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For Immediate Release: December 5, 2000 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


New Jersey's sweet potato growers have voted to overwhelmingly to continue the state's Sweet Potato Commission for another three years. Secretary of Agriculture Arthur R. Brown, Jr. today announced that 82 percent of sweet potato growers who returned the mail ballots favored retaining the 33-year-old Commission, which conducts promotional, marketing, advertising and research programs on behalf of New Jersey's sweet potato industry. "The results of the balloting indicated that the sweet potato growers of New Jersey realize the importance of this program, and is indicative of their desire to have it continue," said Brown, a member of the Commission. State law requires approval by 65 percent of the voting growers representing 51 percent of the voting acreage, or vice versa, to continue operation of the Commission. The affirmative ballots represented 88.3 percent of the voting acreage. The referendum is mandated every three years. The Commission includes chairman Ben Patten, a grower from Pilesgrove, Bruce Carlton, Dean of Cook College, Rutgers University, and Agriculture Secretary Arthur R. Brown, Jr. The Commission is financed by a two-cent-per-bushel tax on all sweet potatoes grown in New Jersey.