USDA Research & Promotion Programs and Marketing Orders

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service administers programs for producers of food, fiber and specialty crops including research & promotion programs and marketing orders. Here's an overview of USDA's research & promotion programs and marketing orders.


There are three types of research & promotion programs and marketing orders:

  • Research & promotion programs
    • There are 22 research & promotion (R&P) programs today. R&P programs are authorized and overseen by USDA but funded and administered by the industry that's requested it. 
    • These are the ag marketing programs that many consumers are familiar with as the promotion side of these efforts has brought tag-lines like "Got Milk?" and "Cotton, The Fabric of Our Lives" to print, television and internet advertising. 
    • Farmers and academics are often well acquainted with the groups' research efforts. While some of this work is use/function research, much of it focused on improving farmers' yields and systems.
    • In 2015, the Organic Trade Association submitted an application to USDA to establish an organic research and promotion check-off program. 


  • Fruit, vegetable and specialty crop marketing orders and agreements
    • The fruit and veg marketing orders and agreements allow agricultural producers and handlers to work together on efforts that include:
      • maintaining the high quality of produce,
      • standardizing packages and containers,
      • regulating the flow of product to market and
      • authorizing research and development as well as advertising.
    • Orders are binding for the entire industry in a designated area. Marketing agreements only bind those handlers that sign on. 
    • Today there are 29 fruit, vegetable and specialty crop marketing orders and agreements.


  • Milk marketing orders
    • Currently there are 10 Federal milk marketing orders. In the dairy industry they're known as FMMOs. 
    • The milk orders assure a minimum milk price for dairy farmers while ensuring consumers an adequate supply of milk. They help maintain stable marketing relationships for the handlers (milk processors) and producers (dairy farmers) supplying a marketing area thereby facilitating the complex process of getting an extremely perishable product to market for consumers. 
    • California has a state order. In 2015 a group of dairy cooperatives requested that USDA establish a FMMO for California. That process began in 2015 and is expected to take a couple (few?) years.

Here's an example 

  • Fruit, Vegetable & Specialty Crop Marketing Orders
    • Almonds
    • Apricots
    • Avocados
    • Cherries: Sweet;Tart
    • Citrus: Florida; Texas
    • Cranberries
    • Dates
    • Grapes
    • Hazelnut
    • Kiwifruit
    • Olives
    • Onions: Idaho-Eastern Oregon; South Texas; Vidalia; Walla Walla
    • Pears: Oregon-Washington
    • Pistachios
    • Plums/Prunes: California
    • Potatoes: Idaho-E. Oregon; Washington; Oregon-California; Colorado; Virginia-North Carolina
    • Raisins
    • Spearmint Oil
    • Tomatoes
    • Walnuts 

Multiplication Facts Carton Caps Activity

Multiplication fact fluency is important for upper elementary students as they prepare for algebra readiness in the middle grades. This activity uses milk carton caps to give students a break from flashcard and phone game drills. The student dumps 144 caps with the products for the 1 to 12 multiplication facts onto a table. Then she rearranges them into a standard 1 x 12 multiplication table. For a struggling grade 4 or 5 student this activity will take 30 to 45 minutes. Students with good recall of the basic multiplication facts and that enjoy puzzles can do it in 15 to 25 minutes.

  • Materials Used:
    • 144 Caps
    • Sharpie
    • Ziploc for storage