The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking comments on a proposal to suspend the reporting and assessment requirements for the marketing order regulating the handling of Irish potatoes grown in Washington. The marketing order was established in 1949 but has been operating without handling requirements for all varieties of potatoes since 2013.
In 2013, USDA implemented a recommendation from the State of Washington Potato Committee to suspend the marketing order’s handling requirements indefinitely to allow handlers the opportunity to explore alternative marketing strategies.
The Committee determined that the suspension of mandatory grading and handling requirements has not negatively impacted the marketing of Washington potatoes and the marketing order no longer serves the needs of the industry. While the Committee moves to fully terminate Marketing Order No. 946, this action would suspend the need for regulated handlers to report data and pay monetary assessments to the Committee during the period that USDA is processing the termination request.
The proposed rule for this action was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 13, 2020. Written comments must be received by Dec. 14, 2020.
Interested parties can post comments concerning the proposed termination at regulations.gov or mail them to Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; or fax them to (202) 720-8938.
All comments submitted by the deadline will be made available for public review. USDA will consider all comments before making a final determination. Termination of the marketing order would become effective only after USDA provides a 60-day notice to Congress, as required by law.
More information about the marketing order is available on the AMS 946 Washington Potatoes webpage. Information about federal marketing orders is available on the AMS Marketing Orders and Agreements page or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at (202) 720-2491.
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 (AMS) provides oversight to 29 fruit, vegetable and specialty crop marketing orders, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.
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