Comment sought on USDA tomato marketing changes

By USDA AMS Produce
Special to the Lake Okeechobee News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing changes to the handling requirements under the federal marketing order for tomatoes grown in Florida. The Florida Tomato Committee recommended the changes to bring previously exempt Roma tomatoes under the marketing order’s handling regulations.

The committee also recommended developing exemption language for greenhouse and hydroponic tomatoes by establishing a new definition for “controlled environment.” Changes to pack and container requirements are also proposed to reflect current industry practices.

The proposed rule for this action was published in the Federal Register June 9. Written comments are due by July 9.

Submit formal written comments concerning the proposed change online at regulations.gov. You may also mail them to Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237, or fax them to 202-720-8938.

All comments to this proposed rule submitted by the deadline will be made available for public review and will be considered before a final rule is published.

More information about the marketing order is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 966 Florida Tomatoes webpage, the AMS Marketing Orders and Agreements webpage, or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at 202-720-2491.

Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, marketing orders are industry-driven programs that help producers and handlers achieve marketing success by leveraging their own funds to design and execute programs that they would not be able to do individually. The Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight to 29 fruit vegetable and specialty crops marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.

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