Sweet Cherries Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Secretary's Decision and Referendum Order on Proposed Amendments to Marketing Agreement and Order No. 923
This decision proposes amending the marketing agreement and order (order) for sweet cherries grown in Washington, and provides growers with the opportunity to vote in a referendum to determine if they favor the changes. The amendments are based on those proposed by the Washington Cherry Marketing Committee (Committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order. The amendments include: adding authority for promotion, including paid advertising, and production research projects; adding authority for supplemental rates of assessment for individual varieties of cherries; adding authority for the Committee to accept voluntary contributions for research and promotion; and, adding a public member to the Committee. Two additional amendments are based on those proposed by the Agricultural Marketing Service: Establishing tenure limitations for Committee members and, requiring that continuance referenda be conducted every 6 years. The proposed amendments are intended to improve the operation and functioning of the sweet cherry marketing order program.
Exempting Organic Producers From Assessment by Research and Promotion Programs
This final rule amends all 17 commodity research and promotion orders and/or rules and regulations to exempt any person receiving and handling solely 100 percent organic products from paying assessments to any research and promotion program administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). To obtain an exemption, the person must operate under an approved organic system plan authorized by the National Organic Program (NOP) and produce and market only products that are eligible for a 100 percent organic label under the NOP. A separate final rule to exempt any person producing and marketing solely 100 percent organic products from paying assessments for market promotion activities under certain marketing order programs administered by AMS is also being published in today's Federal Register.
Exemption of Organic Handlers From Assessments for Market Promotion Activities Under Marketing Order Programs
This rule implements the provisions of section 10607 of the 2002 Farm Bill and exempts handlers subject to marketing order requirements from paying assessments for market promotion activities, including paid advertising, to marketing order committees and boards. To obtain an exemption, the handler must operate under an approved organic process system plan authorized by the National Organic Program (NOP), and handle or market only products that are eligible for a 100 percent organic product label under the NOP. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), that oversees and works with the committees and boards in administering the programs, has identified 28 marketing order programs for which assessment exemptions may be established. A separate final rule to exempt any person producing and marketing solely 100 percent organic products from paying assessments to any national research and promotion program administered by AMS also is being published in today's Federal Register.