On October 28, 2015, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released in the Federal Register its Recommended Decision proposing the issuance of a Federal Marketing Order for Pecans. The American Pecan Board (APB), the proponent group for the pecan industry, commends the USDA staff for its careful consideration of the sixty hours of testimony by pecan stakeholders. In July, fifty-five witnesses from the pecan industry presented their case to the Administrative Law Judge and USDA personnel as to why a Federal Marketing Order for Pecans (FMO) will benefit growers, shellers and other processors, and consumers. The APB is pleased that the USDA Recommended Decision validates pecan stakeholder testimony regarding the state of the industry and the need for the FMO.
The FMO authorizes the marketing and promotion of pecans to increase demand, the gathering and publishing of accurate industry data, the coordination and investment in pecan research, the establishment of quality, grade, and size standards, and the establishment of packaging guidelines and standards. These components were all upheld in the Recommended Decision of the FMO which allows for a thirty-day public comment period. A final order concerning the FMO is expected from USDA in early 2016.
Mike Adams, President of APB and a Texas pecan farmer, observed that, “The Pecan is America’s tree nut. Its unique existence in this country dates back before recorded history. This Recommended Decision on the FMO by USDA is truly historic for our industry. It is the result of a unified effort of dedicated growers, supporting shellers, and our Congressional Senators and Representatives whose backing was invaluable. We, as the pecan industry, realize that we have work yet to do. After the Secretary’s final recommendation in early 2016, pecan growers will have the opportunity to vote on the FMO in a grower referendum followed by sheller and grower nominations for the FMO Council and Alternates.
To have come this far, we all are indebted to an unselfish, hard-working APB and legal counsel and a tireless effort from USDA staff. Our board is gratified by the support of pecan stakeholders across the industry whose thoughtful input is the actual substance of the FMO. We sincerely believe that the FMO, when implemented, will provide consistently profitable prices for growers, attractive sustainable margins for domestic shellers, and an assured supply of quality, healthy pecans for consumers – our ultimate goal.”
A link to the Recommended Decision of the USDA.