The processed raspberries R&P program operated as the National Processed Raspberry Council (Council). The purpose of the program was to maintain and expand existing markets and develop new markets for processed raspberry products.
Under AMS oversight, the program was administered by the Council, which was composed of producers, importers, foreign producers and an at-large member. In May 2012, AMS issued the Processed Raspberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order, which created the program under the authority of the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (pdf). The Council was charged with conducting market research and development projects, promotion, and related activities.
The Order requires USDA to conduct a continuance referendum every seven years. A referendum may also be held if requested by 10 percent or more of all the eligible producers and importers, by request of the Council, or when the Secretary of Agriculture deems it necessary. For the program to continue at least 50 percent of those voting must be in favor. In March 2018, USDA received a petition for a referendum supported by more than the required 10 percent of eligible producers and importers. As such, a referendum took place from September – October 2018. In November 2018, USDA announced that only 43% of the eligible voters were in favor of continuing the program.
Following the vote, three Council members were nominated by their peers to serve as trustees to liquidate the organization’s affairs. After their official appointment by USDA in December 2018, the trustees have been working to wind down the Council’s activities and fulfill its obligations.
In February 2019, AMS published a rule in the Federal Register terminating the requirement to collect assessments under the Order. The rule became effective on February 21, 2019. As such, producers of raspberries for processing and importers of processed raspberries are no longer required to pay the 1 cent per pound assessment that financed the program.
AMS continues to work with the trustees to liquidate the program and will publish a rule officially terminating the remaining provisions of the Order as soon as practical.