Members of the natural grass production industry submitted a draft proposal to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for a promotion, research, and information program covering natural grass sod. AMS received a draft Order, industry analysis and justification, and letters of support from various industry groups. On October 16, 2023, AMS published in the Federal Register two proposed rules seeking comments on establishing an industry funded promotion, research, and information program for natural grass sod products and establishing procedures for conducting a referendum to determine whether issuance of a proposed Natural Grass Sod Research and Promotion Order is favored by natural grass sod producers.
If approved by a simple majority of producers in an initial referendum, an 11-member board would administer the proposed order. The purpose of the new program is to maintain and expand markets by funding promotion, research, and information programs to increase demand and create markets for natural grass sod. Producers would pay an initial assessment rate of one-tenth (1/10th) of one penny ($0.01) per square foot, or the equivalent thereof, of natural grass sod products. No natural grass sod producer would be exempt from paying the assessment unless producing a certified organic product under the National Organic Program. If established, this program would be implemented under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996.