CACASA's Direct Marketing Proposals

A Discusion Paper

On February 13, 2004, the Direct Marketing Subcommittee met to discuss its charge to develop recommendations that would return the Direct Marketing Program back to its original intent. The subcommittee felt that the original intent of direct marketing was to provide a venue for fanners to sell fresh produce to consumers without having to comply with standard container, size, and labeling requirements. Additionally, the program was intended to be simple and straight forward, enforceable, somewhat self-regulating, and workable within the limited resources of county and state budgets.

However, direct marketing has changed significantly and grown tremendously since its beginnings. As the Program grew, possibly beyond what was forecasted, many unforeseen challenges and issues developed that necessitated greater program complexity, changes in regulations, and a growing enforcement workload. Along with this growth has been a corresponding growth in the program's demand on state and county resources.

Therefore, the challenge of the subcommittee was to develop proposals to return a growing and evolving Direct Marketing Program back to its original intent while maintaining effective enforcement. To do this, the subcommittee focused on proposals to adequately fund the Direct Marketing Program and on possible changes in enforcement procedures that would reduce workload while maintaining effectiveness.

On April 26, 2004, by conference call, the subcommittee met an additional time with members of the Certified Farmers' Market Advisory Committee to discuss and refine the proposals developed at the February meeting.


Charge a stall fee that will adequately fund both the state and county Direct Marketing Programs : The subcommittee identified lack of adequate funding as the number one issue for County Direct Marketing Programs. The stall fee is presently the funding mechanism for the State Program. The stall fee is a fair way to fund the Program since producers who benefit from direct marketing pay for the Program and producers who use direct marketing more pay more. Additionally, this is a more equitable way to fund the Program since all producers in all counties will help support the Program through a uniform fee structure. An alternative to the stall fee was suggested where the market would be charged a fee based on the number of stalls. The present county fee structure with possible minor exceptions would be discontinued. CDFA would collect the stall/market fee and then use the fees to fund county programs through contract. Counties would be fully reimbursed for their direct marketing activities. The level of funding would determine the level of county direct marketing enforcement.

Audit Based Inspections : The subcommittee proposes that the present inspection program shift to an audit based type of program. Inspection audits of producers will begin at certified farmers markets. County biologists will note the products that producers are offering for sell.   Follow-up inspections will then be done at the producers' growing grounds to ensure that they are producing the commodities that were offered for sale at the market. Annual growing ground inspections on all growers will not be done. Growing ground inspections will only be done for new producers or when existing producers add new locations to their certificates. The goal will be to have every certified producer audited at least once every three years. The subcommittee believes that, the audit-based approach would reduce workload while providing adequate assurance that producers are actually growing what they are offering for sale at markets.

Limit the second certificates : The subcommittee recommends a change to the second certificates requirements to require that a second certificate used by a producer at a market must be from a grower in the same county. A second certificate from another county would be allowed only in situations where the property listed on the certificate is adjacent to the primary certificate holder's property (i.e.. across the county line from each other).

More Information on the Certified Producer Certificate : On the certified producer's certificate, list the market(s) where the producer is participating and all counties where the producer is certified. This requirement will allow for better efficiencies when investigating these sorts of complaints. Load List: Require growers to submit load lists and keep copies for auditing purposes. For load lists to be a more effective enforcement tool, the subcommittee also recommends that load lists be in standard format.

Better identification of certified producer stalls : To better delineate the fanners market's certified section and to make the certified area more distinguishable for consumers, the subcommittee recommends that each certified producer stall be clearly identified with a large, clearly visible, placard.

Change nursery stock from a certifiable agricultural product to a non-certifiable agricultural product . Nursery stock would continue to be sold in the certified section of the farmers' market but would not be certified. As an additional requirement, the subcommittee recommends that producers post their nursery stock certificates when selling nursery stock in certified farmers' markets. Cut flowers and foliage would continue as certifiable agricultural products.

Allow only non-processed agricultural products at certified farmers' markets . The subcommittee believes that the current move to allow more processed and value-added products into certified farmers' market is counter to the original intent of direct marketing. There was much discussion on the future direction of direct marketing and the need to consider value added products as the next step in the evolution of direct marketing. Taking this into consideration, the subcommittee felt that if the industry wishes to certify value added products then a method to pay for the increased enforcement workload and viable enforcement procedures must be identified.

I:\icYBranch\CFM\COUNTIES\CACASA Reform Paper to CFMAC 43004.doc



Last Updated: May 12, 2004