Title 6: Agriculture
Chapter 24: AGRICULTURAL MARKETING RULES
Sub-Chapter 04: Administration
6 V.S.A. § 254. Authority of the secretary
§ 254. Authority of the secretary
(a) The secretary shall conduct any referenda held under this chapter and shall be the final arbiter of referenda results. He or she shall be responsible for the administration of any marketing rules, provided that funding is available.
(b) The secretary, with the prior approval of the board or commission at the time of the first filing under chapter 25 of Title 3, may make and adopt such rules as may be necessary to effectuate the provisions and intent of this chapter and to enforce the provision of any marketing rule, all of which shall have the effect of law. No other approval of the board or commission shall be necessary with respect to the adoption of rules. Rulemaking shall be commenced only after approval in a referendum by the affected producers.
(c) The secretary shall prepare a budget, subject to the approval of the applicable board or commission, for the administration and operating costs and expenses, including advertising and sales promotion or other programs and research when required in any marketing rule, and to provide for the collection of necessary fees to defray costs and expenses. The budget shall provide that the agency of agriculture, food and markets be reimbursed for its actual costs of administering the program, but the reimbursement shall not exceed five percent of the total funds collected under the marketing rule.
(d) The secretary may institute an action as may appear necessary to enforce compliance with any provision of this chapter. The application may be made to the superior court in the county in which the producer resides or has his or her place of business.
(e) The secretary may bring a civil action against any producer who is delinquent in making payments required by a marketing rule. In connection with the civil action the secretary may seek and enforce a writ of attachment against property of the delinquent producer.
(f) All information required by a marketing order shall be provided in an accurate and timely manner. Any person who knowingly provides false or incomplete information to the apple marketing board or to a commodity marketing board shall be subject to the provisions of 13 V.S.A. § 3016, regardless of whether there was an intent to defraud.
(g) The secretary may inspect the records of any person who produces a commodity that is the subject of a marketing rule in order to determine whether that person is subject to the marketing rule. He or she may also audit the financial records of producers subject to a marketing rule. The secretary shall have the authority to issue subpoenas to producers, handlers, processors, and distributors to gain information necessary to carry out the purposes of a marketing order.
(h) All production data and financial information relating to an individual producer shall be kept confidential by the secretary and the apple marketing board, or commodity marketing board, except for use in a collection action and for other law enforcement purposes. Compilations of data relative to groups of individuals may be made public. (Added 1983, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1993, No. 73, § 1, eff. June 10, 1993; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.)