Georgia Discusses Proposed Olive Oil Marketing Order This Week in Tifton, GA

 Farming & Gardening, Georgia, Marketing, Olive Oil Standards, Seminars, USDA  Comments Off on Georgia Discusses Proposed Olive Oil Marketing Order This Week in Tifton, GA
Apr 072012
 

I want to pass on another great bit of information about an olive business event in Georgia that is happening THIS WEEK.

Members of the fledgling US east coast olive growing and olive oil producing industries have the chance to participate in a “business-changing” event with global implications. If you are already involved or even thinking about becoming involved in growing olives for olive oil production or are interested in just the olive oil production side of the business you must attend the presentation and discussion of the proposed federal olive oil marketing order.

This important presentation and discussion will be held on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at the University of Georgia’s, National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory (NESPAL) Building, 2356 Rainwater Road, Tifton, GA 31793.

If you plan to attend, please contact  Beth Oleson, Executive Director of the Georgia Olive Growers Association, by email at georgiaolivegrowers@asginfo.net or by phone at (706) 845-9085.

There is supposed to be a Google Map to the location just beneath these words but I noticed that sometimes I need to refresh my webpage to see the map. In case the map doesn’t show up or refresh doesn’t work, I added a link to the map in the address just above.


View Larger Map

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com

Jan 182012
 

Tomorrow is an important beginning to what I hope will become a powerful, well-run, and quality-centric industry in the United States – the olive oil industry. In Dixon, California at the Fairgrounds olive growers and olive oil processors will meet to begin the process of establishing a marketing order for olive oil. According to the sponsors, one of which I know is NursTech, the Spanish-owned super high density (SHD) olive tree supplier, this 1st Annual Olive Oil Conference is free to attend.

I saw this conference advertised over the last few weeks and decided to educate myself on marketing orders. One very important thing I learned is that there is a marketing order for table olives grown in California, but none for any table olives grown outside California, and no marketing order or agreement in the US for olive oil. I guess with so many folks in California growing olives for oil and with growers and processors now cropping up in other states the time has arrived to organize (not in the labor union sense).

Here is some of what I have learned from the Agricultural Marketing Service of the United States Department of Agriculture and from the National Agriculture Law Center located at the University of Arkansas. It’s dry reading but I am convinced, after my research, that in order to have a strong olive oil industry the US growers and processors must engage in this procedure.

Marketing Orders and Agreements: “Marketing agreements and orders are initiated by industry to help provide stable markets for dairy products, fruits, vegetables and specialty crops. Marketing orders help to maintain the quality of produce being marketed, standardize packages or containers, and authorized advertising, research and market development. Each order and agreement is tailored to the individual industry’s marketing needs.”

Fruit, Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders:

“Federal marketing orders are locally administered by committees made up of growers and/or handlers, and often a member of the public. Marketing order regulations, initiated by industry and enforced by USDA, bind the entire industry in the geographical area regulated if approved by producers and the Secretary of Agriculture.

Marketing orders and agreements (1) maintain the high quality of produce that is on the market; (2) standardize packages and containers; (3) regulate the flow of product to market; (4) establish reserve pools for storable commodities; and (5) authorize production research, marketing research and development, and advertising.

Marketing agreements and orders are legal instruments authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 and in subsequent amendments. The Secretary of Agriculture is vested with the power to exercise the use of these instruments to regulate the marketing of eligible commodities — fruits, vegetables, specialty crops, and milk — in certain clearly specified ways. Marketing orders help fruit and vegetable growers work together to solve marketing problems that they cannot solve individually. They help balance the availability of quality product with the need for adequate returns to producers and the demands of consumers.

Marketing orders are binding on all individuals and businesses who are classified as “handlers” in the geographic area covered by the order. Marketing orders are distinguished from marketing agreements, which are binding only on handlers who are signatories of the agreements. The definition of handler and handling depends on the particular program. As defined in most agreements and orders, a handler is anyone who receives the commodity from producers, grades and packs it, transports, or places the commodity in commercial channels. Handlers must comply with the grade, size, quality, volume, or other requirements established under the program.

All marketing orders are initiated by producers. Producers have an active role in the development of program provisions and support them at hearings. Approval by a two-thirds or larger majority (three-fourths of California citrus producers) by number or volume represented in a referendum is required before any program is implemented or amended.

For fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing orders, local committees of farmers and handlers – appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture – administer the orders. Committee expenses, as set forth in budgets approved by USDA, are defrayed by assessments on handlers. Generally, any excess funds are set aside in a reserve fund for future needs, but they may be credited to handlers’ accounts against future assessments or returned to handlers at the end of each marketing season upon request.

Committees employ staffs to administer order provisions (e.g., collect assessments, assemble reports, oversee compliance with order provisions), and must maintain the confidentiality of all information submitted by handlers. Committees actively work with all handlers to explain marketing order requirements and to advise them on any particular concerns the handlers may have. Also, committees issue periodic instructions – written in plain English – and provide pertinent dates to comply with any required assessment payments, report submissions, or other program requirements. Committees place a special emphasis on helping small businesses that are handlers regulated under their programs for the first time.”

