Is the information that I provide on the forms confidential?
Yes, according to 7 CFR §1223.62 of the Pecan Promotion, Research and Information Order (Order), all information obtained from books, records, or reports under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 (Act) and the Order shall be kept confidential by all persons.
Are American Pecan Promotion Board (APPB) members allowed to see an individual report or information from my report?
No, this is prohibited in 7 CFR §1223.62 of the Order. The APPB will only see information in aggregate so that no one person may be identified.
Does anyone check to see that an individual report is being kept confidential?
Yes, USDA as part of its oversight, routinely checks to see that all individual reports are in a locked cabinet and may only be accessed by authorized persons covered by the confidentiality of the Order. Further, the USDA checks aggregated reports to make sure that no one person may be identified.
Is the list of producers on the First Handler/Importer report confidential?
Yes, the report is confidential under 7 CFR §1223.62 of the Order.
Who will see the information from my form?
The Board voted to utilize an accounting firm, Armstrong Backus, to receive and collect assessments, and check for compliance. Only employees of this accounting firm and USDA are able to see information from these reports.
Who am I sending my assessments and forms to?
When you remit your assessments and forms, you are sending them directly to the APPB in care of Armstrong Backus, the contracted accounting firm performing administrative services for the APPB.
Will employees of Armstrong Backus keep my information confidential?
Yes, Armstrong Backus is under contract with the APPB. As a contractor, they are required, per 7 CFR §1223.62 of the Order, to keep all information obtained from books, records, or reports confidential, even from board members. Information is only released in aggregate so that no one person may be identified.
Will USDA keep my information confidential?
Yes, USDA enforces the provisions of confidentiality in the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 and the Order.
How will my information be used?
Armstrong Backus will use this information to track who is paying assessments and who is exempt. The USDA will use this information to mail referendum ballots to all qualified producers and importers in 2024.
Will my information be shared with the American Pecan Council (APC)?
No. The APC and APPB do not have statutory authority to share and utilize each other’s confidential information.
Are there penalties if someone violates the confidentiality requirements?
Yes, the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 and the Order have penalties against any person who willfully violates the laws.
Who do I contact to report an alleged violation of confidentiality?
If you suspect any violation of the Order, including confidentiality, fraud, or misuse of funds, you may call the USDA Market Development Division at (202) 720-9915 or the Office of Inspector General at (800) 494-9121.