The Producer Review Board (PRB) met this week for the first time since August of 2020. There were a number of business items that needed action. In 2021, Frank Konyn from Escondido was appointed as a new board member, and Debbie Azevedo from Merced and Pete DeBoer from McFarland were appointed as alternate board members, but since there was not a PRB meeting in 2021, this was their first meeting. You can see the complete Board roster here. The board elected Art Van Beek as chairman and Will Dyt as vice-chairman. The minutes of the August 27, 2020 meeting were approved. Minutes from that meeting are interesting. You can read them here.
CDFA then gave some updates on the operations of the Quota Implementation Plan (QIP). The current quota assessment rate is generating more money than is necessary to fund the quota payments. The quota payment fund, (which I learned is held in a separate bank account) has accumulated more than $17 million and is projected to hit nearly $20 million by August. CDFA staff recommended reducing the assessment rate to draw down this balance.
After a lot of good discussion, the PRB is recommending to the Secretary that the QIP assessment rate be dropped on August 1 to $0.274 per cwt. from the current $0.365 for seven months to bring the fund balance down and then establish an assessment rate going forward of $0.34 on March 1, 2023.
There was some discussion about membership on the PRB. There are some terms that expired on December 1, 2021, but because no further appointments have been made, the current members continue to serve. There are also terms that end in December of 2022 that need attention. CDFA staff indicated that they hoped to send out nomination forms to producers soon to address these positions.
There was an update on a couple of pending lawsuits. Not much to report other than that the suits are not resolved yet. The PRB also discussed the petition process. The Department had received a number of petitions since the last PRB meeting and none of them were accepted by CDFA. You can see the petitions and the responses from CDFA here.
There were several items suggested for discussion at a future PRB meeting. Giving CDFA discretion to adjust assessment rates without needing a PRB meeting is one item and the other item is the need to respond to the requirement in Section 1100 of the QIP which says:
“Section 1100. A producer survey shall be conducted by an independent party selected by the Producer Review Board at least every five (5) years. The survey shall evaluate the effectiveness of the Plan. The results of the review will be provided to the Producer Review Board for its consideration, and recommendation to the Secretary.”
These items could be considered at the next PRB meeting, which the committee discussed having in early November 2022.
Geoff Vanden Heuvel
Director of Regulatory and Economic Affairs