Department of Agriculture – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents
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The National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (Council) will meet in Washington, DC The Council is authorized under Section 9 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act, as amended by Title XII, Section 1219 of Public Law 101-624 (the Act) (16 U.S.C. 2105g) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (5 U.S.C. App. II). Additional information concerning the Council, can be found by visiting the Council's Web site at: http://www.fs.fed.us/ucf/ nucfac.shtml. The meeting is open to the public.
Notice of Availability of the Jordan Cove Energy and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline Projects Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the Draft Associated Land Management Plan Amendments
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended; the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended; and the National Forest Management Act of 1976, as amended (NFMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have participated as Cooperating Agencies with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the preparation of the Jordan Cove Energy and Pacific Connector Pipeline (PCGP) Projects Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Draft EIS addresses the impacts of these projects, the associated draft Land Management Plan (LMP) amendments of the BLM and the USFS, and the application to the BLM for a Right-of-Way Grant sought by Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline LP for the PCGP project. With this agency-specific Notice of Availability, the BLM and the USFS are announcing the opening of the FERC comment period.
The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board (Board) will meet in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Board is established consistent with the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (5 U.S.C. App. II), the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et. seq.), the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 1612), and the Federal Public Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (Pub. L. 108-447). Additional information concerning the Board, including the meeting summary/minutes, can be found by visiting the Board's Web site at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/blackhills/ workingtogether/advisorycommittees.
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to add the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuania) to the list of countries eligible to export meat and meat products to the United States. FSIS's review of Lithuania's laws, regulations, and inspection implementation show that its meat inspection system requirements are equivalent to the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and its implementing regulations. Under this proposal, meat from cattle, sheep, swine, and goats slaughtered in Lithuania, or parts or other products thereof, processed in certified Lithuanian establishments, would be eligible for export to the United States. All such products would be subject to reinspection at United States ports-of-entry by FSIS inspectors.
The Rural Utilities Service, a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), herein referred to as RUS or the Agency, announces its Community Connect Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. This notice is being issued prior to passage of a final appropriations act to allow potential applicants time to submit proposals and give the Agency time to process applications within the current fiscal year. RUS will publish on its Web site the amount of funding received in any continuing resolution or the final appropriations act, if any. Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant's risk. In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the minimum and maximum amounts for Community Connect grants applicable for the fiscal year. The Community Connect Grant Program regulations can be found at 7 CFR 1739, subpart A.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing to amend the regulatory language to designate which bona fide cotton spot markets will be used to determine actual commercial differences in value for various grades above or below the basis grade in the settlement of World cotton futures contracts on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Designating bona fide cotton spot markets for the World cotton futures contract in the regulatory language will allow for AMS to collect spot market price data and publish spot quotes for the settlement of these specific contracts.
This proposal would modify the organic assessment exemption regulations under 23 Federal marketing orders and 22 research and promotion programs. The current regulations would be amended to allow persons that produce, handle, market, or import certified organic products to be exempt from paying assessments associated with commodity promotion activities, including paid advertising, conducted under a commodity promotion program administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The exemption would cover all ``organic'' and ``100 percent organic'' products certified under the National Organic Program regardless of whether the person requesting the exemption also produces, handles, markets, or imports conventional or nonorganic products. Currently, only persons that exclusively produce and market products certified as 100 percent organic are eligible for an exemption from assessments under commodity promotion programs. The authority for this proposal is in section 10004 of the Agricultural Act of 2014.
We are amending the regulations on importing plants for planting to add Turkey to the list of countries from which the importation of restricted articles of Chrysanthemum spp., Leucanthemella serotina, and Nipponanthemum nipponicum into the United States is prohibited due to the presence of white rust of Chrysanthemum; to require permits for the importation of any seed that is coated, pelleted, or embedded in a substrate that obscures visibility; to provide for an alternate additional declaration on phytosanitary certificates that accompany articles imported from a country in which potato cyst nematodes are known to occur; to provide conditions for the importation of Prunus spp. articles from Canada that address the presence of plum pox potyvirus in that country; and to provide for the importation of Dianthus spp. (carnations) from the Netherlands. We are also making other changes to update and clarify the regulations and to improve their effectiveness. These changes are necessary to relieve restrictions that appear unnecessary, to update existing provisions, and to make the regulations easier to understand and implement.
This rule implements changes to the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) as required by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), including changes to eligible crops, provisions governing eligibility of native sod acreage, additional coverage levels, and waivers of service fees and premium reductions for beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged producers. This rule also clarifies requirements for eligible types and causes of loss and expands coverage for eligible mollusk and other aquaculture losses. This rule clarifies that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) may set separate market prices for organic crops and for direct to consumer sales. The changes are relatively minor and do not change the core purpose of NAP, which is to provide financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yield, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occurs due to a natural disaster.
