The Christmas Tree R&P Program operates as the Christmas Tree Promotion Board. The purpose of the program is to expand the market and uses of fresh-cut Christmas trees. An assessment on producers and importers of fresh cut Christmas trees finances the program, which is administered by the Christmas Tree Promotion Board, under AMS oversight. The initial assessment rate is $0.15 per Christmas tree cut and sold domestically or imported into the United States. Entities that produce or import fewer than 500 Christmas trees annually are exempt.
The assessment rate can be increased or decreased no more than 2 cents per Christmas tree during the fiscal period. The assessment rate cannot exceed 20 cents per tree.
The Board’s budget for the period of February 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016, is approximately $1.5 million, which funds promotion, research and industry information to help increase the demand for Christmas trees. The Board reimburses the Federal government for the cost of implementing and administering the program.
In November 2011, AMS issued the Christmas Tree Promotion, Research, and Information Order, which created the program under the authority of the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (pdf). The effective date of the order, however, was delayed until April 8, 2014.
The Board is composed of 12 members appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Of the 12, 11 are producers and one is an importer. The 11 domestic seats are allocated between three regions within the United States: Region #1 - Western Region (5 seats); the Region #2 - Central Region (2 seats); and Region #3 - Eastern Region (4 seats). The Board’s composition may change periodically to reflect geographic shifts in volume.
Organic Assessment Exemption
R&P programs allow persons that produce, handle, market, process, manufacture, feed or import “organic” and “100 percent organic” products to be exempt from paying assessments regardless of whether they are a “split” operation.