As Required by New Farm Bill, USDA to Allow Christmas Tree Research and Promotion Program to Move Forward [April 4, 2014, News Release
Christmas Tree Promotion, Research, and Information Order; Lifting of the Stay of Regulations. Docket Number: AMS-FV-10-0008-FR-1A. EFFECTIVE: April 7, 2014. [Notice
Christmas Tree Promotion, Research, and Information Order; Stay of Regulations. Docket Number: AMS-FV-10-0008-FR-1A. EFFECTIVE: November 17, 2011. [Notice
Proposed Christmas Tree Promotion, Research, and Information Order; Extension of Comment Period on Proposed Establishment of a Program. Docket Number: AMS-FV-10-0008-PR-1A. EFFECTIVE: February 22, 2011. Comment Period: February 22, 2011 – March 9, 2011 [Notice
Proposed Christmas Tree Promotion, Research, and Information Order. Docket Number: AMS-FV-10-0008-PR-1A. EFFECTIVE: November 8, 2010. Comment Period: November 8, 2010-February 7, 2011 [Notice
] [Referendum Procedures
The Christmas Tree Checkoff Task Force submitted a proposal to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for a Christmas tree research and promotion program covering domestic producers and importers. The Order became effective November 9, 2011, however, a stay of regulation was issued on November 17, 2011, to provide additional time for the Department to reach out to the Christmas tree industry and the public to explain how a research and promotion program is a producer driven program to support American farmers. The stay was lifted in accordance with the provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014. Section 10014 states that not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall lift the administrative stay imposed and published by the Department. The stay was lifted on April 8, 2014. The Order is authorized under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996.
The program is financed by an assessment on producers and importers of fresh cut Christmas trees and administered by a Board with oversight by AMS. The initial assessment rate is $0.15 per Christmas tree cut and sold domestically or imported into the United States and can be increased or decreased no more than 2 cents per Christmas tree during the fiscal period. The assessment rate cannot exceed 20 cents per tree. Entities that produce or import less than 500 Christmas trees annually are exempt. The Board is expected to collect about $2 million annually. A referendum will be conducted 3 years after assessments first begin to ascertain whether producers and importers favor continuation of the program.
The Board is composed of 12 members appointed by the Secretary. Of the 12, 11 are producers and one importer. The 11 domestic seats are allocated between 3 regions within the United States – Region #1, Western Region (5), the Region #2, Central Region (2), and Region #3, Eastern Region (4). The Board’s composition may change periodically to reflect geographic shifts in volume.