wfp-todd-fitchette-ca-rice-26.jpg Todd Fitchette
California rice growers and handlers are being asked to vote on an assessment hike to cover the growing costs to the California Rice Commission of administering the waste discharge requirements program as ordered by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Rice assessment cap vote under way in California

California rice industry is asking growers, handlers vote on an assessment hike to cover waste discharge requirement costs administered by the California Rice Commission

A second round of ballots were recently mailed to California rice growers by the state Department of Food and Agriculture on an increased assessment cap. That vote is asking growers and handlers to approve a requested hike from 15 to 20 cents per hundredweight in the assessment cap and will be split evenly between handlers and growers.

Ballots must be returned to the CDFA by Aug. 3.

The industry must vote in sufficient numbers to qualify the initiative, or the entire process will need to be repeated. This means at least 40 percent of eligible handlers and producers representing at least half of California rice acreage must cast a ballot. It also means that of those voting, at least 65 percent of those votes must be affirmative for the increase to take place.

The California Rice Commission has told growers at various grower meetings that the increased cost of administering the rice waste discharge requirements, and associated regulatory costs necessitates the increased assessment.

All information provided in the ballots is kept confidential.

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