(1) The department shall administer this section, prescribe suitable and reasonable rules for the enforcement of this section, and administer the assessments levied and imposed under this section. All funds collected under this section and the interest accrued on such funds are consideration for a social contract between the state and the citrus growers of the state whereby the state must hold such funds in trust and inviolate and use them only for the purposes prescribed in this chapter. The department may cause its duly authorized agent or representative to enter upon the premises of any handler of citrus fruits and to examine or cause to be examined any books, papers, records, or memoranda bearing on the amount of assessments payable and to secure other information directly or indirectly concerned in the enforcement of this section. Any person who is required to pay the assessments levied and imposed and who by any practice or evasion makes it difficult to enforce this section by inspection, or any person who, after demand by the department or any agent or representative designated by it for that purpose, refuses to allow full inspection of the premises or any part thereof or any books, records, documents, or other instruments in any manner relating to the liability of the person or entity liable for the assessment imposed or hinders, delays, or prevents such inspection, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(2) The department shall plan and conduct campaigns for commodity advertising, publicity, and sales promotion, and may conduct campaigns to encourage noncommodity advertising, to increase the consumption of citrus fruits and may contract for any such advertising, publicity, and sales promotion service. To accomplish such purpose, the department shall:
(a) Disseminate information relating to:
1. Citrus fruits and the importance thereof in preserving the public health, the economy thereof in the diet of the people, and the importance thereof in the nutrition of children.
2. The manner, method, and means used and employed in the production and marketing of citrus fruits and information relating to laws of the state regulating and safeguarding such production and marketing.
3. The added cost to the producer and dealer in producing and handling citrus fruits to meet the high standards imposed by the state that ensure a pure and wholesome product.
4. The effect upon the public health that would result from a breakdown of the state’s citrus industry or any part thereof.
5. The reasons that producers and dealers should receive a reasonable return on their labor and investment.
6. The problem of furnishing the consumer at all times with an abundant supply of fine quality citrus fruits at reasonable prices.
7. Factors of instability peculiar to the citrus fruit industry, such as unbalanced production, the effect of the weather, the influence of consumer purchasing power, and price relative to the cost of other items of food in the normal diet of people, all to the end that an intelligent and increasing consumer demand may be created.
8. The possibilities with particular reference to increased consumption of citrus fruits.
9. Such additional information that tends to promote increased consumption of citrus fruits and that fosters a better understanding and more efficient cooperation among producers, dealers, and the consuming public.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 601.15
- Agent: means any person who, on behalf of any citrus fruit dealer, negotiates the consignment, purchase, or sale of citrus fruit, or weighs citrus fruit so that the weight thereof may be used in computing the amount to be paid therefor. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Citrus fruit: means all varieties and regulated hybrids of citrus fruit and also means processed citrus products containing 20 percent or more citrus fruit or citrus fruit juice. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Citrus fruit dealer: means any consignor, commission merchant, consignment shipper, cash buyer, broker, association, cooperative association, express or gift fruit shipper, or person who in any manner makes or attempts to make money or other thing of value on citrus fruit in any manner whatsoever, other than of growing or producing citrus fruit. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Citrus hybrids: includes , but is not limited to, hybrids between or among sour orange (C. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Commission: means the Florida Citrus Commission as head of the department. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
- Department: means the Department of Citrus. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Grapefruit: means the fruit Citrus paradisi Macf. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Handler: means any person engaged within this state in the business of distributing citrus fruit in the primary channel of trade or any person engaged as a processor in the business of processing citrus fruit. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
- Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability: means an entity designated by joint rule of the Legislature or by agreement between the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. See Florida Statutes 1.01
- Oranges: means the fruit Citrus sinensis Osbeck, commonly called sweet oranges. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Person: means any natural person, partnership, association, corporation, trust, estate, or other legal entity. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Primary channel of trade: means the routes through which citrus fruit is marketed. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Producer: means any person growing or producing citrus in this state for market. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- shipping: means to move, or cause to be moved, citrus fruit or the canned or concentrated products thereof in intrastate, interstate, or foreign commerce by rail, truck, boat, airplane, or any other means. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Shipping season: means that period beginning August 1 of one year and ending July 31 of the following year. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Standard-packed box: means 13/5 bushels of citrus fruit, whether in bulk or containers. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Tangerines: means the fruit Citrus reticulata Blanco, commonly called tangerines. See Florida Statutes 601.03
(b) Decide upon some distinctive and suggestive trade name and promote its use in all ways to advertise Florida citrus fruit.
