Florida Tomato Assessment Rate Could Increase By One Cent

Clint ThompsonFlorida, Tomatoes

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Florida tomato producers are facing a proposed assessment rate increase for tomatoes produced in the state, from $0.025 cents to $0.035 cents, per 25-pound carton. This comes as a recommendation from the Florida Tomato Committee and would increase the assessment rate for 2023-2024 and subsequent fiscal periods.

The proposed rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless it is modified, suspended or terminated.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published the proposed rule in the Federal Register. Those growers and industry leaders can submit a comment on the proposal until April 8, 2024. Comments can be sent to the Docket Clerk by email at MarketingOrderComment@usda.gov or via the internet at www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference the document number, date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register.

The identify of the individuals or entities submitting comments will be made public on the internet at www.regulations.gov.


The Florida Tomato Committee met on Sept. 20, 2023 and unanimously recommended 2023-2024 fiscal period expenditures of $1.15 million and an assessment rate of $0.035 per 25-pound container or equivalent of Florida tomatoes handled for 2023-2024 and subsequent fiscal periods.

An increase in the assessment rate would allow the committee to replenish and maintain their financial reserves at the desired level of $250,000, according to the Federal Register. The Florida Tomato Committee projects handler receipts of approximately 22 million 25-pound containers of assessable Florida tomatoes for the 2023-2024 fiscal period, an increase from the 21.8 million handled for the 2022-2023 fiscal period.

At the current assessment rate of 2.5 cents, the expected 22 million containers would generate $550,000 in assessment revenue. By increasing the rate by one cent, assessment income would generate $770,000 for the 2023-2024 fiscal period. This amount, along with approximately $265,501 in funds from the Foreign Agricultural Service Market Access Program and $129,071 in other income, ensures the Florida Tomato Committee can fund its recommended fiscal period budgeted expenditures and maintain financial reserves around $250,000.

Source: Federal Register