The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS) has proposed a decrease in the assessment rate for oranges and grapefruit grown in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. 

The current assessment rate, established for 2017-18, is $0.02 per 7/10-bushel carton or equivalent of oranges and grapefruit. The proposed new assessment rate is $0.01 per 7/10-bushel carton or equivalent.

The proposed new assessment is a result of the need to reduce the Texas Valley Citrus Committee’s reserve balance, which has been greater than the allowed reserve of one year’s operating expenses since 2017. The Committee reduced its budget by $595,000 in 2017-18 due to an alternative funding source for a Mexican fruit fly control program, and as a result, the authorized reserve balance needed to be reduced to reflect the lower operating budget.

The new assessment rate would take effect for 2018-19 and remain in effect indefinitely.