(3)(a) There is levied and imposed upon each standard-packed box of citrus fruit grown and placed into the primary channel of trade in this state an assessment at maximum annual rates for each citrus season as provided in this paragraph. The rates may be set at any lower rate in any year pursuant to paragraph (e).
1. The maximum assessment for grapefruit that enters the primary channel of trade for use in fresh form may not exceed 36 cents per box.
2. The maximum assessment for grapefruit that enters the primary channel of trade for use in processed form may not exceed 36 cents per box.
3. The maximum assessment for oranges that enter the primary channel of trade for use in fresh form may not exceed 7 cents per box.
4. The maximum assessment for oranges that enter the primary channel of trade for use in processed form may not exceed 25 cents per box.
5. The actual assessment levied each year upon tangerines and citrus hybrids regulated by the department that enter the primary channel of trade for use in processed form may not exceed 25 cents per box.
6. The maximum assessment for tangerines and citrus hybrids regulated by the department that enter the primary channel of trade for use in fresh form may not exceed 16 cents per box.
(b) Whenever citrus fruit is purchased, acquired, or handled on a weight basis, the following weights are deemed the equivalent of one standard-packed box for assessment purposes under this section:
1. Grapefruit, 85 pounds.
2. Oranges, 90 pounds.
3. Tangerines, 95 pounds.
4. Citrus hybrids, 90 pounds.
(c) The assessments imposed by this section do not apply to citrus fruit used for noncommercial domestic consumption on the premises where produced.
(d) For purposes of this subsection, a citrus season begins on August 1 of a year and ends on July 31 of the following year.
(e) The commission, upon an affirmative vote of a majority of its members and by an order entered by it before November 1 of any year, may set the assessments up to the maximum rates specified in this subsection. The assessment shall apply only to the citrus season that began on August 1 of the same calendar year. Such assessment may be applied by variety and on the basis of whether the fruit enters the primary channel of trade for use in fresh or processed form. If the commission cannot agree on a box assessment, the assessment for the previous year shall remain in effect until the commission approves a new assessment.
(4) Every handler shall keep a complete and accurate record of all citrus fruit handled by her or him. Such record shall be in such form and contain such other information as the department shall by rule prescribe. Such records shall be preserved by such handlers for a period of 1 year and shall be offered for inspection at any time upon oral or written demand by the department or its duly authorized agents or representatives.
(5) Every handler shall, at such times and in such manner as the department may by rule require, file with the department a return certified as true and correct, on forms furnished by the department, stating, in addition to other information, the number of standard-packed boxes of each kind of citrus fruit handled by such handler in the primary channel of trade during the period of time covered by the return. Full payment of all assessments due for the period reported shall accompany each handler’s return.
(6)(a) All assessments levied and imposed pursuant to this section are due and payable and shall be paid, or the amount thereof guaranteed as provided in this subsection, at the time the citrus fruit is first handled in the primary channels of trade. All such assessments shall be paid, or the payment thereof shall be guaranteed, to the department by the person first handling the fruit in the primary channel of trade, except that payment of assessments on fruit delivered or sold for processing in this state shall be paid, or payment thereof shall be guaranteed in accordance with department rules, by the person processing such fruit.
(b) Periodic payment of assessments upon citrus fruit by the person liable for such payment is permitted only in accordance with department rules, and the payment thereof shall be guaranteed by the posting of a good and sufficient letter of credit from an issuing financial institution located in the United States, a cash bond, an appropriate certificate of deposit, or an approved surety bond in an amount and manner as prescribed by department rule. Evidence of such guarantee of payment of assessments must be made on the grade certificate in such manner and form as may be prescribed by department rule.
(c) All assessments collected by the department shall be delivered to the State Treasury for payment into the proper advertising fund.
(7) All assessments levied and collected under this chapter shall be paid into the State Treasury on or before the 15th day of each month. Such moneys shall be accounted for in a special fund to be designated as the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund, and all moneys in such fund are appropriated to the department for the following purposes:
(a) Four percent of all income of a revenue nature deposited in this fund, including transfers from any subsidiary accounts thereof and any interest income, shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund pursuant to chapter 215.
