USDA Publishes Presentation on Expansion of the Organic Assessment Exemption

February 11, 2016

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has released a recorded presentation that provides an overview of modifications to the organic assessment exemption regulations under 23 Federal marketing orders and 22 research and promotion programs, collectively referred to as “commodity promotion programs.” 

The presentation provides an overview on how the amendments to the exemption will be applied to businesses under each of the commodity promotion programs moving forward.  The recording can be accessed at http://www.ams.usda.gov/report-presentation/organic-exemption.

Changes to previous regulations expand the exemption to cover all “organic” and “100 percent organic” products certified under the National Organic Program regardless of whether the person requesting the exemption also produces, handles, markets, processes, manufactures, feeds, or imports conventional or nonorganic products.  The revisions were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.  AMS published a proposed rule with request for public comment in the Dec. 14, 2014, Federal Register and issued the final rule on Dec. 31, 2015.  The expanded exemption takes effect on Feb. 29, 2016.

AMS may conduct additional stakeholder information sessions as needed about the exemption.  Contact information for specific AMS programs is available at the end of the presentation. Industry members wanting additional information can contact the board or committee that administers their industry’s commodity promotion program.  Industry boards and committees may direct questions to AMS personnel who oversee the respective program’s activities.