The marketing order assessment rate for Texas oranges and grapefruit for 2022–23 and subsequent years will be reduced from 5 cents to 3 cents per 7/10-bushel carton.
The reduction is the result of a final rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS), which implemented a recommendation from the Texas Valley Citrus Committee. The rule’s effective date is April 10. The committee, comprised of fruit producers and handlers, administers a marketing order regulating the handling of oranges and grapefruit grown in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
The committee voted to decrease the assessment rate due to an increase in production. At the 5-cent assessment rate, income would equal $200,000, exceeding the committee’s anticipated expenditures of $134,970. By decreasing the assessment rate by 2 cents, assessment income will be approximately $120,000. This amount, along with reserve funds and interest income, should provide sufficient funds to meet 2022–23 anticipated expenses.
The committee recommended decreasing the assessment rate based on the 2022–23 estimate of 4 million 7/10-bushel cartons or equivalent — 3 million more than was estimated for the previous year. The March federal forecast for Texas production in 2022–23 is 1.15 million boxes of oranges versus 200,000 boxes the prior year, and 2.2 million boxes of grapefruit versus 1.7 million boxes the prior year.
The committee recommended the previous 5-cent per carton rate for the 2021–22 season, and USDA AMS approved that request. That regulatory amendment raised the assessment rate from an earlier rate of 1 cent per carton. The committee made the recommendation to reduce the rate to 3 cents per carton on May 24, 2022.
There are approximately 120 producers of oranges and grapefruit in the Lower Rio Grande Valley production area and 14 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order.
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