(a) In general

Within the 60-day period immediately preceding the effective date of an order issued under section 6405(a) of this title, the Secretary shall conduct a referendum among fluid milk processors to ascertain whether the order shall go into effect.

(b) Implementation

Terms Used In 7 USC 6413

  • Board: means the National Processor Advertising and Promotion Board established under section 6407(b) of this title. See 7 USC 6402
  • Department: means the Department of Agriculture. See 7 USC 6402
  • fluid milk processor: means any person who processes and markets commercially more than 3,000,000 pounds of fluid milk products in consumer-type packages per month (excluding products delivered directly to the place of residence of a consumer). See 7 USC 6402
  • Secretary: means the Secretary of Agriculture. See 7 USC 6402

If, as a result of the referendum conducted under subsection (a), the Secretary determines that implementation of the order is favored–

(1) by at least 50 percent of fluid milk processors voting in the referendum; and

(2) by fluid milk processors voting in the referendum that marketed during the representative period, as determined by the Secretary, 60 percent or more of the volume of fluid milk products marketed by fluid milk processors voting in the referendum;

the order shall become effective as provided in section 6405(b) of this title.

(c) Costs of referendum

The Secretary shall be reimbursed from any assessments collected by the Board for any expenses incurred by the Department in connection with the conduct of any referendum under this chapter.

(d) Manner

(1) In general

Referenda conducted pursuant to this chapter shall be conducted in a manner determined by the Secretary.

(2) Advance registration

A fluid milk processor who chooses to vote in any referendum conducted under this chapter shall register with the Secretary prior to the voting period, after receiving notice from the Secretary concerning the referendum under paragraph (4).

(3) Voting

A fluid milk processor who votes in any referendum conducted under this chapter shall vote in accordance with procedures established by the Secretary. The ballots and other information or reports that reveal or tend to reveal the vote of any processor shall be held strictly confidential.

(4) Notice

The Secretary shall notify all processors at least 30 days prior to a referendum conducted under this chapter. The notice shall explain the procedure established under this subsection.