USDA: Transcription of QA session from tomato web seminar

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

Again, I would encourage you to go to Appendix B of the Agreement and if it meets the greater than eight percent soft and decay; if you look at the text of the Agreement, that should be spelled out there for you.

Someone asked why is a 25 lb bulk average weight 26.79?

When we weighed tomatoes at the port we found that the average weight of a 25lb carton was 26.79 and that is how that average weight was determined. It is my understanding that the seller wants to ensure that the receiver gets at least 25lbs and I know that there is evaporation as the tomatoes travel, so in order to get the most accurate value for the tomatoes and the minimum prices we derived these average weights and we calculated it that way.

Are grape and cherry tomatoes in clamshells included in the Agreement?

All fresh tomatoes, except tomatoes that are for processing, are included in the Agreement. The packaging type style does not matter; it covers all fresh tomatoes.

Grape tomatoes are on the specialty tomato chart. That was a question.

Who is responsible for certification of the different categories to verify compliance?

We (USDOC) will be monitoring that; we will be getting reports from the signatories; we have the authority to verify. We will be establishing an information exchange with the Mexican government that tracks Mexican exports.

There are a lot of questions regarding if the tomatoes are sold and then “x” happens?

Again, the point I can’t emphasize enough it’s the first sale, so if the tomatoes have sold, then they have been sold. It is that first sale that’s governed by the Agreement.

How is the 85% policed?

We have over 600 signatories. We get reports from the signatories themselves; we get data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and we ensure that we have at least 85% coverage from the signatories based on entries of product from the U.S. Customs data.

Again another question about Canada, this is a Mexican agreement only.

If a grower does not sign the Agreement, can they sell at U.S. competition prices?

If a grower does not sign the Agreement they are not subject to the terms of Agreement and they can set their prices.

Is the term greenhouse no longer relevant in terms of the reference price?

Greenhouse was not a relevant term used before. In the 2002 and 2008 Agreements we had single reference prices for each season. We do not define greenhouse in the current Agreement. I know it is an industry standard or well known term in the industry, but it is not something the Agreement addresses.


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