A U.S. Department of Agriculture comment deadline is nearing for industry comments on the proposed National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement.

Those wishing to submit comments before the Jan. 13 deadline can go to the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service Web site.

Industry advocates of the proposed national marketing agreement have previously said they hope the USDA can make a decision to go ahead with the marketing agreement sometime in the first quarter of 2010.

The USDA also heard comments during a series of hearings on the issue.

United Fresh Produce Association President Tom Stenzel said a concern that surfaced from the meetings is the need for the agreement to reflect regional differences.

“That’s precisely what we believe USDA needs to do in considering a future marketing agreement, as well as (the Food and Drug Administration) in considering potential produce safety regulations,” Stenzel said in a release to United Fresh members. “No one can be exempt from food safety requirements, but standards need to be commodity-specific, based on risk, and flexible enough to protect public health across multiple types of farm operations.”