USDA: Transcription of QA session from tomato web seminar

03/18/2013 03:45:00 PM
Tom Karst

During the negotiations, we consulted with the U.S. industry. We talked at length with the Mexican growers. It was determined to use the specific definition of controlled environment that we have in the Agreement, and that then leaves anything that does not fall within that definition goes into open field or adapted environment.

There is a question, where can we find a copy of the price chart? They will be in this presentation; they are also on the Commerce website. You can into the tomato website that is on the screen now. You will see that there is the text of the agreement, and they are in the text. There is also a link for box weights that list all the charts separately.

A question of how long do we keep the paperwork?

My suggestion would be at least one complete season. For instance, I would keep all of the paperwork from the winter season from 12/13 through at least the next agreement period. I have a better answer here; Brian says that PACA requires licensees to maintain the paperwork for two years. That works well because it crosses over into that second season.

Why aren’t all defects included in the defects allowed for adjustment?

The intent of the Agreement is to ensure that tomatoes can be sold at or above the reference price. The Agreement does not allow for adjustments for quality defects because those are identifiable before the product is shipped. If there is already a heavy supply of tomatoes in the market, the lower quality tomatoes will not sell above the reference price. So this requires the Mexican signatory growers ensure that if there is already plenty of product, that they exercise restraint and they do not ship the lower quality tomatoes. So the idea is the Agreement makes adjustments for things that can change after shipment. So that is why we have the condition defects.

I have a question; if 25% are found soft and decay, how do we show we destroyed the tomatoes?

Over the years I have seen a variety of examples of evidence: dump certificates, photos, certified statements, affidavits. I am looking at Brian to see if there is anything else that he can think from PACA that PACA would be looking for. Brian says, anything donated they would be looking for a donation certificate. Keep all of the paperwork together. The customer should provide the seller with the required paperwork, and it is the obligation of the seller to ensure they have what is needed before they give the condition defection adjustment on those.


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