The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that a referendum will be conducted among U.S. Upland cotton producers and importers. The referendum will take place on October 13, 2009, and will continue through November 10, 2009.

The 2008 Farm Bill stated that the states of Kansas, Virginia and Florida be separate states in the definition of “cotton-producing state” as defined in the Cotton Research and Promotion Act (Act). The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing to amend the Cotton Research and Promotion Order to implement that section of the 2008 Farm Bill.

According to the Act, a referendum among cotton producers and importers is required to amend the Order or any of its provisions. The AMS is providing an opportunity for all eligible persons to vote on the amendments to the Order.

Producers will have an opportunity to vote by mail or through their respective Farm Service Agency County office. All known cotton importers will be mailed a ballot and referendum instructions. Ballots will also be available on the Internet at http://www.ams.usda.gov/cotton.

The final referendum rules and the proposed rule and referendum order will be published in the Oct. 5, 2009, Federal Register, and can be found on the Internet at: http://www.regulations.gov.