The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities.
The Commission was established in 1987 under California law. This law allows the industry to organize and assess itself (in this case the growers) in order to generate monies to accomplish a myriad of activities. The Commission’s primary interest however, is and has been since its inception, export market development.
The Commission was established due to the fact that the Target Export Assistance (TEA) program passed by the U.S. Senate and Congress in 1985 provided money to those commodities which were the targets of unfair trade practices overseas for the purpose of market development. However, since the Board could not advertise at that time one of the important tools of the marketing mix was not available to use.
The solution was the establishment of a Commission. The reason the Commission was a simpler course of action is because the opening of a marketing order for the purpose of formally revising the order is a tedious, time-consuming and expensive process.
The specific law authorizing the Commission was passed in April of 1987 and the referendum of the growers approving the establishment of the Commission took place three months later in July of 1987. It was then that the Commission formally began its activities.
The Commission, as we stated earlier, is primarily responsible for export market development. Today the Commission also conducts extensive health and nutrition research and takes an active role in publicizing the outcomes in all markets including the United States. An important facet of the Commission’s operation also involves the evaluation of our marketing efforts through market research. The Commission is also responsible for communication within the industry. The more than 4,000 growers in the state of California are a difficult audience to reach. Many tools are used including quarterly newsletters and a regular submission of releases through other media vehicles such as magazines and newspapers that growers are likely to read.
The Commission consists of thirteen members and thirteen alternates. Twelve seats (12 members and 12 alternates) are filled through an election process. The Commission by-laws outline the requirements and limitations for representation. The elected members then appoint the public member and alternate member.
The Commission requires a supermajority to pass an issue. This means that nine positive votes are required in order to pass any motion made and seconded by the Commission. This assures a degree of consensus on any subject.