After years of working and waiting, the members of Christmas Tree Promotion Now (CTPN) are pleased to announce that on Monday, April 7, 2014 the Obama administration lifted the nearly 2 ½ year stay that was placed on the Christmas Tree Research and Promotion Order; commonly known as the Christmas tree check-off.
The USDA has asked that we keep a low profile and we will respect that request. CTPN will not be sending out a press release unless we see some negative publicity. We'll be ready, but not proactive.
The lifting of the stay was paired with a request for comments about the paperwork that will be required for growers to fill out. Comments are being invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments should be sent to www.regulations.gov and refer to document of the OMB #0581-0268 by June 6th.
As most of you know, support from legislators was key in this victory when Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill that directed USDA to lift the stay on the Christmas tree check-off within 60 days of the signing of the Farm Bill. President Obama signed the Farm Bill on February 7 at Michigan State University at the invitation of Senator Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and supporter of the check-off.
The next step in the process will be the nomination of check-off board members. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) division of USDA will soon announce what that process will be. CTPN members are aware that AMS staffers have been preparing for this eventuality.
The members of CTPN appreciate the support that they have received from industry members, financial donors, the legislators who took up this issue and our attorney, Wayne Watkinson. We are also indebted to Craig Regelbrugge of AmericanHort for his tireless efforts on behalf of the Christmas tree industry.
It has been a long road and quite a struggle to get to this point. We are excited about moving forward and for the new opportunities the check-off may provide the Christmas tree industry.
Christmas Tree Promotion Now