AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT AMENDMENT -- (House of Representatives - October 05, 2004)
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Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the ranking member of the committee and the committee chairman and subcommittee chairman for their work on this legislation. I want to thank the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Hastings), the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Nethercutt) and the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Larsen) for joining me as cosponsors of this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I represent pear country in the northwest, at least in the State of Oregon. In the great Hood River Valley and down in the Jackson Road Valley, Jackson County and elsewhere across my district, they grow tremendous, tasty pears, many of which find their way into special packages from Harry and David, among other companies.
Our pear growers are trying to be innovative in terms of how they market their products. Many individual growers now are growing organic fruit, and many are taking it upon themselves to market their own products to the public, as opposed to necessarily going through big processors, although, obviously, the bulk of the fruit still is dealt with that way. But they are looking for new ways to bring value added to their products.
The industry, therefore, is seeking to consolidate their promotional activity under a single Federal marketing order, and the current statute requires that any marketing order that assesses processing pears must have equal representation from producers and processors on its governing board, and yet the processors pay nothing into this process.
So, as a result, they have come to us, the processors and the growers, and said, "You know, why don't you change this law and let us go ahead and streamline how we operate."
So this legislation does that. It removes the existing processor membership requirement, and the processors all support that. The change will pave the way for consolidation and allow producers alone to dictate how their funds will be used in pear promotional activities.
The pear industry is united behind this. Each of the Pacific Northwest pear processors have expressed support for the changes. The Oregon, Washington and California State marketing commissions support it. Both Federal marketing orders are in support. The Pacific Northwest Canned Pear Service, the nonprofit voluntary marketing board of the Northwest canned pear industry, supports it. And the Washington-Oregon Canning Pear Association, the nonprofit bargaining association, all support H.R. 2984.
So, Mr. Speaker, I encourage the approval of this legislation. I look forward to having this written into law and having our pear industry be able to be more competitive in its promotional activities.