(a) The funds to cover the committee's expenses shall be acquired by the levying of assessments upon handlers as provided in this subpart. Each handler who first handles onions, which are regulated under this part, shall pay assessments to the committee upon demand, which assessments shall be in payment of such handler's pro rata share of the committee's expenses.
(b) Assessments shall be levied upon handlers at rates established by the Secretary. Such rates may be established upon the basis of the committee's recommendations and other available information. Such rates may be applied to specified containers used in the production area.
(c) At any time during, or subsequent to, a given fiscal period the committee may recommend the approval of an amended budget and an increase in the rate of assessment. Upon the basis of such recommendations, or other available information, the Secretary may approve an amended budget and increase the rate of assessment. Such increase shall be applicable to all onions which were regulated under this part and which were handled by the first handlers thereof during such fiscal period.
(d) The payment of assessments for the maintenance and functioning of the committee may be required under this part throughout the period it is in effect irrespective of whether particular provisions thereof are suspended or become inoperative.
(e) If a handler does not pay assessments within the time prescribed by the committee, the assessment may be increased by a late payment charge and/or an interest rate charge at amounts prescribed by the committee with approval of the Secretary.