The Forest Service is correcting a notice that appeared in the Federal Register on December 9, 2014, (79 FR 73026). This correction replaces the link listed for the Good Neighbor Agreement instruments and associated administrative forms for this new information collection request. It does not change the date comments must be received by.
Northern Research Station, Timber & Watershed Laboratory, RWU NRS-01, West Virginia, Fernow Experimental Forest 2016 to 2020
The USDA Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS9) to document the analysis and disclose environmental impacts of proposed actions needed to continue long-term research on the Fernow Experimental Forest. To continue long-term research on the Fernow Experimental Forest, the USDA Forest Service proposes to harvest timber, use prescribed fire, and apply fertilizer to specific areas of the experimental forest. Also, to maintain the integrity of the experimental forest for long-term research we will continue the following management activities: Applying gravel to road surfaces as needed; replacing culverts on skid roads and haul roads as needed; maintaining water bars on skid roads; maintaining ditches and culverts; seeding decks and landings; using herbicides to control the spread of Japanese stiltgrass and other invasive species such as tree-of-heaven as needed; removing hazard trees from along the roads; and maintaining openings used for weather stations. The purpose of the research is to evaluate the effectiveness of silvicultural tools on central Appalachian forests, to better understand ecological dynamics within these forest ecosystems, and to develop management tools, practices, and guidelines for central Appalachian forests. The 4,700-acre Fernow Experimental Forest is situated with the boundary of eth Monongahela National Forest in Tucker County, West Virginia and is managed by the Northern Research Station of eth USDA Forest Service. These proposed research activities are in compliance with the 2006 revised in 2011 Monongahela National Forest Plan, which provides overall guidance for management of the area, including direction for management of the Fernow Experimental Forest.
Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a Biological Control Agent for Asian Citrus Psyllid in the Contiguous United States
We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has prepared an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact relative to the release of Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis for the biological control of the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri, in the contiguous United States. Based on this finding of no significant impact, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact statement need not be prepared.
This interim rule with request for comment amends the existing Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) regulation to incorporate programmatic changes as authorized by amendments in the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Act).
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this notice announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request approval, from the Office of Management and Budget, for an extension of and revision to the currently approved information collection Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP).
Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Age in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance From the U.S. Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) seeks to issue a Department-wide regulation to implement the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended (``Age Act''), and the Government-wide age discrimination regulation promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Age Act and HHS regulations prohibit age discrimination in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. The proposed rule intends to ensure compliance with the Age Act and HHS regulations and provide guidance to USDA agencies, employees, recipients, and beneficiaries on Age Act requirements. In the final rule section of this issue of the Federal Register, USDA is publishing this action as a direct final rule without prior proposal because USDA views this as a non-controversial action and expects no adverse comments. If no adverse comments are received in response to the direct final rule, no further action will be taken on this proposed rule, and the action will become effective at the time specified in the direct final rule. If USDA receives adverse comments, a timely document will be published withdrawing the direct final rule, and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this action.
Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Age in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance From the U.S. Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) seeks to issue a Department-wide regulation to implement the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended (``Age Act''), and the Government-wide Age Discrimination regulation promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Age Act and HHS regulations prohibit age discrimination in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. The Direct final regulation intends to ensure compliance with the Age Act and HHS regulations and provide guidance to USDA agencies, employees, recipients, and beneficiaries on Age Act requirements.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that decreased the assessment rate established for the California Date Administrative Committee (committee) for the 2014-15 and subsequent crop years from $0.40 to $0.20 per hundredweight of dates handled. The committee locally administers the marketing order, which regulates the handling of dates grown or packed in Riverside County, California. The interim rule decreased the assessment rate due to a significant decrease in the committee's budgeted expenses. The interim rule was necessary to allow the committee to reduce the assessment rate for the 2014-15 crop year.
Designation for the Aberdeen, SD; Bloomington, IL; Hastings, NE; Fulton, IL; the State of Missouri, and the State of South Carolina Areas
GIPSA is announcing the designation of Aberdeen Grain Inspection, Inc. (Aberdeen); Central Illinois Grain Inspection, Inc. (Central Illinois); Hastings Grain Inspection, Inc. (Hastings); John R. McCrea Agency, Inc. (McCrea); Missouri Department of Agriculture (Missouri); and South Carolina Department of Agriculture (South Carolina) to provide official services under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA), as amended.
The Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the new information collection, Good Neighbor Agreements with State Cooperators.
This action supplements our proposed amendments to the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for the Primary Aluminum Production source category published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2011. In that action, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed amendments based on the initial residual risk and technology reviews (RTR) for this source category, and also proposed certain emission limits reflecting performance of Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT). Today's action reflects a revised technology review and a revised residual risk analysis for the Primary Aluminum Production source category and proposes new and revised emission standards based on those analyses, newly obtained emissions test data, and comments we received in response to the 2011 proposal, including certain revisions to the technology-based standards reflecting performance of MACT. This action also proposes new compliance requirements to meet the revised standards. This action, if adopted, will provide improved environmental protection regarding potential emissions of hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from primary aluminum production facilities.
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Rural Housing Service (RHS), intention to request an extension for a currently approved information collection in support of compliance with Civil Rights laws.
Establishing a Performance Standard for Authorizing the Importation and Interstate Movement of Fruits and Vegetables
We are reopening the comment period for our proposed rule that would amend our regulations governing the importation and interstate movement of fruits and vegetables by broadening our existing performance standard to provide for approval of all new fruits and vegetables for importation or interstate movement into or within the United States using a notice-based process. This action will allow interested persons additional time to prepare and submit comments.
We are proposing to amend the regulations governing the importation of plants and plant products to add orchid plants of the genus Oncidium from Taiwan to the list of plants that may be imported into the United States in an approved growing medium, subject to specified growing, inspection, and certification requirements. We are taking this action in response to a request from the Taiwanese Government and after determining that the plants could be imported, under certain conditions, without resulting in the introduction into, or the dissemination within, the United States of a plant pest or noxious weed.
We are giving notice that the Secretary is soliciting nominations for membership for this Committee to serve for 2 year terms.
In a final rule that was published in the Federal Register on July 9, 2014, and effective on August 8, 2014, we amended the provisions of the National Poultry Improvement Plan by, among other things, amending the standards for the U.S. H5/H7 Avian Influenza Monitored classification. In that amendment, we incorrectly indicated that table-egg layer flocks may qualify for U.S. H5/H7 Avian Influenza Monitored status if they meet one of three testing and surveillance requirements, when we should have indicated such flocks must meet all applicable listed testing and surveillance requirements to qualify. This document corrects that error. We are also making several other minor edits for clarity.
This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible producers of avocados grown in South Florida to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order regulating the handling of avocados grown in the production area.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is establishing January 1, 2018, as the uniform compliance date for new meat and poultry product labeling regulations that are issued between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2016. FSIS periodically announces uniform compliance dates for new meat and poultry product labeling regulations to minimize the economic impact of label changes.
We are adopting as a final rule, with changes, an interim rule that amended the regulations concerning the importation of animals and animal products to prohibit or restrict the importation of live birds and poultry (including hatching eggs) and bird and poultry products from regions where any subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is considered to exist. The interim rule also added restrictions concerning importation of live birds and poultry that have been moved through regions where HPAI is considered to exist, or that have been vaccinated for certain types of avian influenza. This final rule amends the interim rule to allow the importation of live zoological birds and poultry that have been vaccinated for avian influenza as part of an official program and under specific conditions as determined by the Administrator and to allow the importation of HPAI-resistant pigeons, doves, and other Columbiform species under certain conditions from regions where HPAI is considered to exist. This action will provide for the importation of certain zoological birds and poultry under specified conditions designed to minimize the risk of introducing HPAI into the United States.
This notice announces the intention of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer to request approval for a new information collection for suspension and debarment and drug-free workplace certifications.
This rule amends the regulations that specify the requirements for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC)-approved warehouses storing cotton, which are administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). FSA is changing the definition of Bales Made Available for Shipment (BMAS). CCC-approved cotton warehouses are currently required to report BMAS, among other data, to FSA every week. FSA is clarifying that bales made available, but not picked up by the shipper, can only be reported by the warehouse operator as BMAS for no longer than the first 2 weeks that such bales have been made available for delivery but have not yet been picked up. This rule change includes whether bales not picked up are reported by the warehouse operator to FSA in the weekly report; it does not change any warehouse tariffs, late fees, or restocking fees. The quality of reported information about bales made available for shipment will improve, which will benefit both FSA and the cotton industry.
