The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced amendments to the federal marketing order regulating the handling of walnuts grown in California. These amendments authorize the California Walnut Board to provide credit for market promotion expenses paid by handlers against their annual assessments due under the program.
The amendments were approved in a referendum conducted Nov. 30 through Dec. 11, 2020. They were favored by 80.57% of the growers voting, representing 82.81% of the total volume of walnuts. To gain approval, the amendments needed support of at least two-thirds of the growers voting in the referendum or at least two-thirds of the volume of walnuts grown by those voting in the referendum. A final rule amending the marketing order will be published in the Federal Register.
USDA’s process for considering this change included an administrative hearing conducted April 20-21, 2020.
The board locally administers the marketing order that maintains minimum grade and size regulations for walnuts grown in California. The marketing order also authorizes promotion, and research and development projects. More information about the marketing order is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 984 California Walnut 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. AMS provides oversight to 29 fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.