The California Walnut Board was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. The Board is funded by mandatory assessments of the handlers. The CWB is governed by a Federal Walnut Marketing Order. The Board promotes usage of walnuts in the United States through publicity and educational programs. The Board also provides funding for walnut production and post-harvest research.
The Board’s key functions are production and post-harvest research, market development activities including advertising, economic analysis, the establishment and maintenance of grades and standards (accomplished through inspections conducted by DFA), and volume controls and reserves. As with all Federal Marketing Orders, the Board is empowered by the Agricultural Agreement Act of 1937. Essentially, this piece of federal legislation allows the Board to collect funds from industry handlers in the form of an assessment rate. The monies gathered as a result of this assessment are then used for the best interest of the industry and with the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States. In fact, once the Board passes upon our resolutions in May and September of each year they are forwarded to the USDA for review and ultimate approval by the Secretary. Technically, although the Board is collecting the money from its handlers, the money spent is federal money.
Under our Federal Marketing Order, all walnuts are inspected and certified by DFA adhering to strict USDA specifications. The Folsom office of the California Walnut Board provides many services to the industry as outlined above. Today, the two essential functions of the Board are market development activities and production and post-harvest research. Not coincidentally, these are also the two areas in which the Board expends the majority of its funds.