The popcorn R&P program operates as the Popcorn Board. The program's purpose is to maintain and expand existing markets and develop new markets for popcorn and popcorn products. The Popcorn Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Order authorizes The Popcorn Board to administer the program under AMS supervision. The Board collects assessments from processors of more than 4 million pounds of popcorn annually, regardless of the popcorn’s country of origin. The assessment rate is 6 cents per hundredweight. The rate may be lowered or raised but may not exceed 8 cents per hundredweight.
The funds collected are used for promotion, consumer information, and market and related research. The Board’s budget for 2016 is approximately $1.0 million. The Board expects to receive $675,000 in assessments and an estimated $400,500 from the Foreign Agricultural Service. The Board reimburses the Federal government for expenses incurred in administering the program. AMS is required to notify the House and Senate agriculture committees when the user fee reaches 10 percent of the Board’s annual projected revenues.
In July 2009, AMS issued the Popcorn Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Order, which created the program under the authority of the Popcorn Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act (pdf). The Act limits USDA user fees to 15 percent of the Board's annual projected revenue.
The Board consists of five at-large processors who each process at least 4 million pounds of popcorn annually. The Board uses a management firm in Chicago, Illinois, to administer its program. You can access a listing of current Board members and alternates on the Popcorn Board roster (pdf).
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.