Farmers growing and selling fresh fruits and vegetables face unique challenges in receiving prompt and fair payment. This booklet discusses practical and legal steps that farmers can take to protect their right to be paid when they sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, taking practical steps will be enough to ensure that a farmer receives prompt and full payment. In any case, a farmer who gets agreements in writing and who keeps detailed records will be in a better position to enforce his or her rights under the law.
Farmers’ rights to be paid for their fruit and vegetable crops have three primary sources: (a) the farmers’ contracts with buyers, (b) state contract laws, and (c) the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (“the PACA”) is a federal law designed to ensure fairness in the fruit and vegetable industry. To help farmers better understand their rights to be paid for their fruit and vegetable crops, this booklet will describe the legal protections farmers have under the PACA.