The assessment rate for fresh winter pears grown in Oregon and Washington will decline from 50.1 cents per box a year ago to 47.1 cents per box this season.

The standard box assessment rate for fresh "summer/fall" pears will remain unchanged at 36.6 cents per box, according to a rule published Aug. 31 in the Federal Register.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture revised the assessment for the 2011-12 season and subsequent seasons, the rule said.

The Fresh Pear Committee administers the marketing order that regulates handling of Northwest fresh pears, and it contracts administration of the marketing order activities to Milwaukie, Ore.-based Pear Bureau Northwest.

The rule said the committee met June 3 and recommended 2011-12 expenditures of $8.8 million, down from the 2010-11 budget of $9.26 million. The assessment rate for winter pears was lowered by three cents per box because the committee reduced the winter pear promotion budget from $6.6 million in 2010-11 to $6.35 million in 2011-12. Other projected expenses include $437,160 for contracted administration by Pear Bureau Northwest, $610,700 for production research and market development and $1.26 million for promotion and paid advertising for summer and fall pears.

The 47 cent assessment for 15.5 million boxes of winter pears projected by the committee in 2011-12 should yield $7.3 million, while summer/fall pear assessments of 36.6 cents per 4.2 million cartons should generate about $1.54 million, according to the USDA.