May 17, 2018
USDA proposes regulation change for specialty varieties

The USDA has proposed rule to change the varietal classifications that determine the size requirements for U.S. No. 2 grade potatoes to account for changing consumer preferences for specialty and fingerling varieties.

These varieties are handled under the marketing order for Irish potatoes grown in certain designated counties in Idaho, and Malheur County, Oregon. The proposed rule would also affect imported long potatoes.

Under the proposed change, the classifications of potatoes would be revised to distinguish between russet potatoes and all other varieties under the marketing order. The import regulations for long potatoes would also be changed accordingly. The proposed rule would change only the names of the potatoes in the classifications. The size requirements specified in the marketing order’s handling regulations would remain unchanged.

The USDA said handling regulations’ current size requirements do not adequately distinguish between non-traditional potato varieties, forcing them to meet size requirements that do not match their natural characteristics or their intended market outlet. The agency further said the proposed change would align handling regulations with the varieties of potatoes grown in the production area and allow the sale of potatoes that would have been restricted.

The proposed rule for this action was published in the Federal Register May 9, 2018.  Written comments must be received by July 9.

The USDA advised to post comments concerning the proposed change at www.regulations.gov, or mail them to Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; or fax them to (202) 720-8938.

All comments to this proposed rule submitted by the deadline will be made available “as is” for public review and considered before any reporting requirements or information collection are finalized.

Information about the marketing order is available on the 945 Idaho & Oregon Potatoes marketing order page of the AMS website.

More information about federal marketing orders is available on the Marketing Orders and Agreements page of the AMS website or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at (202) 720-2491.






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