Assessment funds were also used to fund market research and development projects, promoting California tree fruit in both domestic and international markets. In recent years, changes in the industry led the committees to reduce the number of programs they supported through the orders. Because many customers now establish their own quality standards, the committees felt it was no longer essential to mandate inspection and certification of packed fruit to marketing order standards. During the last few years, only those handlers wishing to use the ``California Well Matured'' label were required to obtain inspection and certification. With the consolidation of many smaller farms, larger companies have undertaken their own research and promotion programs, thus minimizing the desirability of committee-funded generic programs.
Some details about the industry pulled from the final rule.
There are approximately 97 California nectarine and peach handlers subject to regulation under the orders covering nectarines and peaches grown in California, and about 447 growers of these fruits in California.
For the 2010 marketing season, the committees' staff estimated the average grower price received was $5.50 per container or container equivalent for nectarines and peaches.
I think one of the challenges for the industry will to "right-size" its offerings without the benefit of considering the extensive data stream that the marketing orders generated. Another will be continued effective administration of Market Access Program export promotion funds.
But the end is here for the marketing orders, their glory days long forgotten.