The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that producers of walnuts grown in California voted for six amendments to the federal marketing order regulating the handling of walnuts grown in California.
The amendments will 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. Other parts of the marketing order will also be modified to allow the amendments to be effective.
The amendments were supported by more than two-thirds of the growers voting in the referendum, or by those representing at least two-thirds of the volume of walnuts grown by those voting in the referendum.
The final rule for these amendments was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 21, 2023. The amendments will become effective on Sept. 20, 2023.
More information about the marketing order is available on the 984 California Walnuts webpage on AMS’s website. Information about federal marketing orders is available on AMS’s Marketing Orders and Agreements webpage or by contacting the Market Development Division at (202) 720-8085.
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.