Oct 25, 2022USDA issues recommended decision on proposed amendments to California Walnut Marketing Order
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued Oct. 25 a recommended decision on proposed amendments to federal marketing order No.984, which regulates the handling of walnuts grown in California.
The California Walnut Board, which locally administers the marketing order, proposed amendments that would eliminate mandatory inspection and certification of inshell and shelled walnuts, and of shelled walnuts for processing; create a new mechanism for determining and collecting handler assessments; add authority to charge interest for late payments; establish an assessment rate of $0.0125 per inshell pound of walnuts; expand the definition of “to handle” to include “receive”; and remove volume control authority. In addition, the proposed amendments include several conforming changes necessary to effectuate the proposed amendments to the marketing order.
The board recommended amending the marketing order to better meet current and future industry needs. The board believes the proposed amendments would eliminate current redundancies in inspection, reduce costs and administrative burden to handlers and the board, and provide a cost savings to producers.
USDA’s recommended decision is based on an analysis of record evidence from the public hearing held virtually on April 19-20, 2022, and its recommendation of whether to continue the amendatory process. USDA welcomes public and industry stakeholders to file written exceptions to USDA’s recommendation during the 30-day comment period. Comments and exceptions are due by Nov. 25, 2022. USDA extended the moratorium on the enforcement of inspection until the completion of this rulemaking process.
The recommended decision is published in the Oct. 25, 2022, Federal Register. Copies may be obtained by contacting Geronimo Quinones, Market Development Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 308-2339; or Matthew Pavone, Market Development Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-2491. They can also be contacted by email at Geronimo.Quinones@usda.gov or Matthew.Pavone@usda.gov.
More information about the marketing order is available on the 984 California Walnuts page on the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) website.
Information about federal marketing orders is available on AMS’s Marketing Orders and Agreements page or by contacting the Market Development 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. AMS provides oversight to fruit vegetable and specialty crops marketing orders to ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.