Marketing orders and agreements are industry-driven programs that help fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop producers and handlers achieve marketing success. By working together, industry members leverage their own funds to design and execute programs that they would not be able to do as individuals. Each program is custom tailored to address the needs of their respective industries. These programs operate on the local to multi-state regional scale, and: 1) Provide a comprehensive set of tools to build markets; 2) Drive increased consumer demand; and 3) Improve profitability for producers. The Agricultural Marketing Service oversees fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing orders and agreements and ensures compliance with all requirements. Marketing orders and agreements are authorized by the Agriculture Marketing and Agreement Act of 1937.
Marketing order committees are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, and usually employ staffs to administer provisions, such as collecting assessments, assembling reports, and overseeing compliance with the marketing orders. These committees actively work with handlers to explain marketing order requirements and to provide advice on any concerns the handlers may have, placing a special emphasis on helping small business handlers regulated under their programs for the first time. They also issue periodic instructions—written in plain English—and provide all necessary due dates for payments, report submissions or other program requirements. Marketing order regulations, which must be followed by handlers, are enforced after producers vote in referendum.
Marketing agreements provide the same regulatory tools that are available under marketing orders. The key difference between marketing agreements and marketing orders is that agreements are voluntarily entered into by handlers. However, once a handler signs an agreement, compliance with the agreement’s provisions becomes mandatory.
USDA's Role in Marketing Orders and Agreements
These programs represent a team effort between USDA and the committees of growers, handlers, and others who are nominated by their industry to serve. USDA participates in committee meetings, reviews and approves their annual budgets, ensures compliance with various policies, conducts rulemaking based on industry recommendations to effectuate program improvements, and, overall, ensure that each committee operates according to authorizing legislations.
Cuba Stakeholder Information
In March 2016, AMS hosted informational sessions with industry stakeholders regarding the President’s recent announcement on the normalization of relations with Cuba and what it means for AMS Research and Promotion Programs and Marketing Orders. Any questions regarding information activities, approval processes, travel requirements and more on these activities in Cuba should be emailed to CubaComments@ams.usda.gov.