In December, the Florida citrus industry continued to evaluate the idea of forming a Federal Research and Promotion Order for orange juice. A 14-member Industry Review Committee was established to discuss the process of developing an order and review its pros and cons.
Florida Citrus Commission Chairman Ned Hancock encouraged the formation of the committee, which is made up of industry citrus associations and growers. Florida Citrus Mutual coordinated the establishment of the committee and, as of press time, the first meeting had not been scheduled.
Establishing an Order
The first step in securing a federal promotion order is to submit a proposal to the USDA, the agency that administers the program. The proposal should include an industry analysis and points on why the order is needed, along with objectives of what it is hoped the order will achieve.
The USDA then publishes the request for an order in the Federal Register and holds public meetings that call for an up or down vote held on the measure. If approved, the federal order will assess a marketing fee on juice importers, along with all domestic juice, including states outside of Florida.
The Florida Department of Citrus, the current research and marketing body in the state, has promoted 100% Florida Orange Juice. Under a federal order, a single state cannot be promoted, meaning only generic orange juice can be promoted. There is a divided opinion on this issue. In addition, other citrus-growing states must be represented on the board of the promotion agency, which calls into question if Florida would cede too much control under a federal order.
USDA currently oversees 21 federal research and promotion orders/boards, covering a range of commodities such as cotton, beef, and dairy. This most recent effort to establish a federal juice promotion is not the first such attempt. The idea has been brought up several times since the early 2000s.