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Understand the Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement
The Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement, which will set voluntary standards for farmers, has been considered for several years. Legislation passed in 2012 paved the way for voluntary programs such as this.
The state is now evaluating whether to approve the agreement based on factors such as whether it complies with state and federal law and that it will have sufficient funds to pay administration costs.
How it works
The Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement Board will devise a set of standards for growing, handling and food safety by which those who join the program will abide.
Growers may choose to voluntarily enroll each year by paying a membership fee, which can later be applied to an assessment fee that will ensure growers are meeting the standards.
The agreement proposes setting standards that are responsive to the size of the farm, by separating farms into three categories (Tiers 1-3). Fees for the assessment will be determined by which tier the farm fits into.
Once a grower has become a member of OPMA, they will be permitted to use the OPMA logo on their products, identifying their products with the OPMA brand.
Ohio and nonOhio residents can become members of OPMA.
How it is governed
OPMA will be governed by a board of at least three but no more than five members, as well as an ex-officio spot for the director of agriculture or his designee.
These board members will be elected by the members of the agreement.
The agreement may be altered, amended, or terminated and a new marketing program adopted by a majority vote of members at any regular or special meeting, so long as any changes will remain in compliance with the statutory requirements for marketing agreements.
The director of agriculture also has authority to terminate an agreement.
More information can found at OPMA's website.