RALEIGH — Peach growers across the state will have a chance to vote to renew the industry’s assessment for commercial growers during a mail-in referendum that starts Feb. 25. The assessment provides funds for research and marketing to support the peach industry in North Carolina and is managed by the North Carolina Peach Growers’ Society.

Ballots will be mailed to each orchard in the state prior to Feb. 25. Growers will have a week to return the ballots. Backup ballots will be available for download through the North Carolina State University Peach Portal at www.peaches.ces.ncsu.edu/.

In order to vote, an individual must be 18 years old by Jan. 1, 2021. They must be an orchard owner, a designated family member for an operation, or an orchard manager. Only one vote is allowed per operation.

The tiered assessment is based on the total number of trees a grower has. Growers with less than 500 trees are assessed $100. Those who grow between 500 and 2,500 trees are assessed $250. Growers with more than 2,500 trees are assessed $350. The referendum needs a two-thirds majority of the vote to pass. If passed, the assessment will be in effect for the years 2021-2027.

More information about the referendum is available at the N.C. Peach Growers Society’s website at www.ncpeachgrowers.com/referendum.