Nov 13, 2023ABC recommends marketing order amendment, grower referendum needed
The ABC Board of Directors recommended to USDA proposed amendments to the marketing order that are administrative or modernizing in nature and establish borrowing authority when it is financially prudent.
Approval of the rule change requires a grower referendum, which is being conducted now by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. The grower referendum began Oct. 30 and continues through Monday, Nov. 20. Most growers already have referendum ballots.
Richard Waycott, president and CEO for ABC, said these updates do not increase the budget or the assessment but are necessary to keep pace with changes in terminology and processes within the marketing order. The primary change being proposed is the authority for the Almond Board to accept advance assessment payments from handlers if they choose to make them, and the ability to borrow from a commercial lender.
“The request for authority to borrow funds is really to help manage cash flow at the almond board and is something that several other marketing orders have done for the similar reasons,” Waycott said. “It’s not to increase the budget or the assessment or overall funding. It’s just to help with the timing of when revenue is received, given the fact that assessment review is collected on a specific schedule.”
Waycott emphasized the importance of managing cash flow, particularly as the almond industry engages in global market activities that often require advance payments, especially during the fall.
“Like most businesses, there are certain times a year where there’s more money going out than coming in. This would allow us to bridge those times with this temporary financing,” Waycott said. The borrowing authority would be an additional means for ABC to efficiently invest in promotional campaigns and other initiatives at the optimal time of the year, ensuring the maximum impact on global demand.
Waycott emphasized again that this change in borrowing authority does not increase the assessment and is solely designed to manage cash flow more effectively. This development is in line with the industry’s commitment to making the best use of funds entrusted to the Almond Board while ensuring that any borrowed funds are paid back within the same crop year.
For more information, read the referendum frequently asked questions (FAQs) produced by ABC.