(b) Moneys in the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund shall be expended for the activities authorized by s. 601.13 and for the cost of those general overhead, research and development, maintenance, salaries, professional fees, enforcement costs, and other such expenses that are not related to advertising, merchandising, public relations, trade luncheons, publicity, and other associated activities. The cost of general overhead, maintenance, salaries, professional fees, enforcement costs, and other such expenses that are related to advertising, merchandising, public relations, trade luncheons, publicity, and associated activities shall be paid from the balance of the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund.
(c) Moneys in the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund shall also be used by the department for defraying those expenses not included in paragraph (b). After payment of such expenses, the money levied and collected under subsection (3) shall be used exclusively for commodity and noncommodity advertising, merchandising, publicity, or sales promotion of citrus products in both fresh form and processed form, including citrus cattle feed and all other products of citrus fruits, produced in the state, in such equitable manner and proration as the department may determine, but funds expended for commodity advertising thereunder shall be expended through an established advertising agency. A proration of moneys between commodity programs and noncommodity programs and among types of citrus products shall be made on or before November 1 of each shipping season and may not thereafter be modified for that shipping season unless the department finds such action necessary to preserve the economic welfare of the citrus industry.
(d)1. The pro rata portion of moneys allocated to each type of citrus product in noncommodity programs shall be used by the department to encourage substantial increases in the effectiveness, frequency, and volume of noncommodity advertising, merchandising, publicity, and sales promotion of such citrus products through rebates and incentive payments to handlers and trade customers for these activities. The department shall adopt rules providing for the use of such moneys. The rules shall establish alternate incentive programs, including at least one incentive program for product sold under advertised brands, one incentive program for product sold under private label brands, and one incentive program for product sold in bulk. For each incentive program, the rules must establish eligibility and performance requirements and must provide appropriate limitations on amounts payable to a handler or trade customer for a particular season. Such limitations may relate to the amount of citrus assessments levied and collected on the citrus product handled by such handler or trade customer during a 12-month representative period.
2. The department may require from participants in noncommodity advertising and promotional programs commercial information necessary to determine eligibility for and performance in such programs. Any information required which constitutes a trade secret as defined in s. 812.081 is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. This subparagraph is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2021, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
(8)(a) On certification by any employee of the department that her or his actual and necessary expenses on any particular day while traveling outside the state exceeded the per diem provided by law, such employee shall show such excess on her or his regular expense voucher and support the same by the proof required pursuant to rules adopted by the department.
(b) The department is authorized to spend such amount as it deems advisable for guests involved in promotional activities in the sale of Florida citrus fruits and products.
(c) All obligations, expenses, and costs incurred under this section shall be paid out of the Citrus Advertising Fund upon warrant of the Chief Financial Officer when vouchers thereof, approved by the department, are exhibited.
(9)(a) Any handler who fails to file a return or to pay any assessment within the time required shall thereby forfeit to the department a penalty of 5 percent of the amount of assessment determined to be due, but the department, if satisfied that the delay was excusable, may remit all or any part of such penalty. Such penalty shall be paid to the department and disposed of as provided with respect to moneys derived from the assessments levied and imposed by subsection (3).
(b) The department may collect any assessments levied and assessed by this chapter in any or all of the following methods:
1. By the voluntary payment by the person liable therefor.
2. By a suit at law.
3. By a suit in equity to enjoin and restrain any handler, citrus fruit dealer, or other person owing such assessments from operating her or his business or engaging in business as a citrus fruit dealer until the delinquent assessments are paid. Such action may include an accounting to determine the amount of assessments plus delinquencies due. In any such proceeding, it is not necessary to allege or prove that an adequate remedy at law does not exist.
(10) The powers and duties of the department include the following:
(a) To adopt and periodically alter, rescind, modify, and amend all proper and necessary rules and orders for the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties under this chapter.
(b) To employ and at its pleasure discharge an advertising manager, agents, advertising agencies, and such clerical and other help as it deems necessary and to outline their powers and duties and fix their compensation.
(c) To make in the name of the department such advertising contracts and other agreements as may be necessary.
(d) To keep books, records, and accounts of all of its activities, which books, records, and accounts shall be open to inspection, audit, and examination by the Auditor General and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.
(e) To purchase or authorize the purchase of all office equipment and supplies and to incur all other reasonable and necessary expenses and obligations in connection with and required for the proper administration of this chapter.
(f) To conduct, and pay out of the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund, premium and prize promotions designed to increase the use of citrus in any form.
(g) To advertise citrus cattle feed and promote its use.
(h) To conduct marketing activities in foreign countries and other programs designed to develop and protect domestic and international markets.