WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a recommended decision on proposed amendments to the Federal Marketing Order regulating the handling of walnuts grown in California.
The California Walnut Board, which locally administers the marketing order, proposed amendments that would allow credit for market promotion expenses paid directly by handlers. Under the program, certain expenses may be credited back to individual handlers against their annual assessments due under the program. The proposed amendments would also establish rules and regulations to effectuate new authority to provide the credit. The move is intended to encourage handlers to build upon existing board activities that increase domestic demand and utilize the industry’s expanding supply of walnuts.
USDA’s recommended decision is based on an analysis of record evidence from the public hearing held on April 20-21, 2020, via video conference and its recommendation of whether to continue the amendatory process.
USDA welcomes the filing of written exceptions to USDA’s recommendation during the 30-day comment period. Comments and exceptions are due by Sept. 4, 2020 and should be filed with the Hearing Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 1031-S, Washington, DC 20250-9200; Fax: (202) 720-9776 or via https://www.regulations.gov. All comments to this recommended decision submitted by the deadline will be made available for public review and considered before a final rule is published.
The recommended decision was published Aug. 6, 2020, in the Federal Register. Copies may be obtained from Melissa Schmaedick, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Rulemaking Services Branch, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA, Post Office Box 952, Moab, UT 84532, telephone: (202) 720-2491, fax: (435) 259-1502; or Andrew Hatch, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone: (202) 720-2491, fax: (202) 720-8938 or email Melissa.Schmaedick@usda.gov or Andrew.Hatch@usda.gov.
More information about the marketing order is available on the AMS 984 California Walnuts webpage, the AMS Marketing Orders and Agreements webpage or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at (202) 720-2491.
Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, marketing orders are industry-driven programs that help producers and handlers achieve marketing success by leveraging their own funds to design and execute programs that they would not be able to do individually. The Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight to 29 fruit vegetable and specialty crops marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.
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