Steps to Establish a Marketing Order:

“The industry meets to identify mutual marketing problems and determine whether a marketing order could help the industry solve these problems. During these discussions, USDA staff may help the industry identify marketing order authorities relevant to the industry’s problems.

1. If there is general industry support for a program, a preliminary proposal is prepared by a steering committee of key industry people. Growers and shippers are included in discussions on the proposal.

2. A list of industry growers and handlers is developed by proponents. Next a request for a hearing on the proposal is sent to the Administrator of AMS. It should indicate the degree of industry support, the problems the program would address, and suggest a possible hearing site and approximate date.

3. AMS reviews the request and supporting documents, as well as any alternative proposals from interested parties. During this period, the staff of USDA is free to discuss the merits of elements included in any proposal with the industry.

4. A Notice of Public Hearing is then issued, and it is published at least 15 days before the hearing. USDA staff can comment only on procedural questions after this point.

5. A USDA Administrative Law Judge presides at the public hearing and a verbatim record is compiled of the testimony of opponents, proponents and others, including USDA personnel. Because proponents bear the burden of proof, they must present evidence to support the need for the program, and every provision in it. Briefs arguing for particular decisions may be filed with USDA after the hearing.

6. A recommended decision is issued by USDA based on hearing evidence. This is USDA’s formal recommendation on the proposal. Persons are allowed to file exceptions to it for a set time period.

7. After consideration of all exceptions to the recommended decision, USDA prepares a final decision. If it is favorable, a grower referendum is held on the proposal.

8. While producers are voting, copies of a companion marketing agreement are sent to handlers for their signature. Through their signatures on the agreement, handlers indicate their intention to abide by the terms of the program.

9. If at least two thirds of the growers voting by number or by volume approve the proposal, the Secretary of Agriculture issues the marketing order.

This process may take up to one and one-half years to complete, depending on the complexity of the proposal, the size of the industry, and the availability of resources within the industry and USDA to devote to the proposed program.

Here is the link to the National Agricultural Law Center Reading Room on Marketing Orders. It has current legislative, regulatory, and case law. I really enjoyed reading up on marketing orders here. I love this stuff.

Now you can be an expert on Marketing Orders. Have fun.

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com

Apr 042011
 

Because olive oil has not been a big part of the American diet and the United States lags very, very far behind the rest of the world in the production and consumption of this delicious food it wasn’t until last year that our 62 year old standards for olive oil got a face lift. The United States Department of Agriculture published its Standards for Grades of Olive Oil and Olive-Pomace Oil, second issue, on April 28, 2010 and it became effective on October 24, 2010. While this may not seem like a big deal since governments are always issuing some standard or other, the first issue of this document was published on March 22, 1948, shortly after the end of WW II.

Before you curl up with this spine-tingling thriller let me warn you, you just may fall asleep before you reach the end. But not me, Olive Crazy is here to give you the highlights of this compelling read.

First of all these standards are voluntary and are for use by producers, suppliers, buyers, and consumers. As production and consumption increase in the United States these standards will become more important to producers who want to market their oil to the American public and as U.S. consumers demand more information. It’s a cycle. Production and consumption of foreign and domestic olive oils is on the rise in the U.S. and I think it is important to know, right now, just what the type of oil and grade means when you pick up that bottle of Extra Virgin, Virgin, or Olive Oil.

Types of olive oil for human consumption

  • Virgin olive oils – the oils obtained from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea L.) solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions, including thermal conditions, that do not lead to alterations in the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment other than washing, decantation, centrifugation, and filtration.
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Virgin olive oil
  • Olive oil – the oil obtained solely from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea L.), to the exclusion of oils obtained using solvents or re-esterification processes and of any mixture with oils of other kinds.
  • Refined olive oil – same description as olive oil (above).

Grades of olive oil for human consumption

  • “U.S. Extra Virgin Olive Oil” is virgin olive oil which has excellent flavor and odor and meets all the requirements in Table 1 of the document (Table 1 is big so I won’t be including it here).
  • “U.S. Virgin Olive Oil” is virgin olive oil which has reasonably good flavor and odor and meets all the requirements in Table 1 of the document.
  • “U.S. Olive Oil” is the oil consisting of a blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oils fit for consumption without further processing and meets all the requirements in Table 1 of the document.
  • “U.S. Refined Olive Oil” is the olive oil obtained from virgin olive oils by refining methods that do not lead to alterations in the initial glyceridic structure (basic glycerin-fatty acid structure) and meets all the requirements in Table 1 of the document.

This is a very basic overview and in comparison to the standards of the International Olive Oil Council n.k.a. International Olive Council are not very comprehensive. I hope for success as the olive industry grows throughout the United States and the world, and I believe high standards can only benefit both consumers and producers.

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com