Energy Answers Arecibo Puerto Rico Renewable Energy Project: Notice of Cancellation of a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement and Notice of Public Scoping and Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement
On April 12, 2013, Rural Utilities Service (RUS) published a Notice of Intent (NOI) announcing its intent to prepare a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement (SFEIS) in association with a financial assistance request for a proposal submitted to the Agency by Energy Answers Arecibo, LLC (Energy Answers). RUS is cancelling its NOI for the SFEIS. RUS intends to conduct public scoping and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to meet its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality's regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and RUS's Environmental and Policies and Procedures (7 CFR part 1794) in connection with potential impacts related to the Energy Answers proposal. The proposal consists of constructing a waste-to- energy generation and resource recovery facility in the Cambalache Ward of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. RUS is providing notice of the intention to conduct public scoping and prepare an EIS related to the proposal submitted by Energy Answers. RUS is considering funding this application, thereby making the proposal an undertaking subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 16 U.S.C. 470(f), and its implementing regulation, ``Protection of Historic Properties'' (36 CFR part 800). Any party wishing to participate directly with RUS as a ``consulting party'' in Section 106 review may submit a written request to the RUS contact provided below. Pursuant to 36 CFR 800.3(f)(3), RUS will consider, and provide a timely response to, any and all requests for consulting party status. RUS will publish a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the Federal Register and in local newspapers to announce its review period.
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, hereinafter referred to as ``agency,'' seeks public and Federal agency comments regarding the preparation of a Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the development of a more efficient and effective environmental review process for the RUS Telecommunications Programan environmental review process that is commensurate with the potential environmental impacts of both wired and wireless projects financed by the agency. RUS is seeking comment from interested stakeholders to contribute to the development of agency procedures for implementing the environmental review procedures of the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program, Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program, Community Connect Grant Program, and Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program. The proposed review process will support the agency's mission of facilitating the development of affordable, reliable utility infrastructure to improve the quality of life and promote economic development in rural America.
Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District; Washington; Sunrise Vegetation and Fuels Management Project
Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District will be preparing an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze vegetation management and fuels treatment actions within the Asotin watershed in Garfield and Asotin Counties, Washington. The purpose of the project is to move species composition, structural characteristics, density, and fuel loading of the project area closer to ranges of desired conditions described in the Umatilla Land and Resource Management Plan.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF) will meet for discussions on critical air quality issues relating to agriculture. Special emphasis will be placed on obtaining a greater understanding about the relationship between agricultural production and air quality. The meeting is open to the public, and a draft agenda is included in this notice.
Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding the Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Persons With Limited English Proficiency
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is publishing the final guidance on the Title VI prohibition against national origin discrimination as it affects limited English proficient persons. Consistent with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Title VI regulations, and Executive Order 13166, ``Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP),'' the guidance clarifies the obligations of entities that receive Federal financial assistance from USDA. The guidance does not create new obligations, but, rather, provides guidance for USDA recipients in meeting their existing obligations to provide meaningful access for LEP persons.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture published a document in the Federal Register on November 6, 2014 concerning a request to establish a new information collection for letter of intent. The document did not contain the burden hours.
As stipulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is hereby giving notice that a meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) will be held and will be open to the public by Internet access only.
Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Reporting, Herd Monitoring, and Management of Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the reporting, herd monitoring, and management of swine enteric coronavirus diseases.
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the intention of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to request approval to revise and extend a currently approved information collection, the Milk and Milk Products Surveys. Revision to burden hours will be needed due to changes in the size of the target population, sample design, and/or questionnaire length.
This notice announces a forthcoming meeting of The Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (CNAFR) a public advisory committee of the Office of Tribal Relations (OTR). Notice of the meetings are provided in accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2). This will be the second meeting of the 2014- 2016 CNAFR term and will consist of, but not limited to: Hearing public comments; update on USDA programs and activities; and discussion of committee priorities. This meeting will be open to the public.
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is requesting comments from all interested individuals and organizations on an extension of a currently approved information collection that supports 7 CFR part 766, Direct Loan ServicingSpecial programs. The information is used in eligibility and feasibility determinations on borrower requests for disaster set-aside, primary loan servicing, buyout at market value, and homestead protection, as well as liquidation of security.
Solicitation of Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is soliciting nominations of veterinary service shortage situations for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) for fiscal year (FY) 2015, as authorized under the National Veterinary Medical Services Act (NVMSA), 7 U.S.C. 3151a. This notice initiates a 60-day nomination period and prescribes the procedures and criteria to be used by State, Insular Area, DC and Federal Lands to nominate veterinary shortage situations. Each year all eligible nominating entities may submit nominations, up to the maximum indicated for each entity in this notice. NIFA is conducting this solicitation of veterinary shortage situation nominations under a previously approved information collection (OMB Control Number 0524-0046).