commodity produced thereon; (2) Rents and farms land, resulting in his ownership of all or a portion of the commodity produced thereon; or (3) Owns land which he does not farm and, as rental for such land, obtains the ownership of a portion of the commodity produced thereon. Ownership of, or leasehold interest in, land and the acquisition, in any manner other than as hereinbefore set forth, of legal title to the commodity grown thereon shall not be deemed to result in such owners or lessees becoming producers.

[30 FR 15414, Dec. 15, 1965, as amended at 37 FR 8059, Apr. 25, 1972]

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§900.402   Voting.

(a) Each person who is a producer, as defined in this subpart, at the time of the referendum and who also was a producer during the representative period, shall be entitled to only one vote in the referendum, except that: (1) In a landlord-tenant relationship, where in each of the parties is a producer, each such producer shall be entitled to one vote in the referendum; and (2) a cooperative association of producers, bona fide engaged in marketing the commodity or product thereof proposed to be regulated, or in rendering services for or advancing the interest of the producers of such commodity or product, may, if it elects to do so, vote, both by number and total volume, for the producers who are members of, stockholders in, or under contract with such association.

(b) Whenever, as required by the act, processors vote on the issuance of an order, each processor who is engaged in canning or freezing within the production area of the commodity covered by the order shall be entitled to vote in the referendum the quantity of such commodity canned or frozen within the production area for market by him during the representative period determined by the Secretary.

(c) Proxy voting is not authorized but an officer or employee of a corporate producer, processor or cooperative association, or an administrator, executor or trustee of a producing estate may cast a ballot on behalf of such producer, processor, estate, or cooperative association. Any individual so voting in a referendum shall certify that he is an officer or employee of the producer, processor, or cooperative association, or an administrator, executor, or trustee of a producing estate, and that he has the authority to take such action. Upon request of the referendum agent, the individual shall submit adequate evidence of such authority.

(d) Each producer, cooperative association of producers, and processor entitled to vote in a referendum shall be entitled to cast one ballot in the referendum. Each producer, cooperative association of producers, and processor casting more than one ballot with conflicting votes shall thereby invalidate all ballots cast by such producer, cooperative association of producers, or processor in such referendum.

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§900.403   Instructions.

The referendum agent shall conduct the referendum, in the manner herein provided, under supervision of the Administrator. The Administrator may prescribe additional instructions, not inconsistent with the provisions hereof, to govern the procedure to be followed by the referendum agent. Such agent shall:

(a) Determine the time of commencement and termination of the period of the referendum, and the time prior to which all ballots must be cast.

(b) Determine whether ballots may be cast by mail, at polling places, at meetings of producers or processors, or by any combination of the foregoing.

(c) Provide ballots and related material to be used in the referendum. Ballot material shall provide for recording essential information for ascertaining:

(1) Whether the person voting, or on whose behalf the vote is cast, is an eligible voter, and

(2) The total volume (i) produced for market during the representative period, or (ii) canned or frozen for market during the representative period.

(d) Give reasonable advance notice of the referendum (1) by utilizing without advertising expense available media of public information (including, but not being limited to, press and radio facilities) serving the production area, announcing the dates, places, or methods of voting, eligibility requirements, and other pertinent information, and (2) by such other means as said agent may deem advisable.

(e) Make available to producers and the aforesaid cooperative associations which indicate to the agent their intentions to vote, and to processors when required, instructions on voting, appropriate ballot and certification forms, and, except in the case of a referendum on the termination or continuance of an order, the text of the proposed order and a summary of its terms and conditions: Provided, That no person who claims to be qualified to vote shall be refused a ballot.

(f) If ballots are to be cast by mail, cause all the material specified in paragraph (e) of this section to be mailed to each producer (and processor when required) whose name and address is known to the referendum agent.

(g) If ballots are to be cast at polling places or meetings, determine the necessary number of polling or meeting places, designate them, announce the time of each meeting or the hours during which each polling place will be open, provide the material specified in paragraph (e) of this section, and provide for appropriate custody of ballot forms and delivery to the referendum agent of ballots cast.

(h) At the conclusion of the referendum, canvass the ballots, tabulate the results, and, except as otherwise directed, report the outcome to the Administrator and promptly thereafter submit the following:

(1) All ballots received by the agent and appointees, together with a certificate to the effect that the ballots forwarded are all of the ballots cast and received by such persons during the referendum period;

(2) A list of all challenged ballots deemed to be invalid; and

(3) A tabulation of the results of the referendum and a report thereon, including a detailed statement explaining the method used in giving publicity to the referendum and showing other information pertinent to the manner in which the referendum was conducted.

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§900.404   Subagents.

The referendum agent may appoint any person or persons deemed necessary or desirable to assist said agent in performing his functions hereunder. Each person so appointed may be authorized by said agent to perform, in accordance with the requirements herein set forth, any or all of the following functions (which, in the absence of such appointment, shall be performed by said agent):

(a) Give public notice of the referendum in the manner specified herein;

(b) Preside at a meeting where ballots are to be cast or as poll officer at a polling place;

(c) Distribute ballots and the aforesaid texts to producers (and to processors when required) and receive any ballots which are cast; and

(d) Record the name and address of each person receiving a ballot from, or casting a ballot with, said subagent and inquire into the eligibility of such person to vote in the referendum.

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§900.405   Ballots.

The referendum agent and his appointees shall accept all ballots cast; but, should they, or any of them, deem that a ballot should be challenged for any reason, said agent or appointee shall endorse above his signature, on said ballot, a statement to the effect that such ballot was challenged, by whom challenged, the reasons therefor, the results of any investigations made with respect thereto, and the disposition thereof. Invalid ballots shall not be counted.

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§900.406   Referendum report.

Except as otherwise directed, the Administrator shall prepare and submit to the Secretary a report on results of the referendum, the manner in which it was conducted, the extent and kind of public notice given, and other information pertinent to analysis of the referendum and its results.

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§900.407   Confidential information.

All ballots cast and the contents thereof (whether or not relating to the identity of any person who voted or the manner in which any person voted) and all information furnished to, compiled by, or in possession of, the referendum agent shall be treated as confidential.

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