Washington’s cherry and stone fruit growers have voted to double their assessments for research.
A proposal developed by Wenatchee-based Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission will assess cherry growers $4 a ton and stone fruit growers $1 a ton to fund endowed chairs at Washington State University, according to a university news release.
The assessment, which also will pay for extension programs, will be capped at $5 million or eight years, whichever comes first. Food safety and fruit pathology will be among the likely top research topics.
The referendum was approved by 338 of 565 cherry growers who cast ballots, and 32 of 47 stone fruit growers. It was the second referendum on cherries and stone fruit — a 2011 effort failed, blamed in part by the commission on confusion in the balloting procedure.
Washington apple and pear growers approved a similar referendum in 2011. Dollar-per-ton assessments on apples and pears will fund $27 million in endowments for research chairs, information and technology transfer positions and research orchard operations.