The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that producers of south Texas onions have voted to continue their marketing order program.
In a release posted at https://www.ams.usda.gov/content/producers-south-texas-onions-vote-continue-federal-marketing-order the federal agency noted that in “a referendum held between Sep. 1 and Oct. 3, 2022, continuance of the marketing order was favored by 78.6 percent of Texas onion producers voting in the referendum, and by 73.7 percent of the volume voted in the referendum.” The marketing order’s continuance needed either two-thirds or more of the votes to be in favor or the votes from producers representing two-thirds or more of the volume to favor the measure.
This was the second referendum in a little over two years on the continuance of the marketing order, the first having been held in 2020. The results of the first referendum, which was held during the COVID pandemic, “failed to reach the required level of support from voting producers to continue the marketing order.”
Feedback on the results during the public comment period on the proposed termination of the program in the following months “demonstrated support for keeping the order,” the USDA noted. “To assess the true level of producer support for the program,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack “determined that conducting a second referendum was appropriate. In lieu of the vote in favor of continuance, USDA will publish a withdrawal of the proposed rule to terminate the order.”
The agency also reiterated that the marketing order “provides authority to the South Texas Onion Committee to establish quality regulations, pack and container requirements, and research and promotion programs for onions grown in South Texas.
More information about the marketing order regulating the handling of onions grown in south Texas is available on the AMS 959 South Texas Onions webpage, the Marketing Orders and Agreements webpage, or by contacting the Market Development 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. AMS provides oversight to 27 fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.