The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced the final rules on January 14, 2005 for the exemption for organic producers and marketers from payment assessments under research and promotion boards, to be effective 30 days from publication.
The final rule states that in order to obtain an assessment exemption, a person must operate under a NOP-approved organic system plan and must produce and market only commodities eligible for a "100 percent organic" label under the National Organic Program (NOP). This applies to all commodities produced and marketed by the person, not only those covered by the applicable research and promotion program under which the exemption is sought.
In order to qualify for an exemption Iowa organic producers and marketers must apply to the United Soybean Board, 16640 Chesterfield, MO 63005-1422. The form requests the following information: the applicant’s name, name and address of the company, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address (optional), a copy of the applicant’s organic farm or organic handling certificate provided by a USDA-accredited certifying agent under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, and a signed certification that the applicant meets all of the requirements specified for an assessment exemption. This signed certification includes providing a list of commodities marketed by the applicant and assertions that the applicant is not a split operation and produces and markets only products eligible to be labeled as 100 percent organic.
Organic producers and marketers must apply for the exemption annually.
Organic producers and marketers that qualify for this national exemption are still subject to the state checkoff. According to Chapter 185 of the Iowa Code, 1/4 of 1% of the net market value must be assessed from the sale of any Iowa soybeans.
Chapter 185 of the Iowa Code also has a refund provision. The organic producer must apply within 60 days after the deduction to the Iowa Soybean Association. Forms may be requested from the Iowa Soybean Association by calling 515-251-8640.
Click here to download the exemption application forms or call 515-251-8640 to request a copy by mail.