USDA Withdraws Proposal Affecting California Desert Grapes Marketing Order and Table Grape Import Regulation Exemptions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has withdrawn a proposal to remove varietal exemptions from the marketing order for table grapes grown in Southeastern California and the table grape import regulation. The current varietal exemptions for table grapes grown in Southeastern California and imported grapes will continue to be in effect.

The proposal, recommended by California Desert Grape Administrative Committee, would have required that all domestically produced grapes from the regulated production area and grapes imported during the annual regulatory period of April 10 to July 10 meet the same minimum quality, grade, size, maturity and inspection requirements.

After reviewing and considering the comments received, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has determined that the proposed rule to remove varietal exemptions from the Order and the table grape import regulation should not be finalized.

AMS will continue to work with the California table grape industry to determine if changes will be proposed in the future.

notice announcing the withdrawal of the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 25, 2019. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register June 23, 2017, with a 60-day public comment period that closed Aug. 22, 2017.

Information about the marketing order and import regulation is available on AMS’ 925 California Desert Grapes and Table Grape Import Regulation webpages.

Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, marketing orders are industry-driven programs that help growers 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 crops marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.

More information about federal marketing orders is available on the Marketing Orders and Agreements page of the AMS website or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at (202) 720-2491.