Mar 30, 2011
USDA dissolves marketing orders

USDA announced March 25 that it would terminate the marketing order programs for California nectarines and peaches.

From Jan. 12 to Feb. 2, three separate referenda were conducted. Under the terms of the marketing orders, growers vote every four years on whether to continue their programs. USDA considers termination if less than a two-thirds majority of growers voting, by number and production volume, favor continuance.

Among growers of nectarines, peaches and fresh pears, 63 percent of nectarine growers, who produced 36 percent of the volume represented in the referendum, favored continuance. Sixty-two percent of peach growers, who produced 36 percent of the volume, favored continuance. Ninety-four percent of pear growers, representing 99 percent of the volume, favored continuance, according to USDA.

The nectarine order has been in effect since 1958, and the combined peach and fresh pear order has been in effect since 1939. Over the years, the orders have been used to provide quality standards for tree fruit shipped into fresh markets. Production research and marketing research and promotion programs have also been conducted under the orders. USDA will seek to suspend all nectarine and peach handling regulations for the 2011 season.

Termination proceedings for the nectarine and peach order provisions will begin immediately. There are no plans to terminate the pear order provisions, which have been suspended since 1994, according to USDA.

The California Tree Fruit Agreement, Reedley, Calif., administers the marketing programs, representing the state’s more than 900 growers of fresh peaches, plums and nectarines, according to CTFA’s website.

Gary Van Sickle, CTFA’s president, said the process of terminating the peach and nectarine programs would take approximately 10 months. CTFA also manages a state program for plums, which is good for several years, he said.

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