USDA Announces Hearing on Walnut Marketing Order Amendments to be Held Online

March 27, 2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that the public hearing on proposed amendments to the federal marketing order for California walnuts will be held April 20-21, 2020. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will conduct the hearing as a video conference to enable individuals to participate in the hearing remotely.

The hearing was initially scheduled as a live event March 16-17, 2020, in Sacramento, California, but was postponed by the presiding administrative law judge due to concern about the availability of adequate resources.

The hearing will allow AMS to hear evidence on the California Walnut Board’s recommendation to amend the marketing order to add authority for the board to provide credit for market promotion expenses paid by handlers against their annual assessments and will enable the agency to determine whether to move forward with the recommendation.

To testify and present evidence to the presiding judge, individuals should make arrangements by April 15, 2020, by contacting Andrew Hatch at or Melissa Schmaedick at USDA requests that all witnesses submit electronic copies of any prepared statements and supporting documents via email to by 5 p.m. ET April 15, 2020, so that they can be made public at the time of the hearing.

Individuals are free to access the hearing by video through access the on-line hearing by telephone, participants may dial (669) 254-5252 or (646) 828-7666.  USDA will publish additional information and login instructions in the Federal Register and on its website before the hearing.

The California Walnut Board locally administers the marketing order that maintains minimum grade and size regulations for walnuts grown in California. The marketing order also authorizes promotion, and research and development projects.

Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, marketing orders are industry-driven programs that help producers and handlers achieve marketing success by leveraging their own funds to design and execute programs that they would not be able to do individually. The Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight to 29 fruit vegetable and specialty crops marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.