The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is terminating the marketing order regulating the handling of potatoes grown in Washington state. The marketing order was established in 1949 but its handling regulations have been suspended since 2014 and are currently not active.
For the past eight years, the Washington Potato Committee, with industry’s input, determined that the benefits of the marketing order did not justify the expense of mandatory inspection. In addition, the committee concluded that the data collection and reporting functions of the marketing order duplicate the services provided to the industry by the Washington State Potato Commission, and that the termination of the marketing order will not materially impact the collection and distribution of essential industry data.
The proposed rule for the termination was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 7, 2021, and provided a 60-day comment period for interested parties to comment, which ended Nov. 8, 2021. AMS received two comments in support of termination, and none opposed.
The final rule for this action was published in the Federal Register on Feb. 15, 2022, and will be effective on March 2, 2022.
USDA informed Congress of the termination on Dec. 2, 2021, in compliance with the requirement to notify Congress at least 60 days before terminating a federal marketing order. With its last financial audit complete, committee members agreed to contribute the remaining budget to the Washington State Potato Commission. AMS will coordinate with committee staff to secure outstanding marketing order records.
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. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight to marketing order committees and handling regulations for vegetable and specialty crops to ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.
More information about federal marketing orders is available on AMS’ Marketing Orders and Agreements web page or by contacting the Market Development Division at (202) 720-2491.