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US: State shuts down Washington Strawberry Commission

The Washington State Strawberry Commission is no more. The commission, formed in 1993 to promote strawberry marketing and research, has shut down amid a state audit that heavily criticized its record keeping. Kgmi.com reports how state auditor Pat McCarthy found that the commission’s only employee, who quit in 2017, didn’t have a computer or office for record keeping and couldn’t provide records of bank deposits or payments for several years.

The Commission made multiple attempts to obtain the supporting documentation but was unsuccessful. Normally, improvements would be strongly suggested, but not in this case, as the Strawberry Commission is dissolving.

It was one of Washington’s 22 agriculture-marketing commissions, funded by assessments to growers, not taxpayer dollars. Growers had petitioned for disbanding it earlier this year, citing a decline in strawberry harvest and in interest in maintaining the commission.

The commission stopped operations June 30. It will formally cease to exist after December 31.


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