Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education, and Industry Information Order Becomes Effective [May 20, 2008, News Release
Honey First Handlers, Importers Approve New National Honey Packers and Importers Program [May 06, 2008, News Release
USDA Sets Date for Honey Packers and Importers Promotion and Research Program Referendum [February 29, 2008, News Release
The Honey Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Order (Order) [7 CFR Part 1240] is authorized by the Honey Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act (Act) [7 U.S.C. 4601-4613], which was signed into law on October 30, 1984. The Order became effective on July 21, 1986, after honey producers and importers voted in favor of the program. Implementing rules and regulations became effective on February 2, 1987. Following an amendment to the Act in 1990, notice and comment rulemaking, and a referendum, the Order was amended on August 7, 1991, to eliminate refunds of assessments.
The Act was amended in June 1998 to authorize two sets of amendments. The Act directed the Secretary to conduct a referendum to determine if one set of amendments (votable amendments) would be implemented. The Act also directed that the other set of amendments become effective regardless of the outcome of the referendum. After notice-and-comment rulemaking, AMS held a referendum in September 2000 to determine if the votable amendments to the Order were approved by the honey industry. Since the votable amendments did not receive the requisite approval of the industry, the Order was amended on May 31, 2001, to include only the non-votable amendments. The honey industry has approved continuance of the program in four referenda. The referenda were held in August 1991, in August 1996, in February-March 2002, and in 2003.
In 2008, the Department conducted a referendum to determine if eligible packers and importers favored the implementation of a new honey program that would cover honey packers and importers of 250,000 pounds or more per year. The new honey packers and importers program would be duplicative of the previous honey program. Accordingly, the Department terminated assessments collection on the original honey program as of May 21, 2008. The remaining provision of the program will be terminated at a later date.
Under the Order, assessments are collected on honey and honey products produced in or imported into the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The funds collected are used by the Board for market research and development, advertising and promotion of honey and honey products, and consumer information, under AMS supervision. The assessment rate is 1 cent per pound. Producers and importers marketing less than 6,000 pounds of honey per year through local retail outlets can arrange for an exemption from assessments. The import assessments are collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service.
The total Board budget for the 2008 calendar year is $4.2 million, including $140,000 from the Foreign Agricultural Service to promote U.S. honey abroad. Projected assessment income is $3.675 million, approximately 30 percent from domestic production and approximately 70 percent from imports. The Board reimburses the federal government for costs incurred in administering the program.
The 12 members of the Board are nominated by the National Honey Nominations Committee (Committee) and appointed by the Secretary. The Board consists of seven producers, two handlers, two importers or one importer and one exporter, one officer of a marketing cooperative, and their alternates.
The Board has nine full-time employees in Firestone, Colorado.