USDA outlines expansion of organic assessment exemptions

A final ruling was handed down to expand the exemption for certified organic products from assessments collected by commodity promotion programs and marketing orders administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

The exception will be for all "organic" and "100 percent organic" products, even if the entity requesting an exemption also produces non-organic products, which is a change from when the exception applied to only entities producing organic products.

The 2014 Farm Bill was responsible for expanding it to firms that also grow, ship or handle non-organic products. The exception will now also include entities using it for promotion and research activities to producers, handlers, marketers, processors, manufacturers, feeders or importers of “organic” and “100 percent organic” products certified under the National Organic Program.

Currently, 22 national research and promotional programs and 23 marketing order programs have market promotion authority. The marketing order programs can only apply for an exception for the portion of the total assessment that is designated for market promotion activities.

Notices of the changes are published in the Dec. 31 Federal Register and the rule will become effective on Feb. 29.

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United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service

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