For the purpose of determining whether the initial order shall be continued, not later than 22 months after the issuance of the order (or any earlier date recommended by the Board), the Secretary shall conduct a referendum among persons who have been producers or importers during a representative period, as determined by the Secretary. The order shall be continued only if the Secretary determines that it has been approved by not less than a majority of the producers voting in the referendum who, during a representative period as determined by the Secretary, have been engaged in the production of cattle. If continuation of the order is not approved by a majority of those voting in the referendum, the Secretary shall terminate collection of assessments under the order within six months after the Secretary determines that continuation of the order is not favored by a majority voting in the referendum and shall terminate the order in an orderly manner as soon as practicable after such determination.
After the initial referendum, the Secretary may conduct a referendum on the request of a representative group comprising 10 per centum or more of the number of cattle producers to determine whether cattle producers favor the termination or suspension of the order. The Secretary shall suspend or terminate collection of assessments under the order within six months after the Secretary determines that suspension or termination of the order is favored by a majority of the producers voting in the referendum who, during a representative period as determined by the Secretary, have been engaged in the production of cattle and shall terminate or suspend the order in an orderly manner as soon as practicable after such determination.
The Department shall be reimbursed from assessments collected by the Board for any expenses incurred by the Department in connection with conducting any referendum under this section, except for the salaries of Government employees. Any referendum conducted under this section shall be conducted on a date established by the Secretary, whereby producers shall certify that they were engaged in the production of cattle during the representative period and, on the same day, shall be provided an opportunity to vote in the referendum. Each referendum shall be conducted at county extension offices, and there shall be provision for an absentee mail ballot on request.