The Agricultural Marketing Service will post the USDA proposal to create the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement on their website at 4:15 pm EDT today April 26. The rulemaking notice will be published in the Federal Register on April 29. There will be a 90 day comment period for the public to voice their opinion. USDA will take an additional 90 before making a final ruling. Go to http://www.ams.usda.gov/ to obtain a copy of the proposed agreement.
Following are general points related to the proposal.
1. It will be a voluntary handlers marketing agreement
2. The governance structure is
8 regional zones based on common cultural practices and production. New Jersey is in zone 8 (PA, NY, NJ, VT, NH, ME, MA, Conn. and RI)
Administrative board includes 26 representatives (12 handlers, 10 farmers include 2 small, 1 retailer, 1 public member, 1 importer and 1 food service)
Technical committee to write guides (growers, handlers, food safety experts, NRCS, FDA, etc.) - all regulationss written by the committee must go out for public comment.
3. There will be a $0.05 assessment on each carton
4. There are no exemptions since this is a voluntary program
5. There will be a 90 day comment period. There will be no public hearings, but AMS will hold conference calls with any group that requests.
6. USDA will take 90 days to review all comments then make a decision whether to approve agreement or not.
7. Handlers who are part of the agreement and import must follow the same rules.
8. If a handler is signed up for the Cal. Leafy Green Marketing agreement they do not have to sign up for the national, but that will be the expectation.
Wesley L. Kline, PhD
Rutgers Cooperative Extension
291 Morton Ave.
Millville, NJ 08332
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