The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the establishment of the Pecan Promotion, Research and Information Order to strengthen the position of pecans in the marketplace, maintain and expand markets for pecans, and develop new uses for pecans. A final rule was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 13, 2021, with an effective date of Feb. 12, 2021. Assessment collection will begin Oct. 1, 2021.
Domestic producers and importers of pecans will pay an assessment rate of two cents per pound on inshell pecans and four cents per pound on shelled pecans. Handlers will collect assessments from producers based on pounds of pecans received and importers will pay assessments on pecans when they enter the United States.
Domestic producers and importers that produce or import less than 50,000 pounds of inshell pecans, 25,000 pounds of shelled pecans, or a combination of the two, on average for four fiscal periods will be exempt from paying assessments. If combining shelled and inshell, pounds must be converted to either inshell or shelled and cannot exceed the threshold.
The program will be administered by a 17-member board under Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) supervision. In the coming months, USDA will provide nomination information to eligible importers and conduct outreach to solicit importer nominees to serve on the board. For the initial nominations, the American Pecan Council, the 17-member federal marketing order governing body, will submit producer nominees to serve on the board. All subsequent nominations of importer and producer members will be conducted by the board. Members will be appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture.
This order is implemented under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. To determine approval of the order, the act provides authority for USDA to hold a referendum either before the order goes into effect or within three years after assessments begin under the order.
A proposed rule published in the Federal Register on Sept. 22, 2020, detailed the proposed referenda procedures. No comments were received on the proposed procedures. In accordance with the referenda procedures stated in the order, AMS will conduct a referendum three years after assessments begin to determine if pecan producers and importers favor continuation of the order.
Since 1966, Congress has authorized industry-funded research and promotion boards to provide a framework for agricultural industries to pool resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS provides oversight to 22 boards. The oversight ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity and is paid for by industry assessments.