Assessments will decline for desert grapes. ( File photo )

A proposal from the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee will reduce marketing order grape assessments from three cents to two cents per 18-pound lug.

The marketing order covers grapes grown in Imperial County, part of Riverside County, and part of San Diego County in California.

Comments on the proposal must be received by April 2.

The committee on Nov. 30 unanimously recommended 2018 fiscal year expenditures of $119,000, with an estimated cash reserve of $115,000, and an assessment rate of two cents per 18-pound lug, according to the release.

The 2017 crop, at the current three-cent assessment, provided more income than required to cover expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That resulted in an estimated cash reserve of $140,000, part of which will be used to supplement the 2018 budget.

The major expenditures recommended by the committee for the 2018 fiscal year include $65,000 for management and compliance services, $25,500 in office expenditures, and $28,500 for research. That compares with 2017 expenses, with $50,000 for management and compliance services, $28,330 in office expenditures, and $28,500 for research.

Grape shipments for fiscal year 2018 are estimated at 4.7 million 18-pound lugs, according to the USDA, which should provide $94,000 in assessment income. The committee proposes to utilize approximately $25,000 of its carry-over reserve funds to fully fund the fiscal year 2018 proposed budget, while assessing the 2018 crop at the proposed lower rate.



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