Apple Growers Casting Ballots on Promotion Fee

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan apple growers can start voting this week on whether to continue to tax themselves to promote the fruit.

More than 800 growers will get ballots from the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. The program was last approved in 2008 and must be renewed every five years.

Growers pay a fee depending on weight and whether the apples are grown for the fresh market, processing or juice. In a good growing year, like 2011, the assessment can bring in more than $2 million.

The money is used to develop new markets as well as for education and apple research. Completed ballots must be postmarked by March 15.

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