Sacramento, Calif., March 1, 2010 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Pierce’s Disease and Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter (PD/GWSS) Board has announced that this spring winegrape growers will be given the opportunity to vote on the continuation of the statewide PD/GWSS winegrape assessment.
Since 2001, the PD/GWSS assessment has been one of the primary sources of funding for research on PD and its primary vector, the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Senate Bill 2, signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2009, gives winegrape growers the opportunity to vote on continuing the assessment for another five years. In 2005, a similar vote extended the assessment to 2011. This is the second time a vote will be held on the assessment.
All grape growers who paid the assessment on grapes grown in 2009 are eligible to vote. Ballots will be sent out to all eligible voters in late March or early April. Growers will receive a ballot for each growing entity they represent. Growers are urged to vote and return all the ballots they receive.
Winegrape growers with any questions about the assessment can contact the CDFA Pierce’s Disease Control Program at 916-900-5024. Questions about the referendum should be directed to Kathy Diaz-Cretu of the CDFA Marketing Branch at (916) 341-6005. The results of the vote are expected to be announced around June 15.
The PD/GWSS winegrape assessment was established in July 2001 to support scientific research to find solutions to Pierce’s disease. The PD/GWSS Board, an advisory composed of winegrape growers, advises CDFA on the use of the assessment.
Pierce’s disease has no known cure and, left unchecked, could be devastating to the winegrape industry. A study released in 2009 by the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers estimated the total annual economic impact of California’s winegrape industry at $62 billion within the state and $122 billion nationally.