The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today that a continuance referendum will be conducted among eligible domestic (U.S.) manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber from August 1 through Aug. 25, 2016.

The referendum will allow eligible domestic manufacturers and importers to vote on whether to continue the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order. The program will continue if it is favored by a majority of domestic manufacturers and importers voting in the referendum, who also represent a majority of the volume of softwood lumber represented in the referendum.  To vote in the referendum, domestic manufacturers and importers must have domestically manufactured and shipped or imported 15 million board feet or more of softwood lumber during the representative period January 1 through Dec. 31, 2015, paid assessments during that period, and must currently be softwood lumber domestic manufacturers or importers subject to assessment under the program.

The softwood lumber program is authorized under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996.  The program was developed to strengthen the position of softwood lumber in the marketplace, maintain and expand markets for softwood lumber, and develop new uses for softwood lumber within the United States.  Referendum procedures are included in the Order, which can be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/research-promotion.

The referendum will be conducted by mail by AMS. Ballots and voting instructions will be mailed to all known eligible domestic manufacturers and importers prior to the first day of the voting period.  Any eligible domestic manufacturer or importer who does not receive a ballot by Aug. 8, 2016, should contact referendum agent Maureen Pello. Ballots must be received by the referendum agent by 4:30 pm Eastern time, Aug. 25, 2016, in order to be counted.

From the USDA: https://www.ams.usda.gov/press-release/usda-sets-dates-softwood-lumber-research-and-promotion-program-referendum