On April 25th, U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the results of the recent pear referendum vote among Washington and Oregon’s pear growers. The results were a resounding “yes” to continuation, with 96 percent of pear growers who voted in the referendum voting in favor.

The marketing order, which was first established by pear growers in 1939, authorizes the establishment of minimum quality and size  requirements for fresh pears and the collection of assessments for important activities such as domestic and international promotions, research, industry reports, trade and consumer advertising, consumer outreach and education, public relations, and more.

We have the oldest continuous running marketing order in the US. The fresh pear growers in the Pacific Northwest have a long history of collaboration and this vote reaffirms the growers’ commitment to working together to achieve the best results.

The Pear Bureau has been working hard in the last two years to improve communications and collaboration with the sales desks as well. The industry has adopted many new policies and changes that have already gone a long way to improving our programs. The Pear Bureau’s sole purpose is to promote pears and help keep grower returns strong.

Federal Marketing Order 927 requires that the value of its programs be measured by a third party every six years. A study conducted by Washington State University in 2007 found that the net return to pear growers served by this marketing order was $3.07 for every $1.00 spent on promotional activities. We have also seen our market share in the domestic program grow from an average of 63 percent around 2000 to about 68 percent in 2010.

Our retail programs are designed to get more space and better location in supermarkets, and today nearly 50 percent of pear displays are located in the front of the produce department where the majority were in the middle about 5 years ago. We will continue to build on these successes with some exciting programs already lined up for the next season.

We are better when we work together. Thank you for your support and continued confidence and please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss anything to do with our programs and direction.

All pears, all the time,