APC Approves Motion to Support R&P Board During April Call
The American Pecan Council met via conference call on April 22 for its first council meeting of 2020. The Council began the meeting with conducting regular housekeeping: approving the financials and minutes, accepting audited financials from the previous fiscal year, reviewing budget for this year, and approving the use of the same company—Eide Bailly, an accounting business advisory firm–to complete the required financial audit for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Next, the APC addressed perhaps the most important topic for discussion at this meeting: assessment considerations for the 2020-2021 crop year. This discussion focused on the National Pecan Federation’s efforts to create a Research and Promotion board. As announced in the April 2020 issue, the National Pecan Federation has partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a new Research and Promotion Program for the pecan industry. This program would assess both domestic and imported pecans to increase monies available for pecan research and promotion.
According to NPF, “U.S. growers and handlers will not pay any more in assessments than they are currently paying to the APC, and all additional new funds for research and promotion will come from imported pecans.”
At the April APC meeting, the Council heard more about this board and unanimously voted to approve the following Motion from the Governance Committee:
“Pursuant to Paragraph 986.61 (e) of the Federal Marketing Order (FMO) for pecans, the American Pecan Council (APC), based on a motion by Phillip Arnold at an official meeting of the Council on April 22, 2020, adopts the following resolution and Motion:
Resolution: The APC, with this resolution, does hereby support the promulgation and eventual implementation of a Research and Promotion Program (R&P) for Pecans as proposed by the National Pecan Federation (NPF) in the attached Letter as adopted by the Board of the NPF.
The Motion: Be it so moved that APC recommends to the Secretary, contingent upon the R&P Program for Pecans becoming effective through a Federal Order, a revision in the assessment rate for pecans under the FMO to:
- $.01 (one cent) per inshell pound for improved pecans
- $.03 (three cents) for inshell pound for improved pecans not qualifying for the assessment under the R&P Program
- $.00 (zero) for native pecans qualifying for the assessment under the R&P Program
- $.02 (two cents) for native pecans not qualifying for the assessment under the R&P Program
- $.00 (zero) for substandard pecans qualifying for the assessment under the R&P Program
- $.02 (two cents) for substandard pecans not qualifying for the assessment under the R&P Program
The Motion shall further stipulate that the American Pecan Council reserves the right to revisit this resolution at their August meeting to ensure that the R&P is going to be implemented by October 1, 2020. If not, the APC may withdraw its assessment reduction and continue with its current assessment rate for the 2020 – 2021 year to ensure that marketing and promotion activities are fully funded.”
This Motion means that if the Research and Promotion Board (proposed name American Pecan Promotion Board) becomes a reality, the APC will recommend that the Secretary of Agriculture revises the current assessment rate of $0.03 to split it between the FMO and R&P. That way handlers and U.S. growers would not have to pay any more than they already do, but the pecan industry would still be able to collect assessments from imported pecans for further research and promotion. Currently under review by the USDA, the R&P proposal still must undergo a comment period; so, this Motion is subject to change.
After passing this Motion, each remaining committee presented updates on projects and other information. Some of the most relevant information for industry members came from the Industry Relations, Marketing, and Grades & Standards Committees.
The Industry Relations Committee said that it would test the electronic reporting forms throughout the summer to resolve all bugs before its September launch. This committee further stated that Land IQ has expanded its surveys’ scope to include other states and continues to map Georgia post-Hurricane Michael. Land IQ will present its findings at the August meeting.
As for marketing, the Marketing Committee said its goal has been to “refocus, repurpose, and review” for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Therefore, APC staff moved several marketing activities in-house and developed a regional approach for specific campaigns.
The ThanksEverything campaign, which premiered this recent holiday season, was the first marketing campaign for the fiscal year and is “the highest-rated campaign since the APC’s inception.” The second campaign, “Superpowers of Pecans,” received over 560 million impressions, and celebrities Chrissy Teigen and Mindy Kaling gave pecans an extra pick up on social media.
Additionally, the APC hired iHeart Media to conduct a regional campaign with TV and radio advertisements from October to April, augmented by social media posts. Over that period, the campaign received nearly 160 million total impressions. The American Pecans website received over 180,000 clicks a day; site traffic also increased from 75 visits a day to 750 visits a day.
For the two remaining quarters, the Council announced two new campaigns: summer holiday entertaining and super-fy snacking. The Council also confirmed that it will continue to work with Eat Well Global and AspireIQ to make the most of industry dollars.
Lastly, the Grades, Standards & Research Committee reported that it is reviewing USDA feedback on grades before submitting a final version for approval. Additionally, K-Coe Isom, the company hired to create the quality assurance standard, is bringing the first draft of this standard to the working group. The team will present the final draft to the Council at the next meeting.
The APC wrapped up the meeting with no new business; the next meeting will be held on August 18. To find more information and details on upcoming APC committee meetings and industry events, please visit “Industry Events” on AmericanPecans.com.