Transfer of Sugar Program Marketing Allocations, 16198-16201 [06-3099]

Download as PDF 16198 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 62 / Friday, March 31, 2006 / Rules and Regulations National Environmental Policy Act An environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact have been prepared for this final rule. The environmental assessment provides a basis for the conclusion that the importation of Christmas cactus and Easter cactus in growing media from the Netherlands and Denmark under the conditions specified in the regulations will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. Based on the finding of no significant impact, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact statement need not be prepared. The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact were prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS’s NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372). The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site.4 Copies of the environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact are also available for public inspection at USDA, room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Persons wishing to inspect copies are requested to call ahead on (202) 690–2817 to facilitate entry into the reading room. In addition, copies may be obtained by writing to the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the information collection or recordkeeping requirements included in this rule have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB control number 0579–0266. hsrobinson on PROD1PC61 with RULES Government Paperwork Elimination Act Compliance The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to compliance with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA), which requires Government agencies in general to provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting business electronically to the maximum extent possible. For information pertinent to GPEA compliance related to this rule, please contact Mrs. Celeste Sickles, APHIS’s Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 734–7477. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 319 Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rice, Vegetables. Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 319 as follows: I PART 319—FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES 1. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7701–7772, and 7781–7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3. § 319.37–8 [Amended] 2. Section 319.37–8 is amended as follows: I a. In the introductory text of paragraph (e), by removing the period after the word ‘‘Saintpaulia’’ and by adding, in alphabetical order, entries for ‘‘Rhipsalidopsis spp. from the Netherlands and Denmark’’ and ‘‘Schlumbergera spp. from the Netherlands and Denmark.’’. I b. By redesignating footnote 11a as footnote 11 and, in the text of newly redesignated footnote 11, by removing the words ‘‘footnote 11’’ and adding the words ‘‘footnote 10’’ in their place. I c. By adding, at the end of the section, the following OMB control number citation: ‘‘(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0579–0266)’’. I Done in Washington, DC, this 27th day of March 2006. Kevin Shea, Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 06–3126 Filed 3–30–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P 4 Go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the ‘‘Advanced Search’’ tab and select ‘‘Docket Search.’’ In the Docket ID field, enter APHIS–2005–0040, click on ‘‘Submit,’’ then click on the Docket ID link in the search results page. The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact will appear in the resulting list of documents. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:51 Mar 30, 2006 Jkt 208001 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation 7 CFR Part 1435 RIN 0560–AH37 Transfer of Sugar Program Marketing Allocations Commodity Credit Corporation, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This rule amends the sugar program regulations of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). The provisions for transferring sugar marketing allocation when a mill closes and growers request to move their allocation are amended. A regulatory deadline, the 20th of each month, for the program’s information reporting requirements is added. Also, each cane processor, cane refiner and beet processor will be required to provide an annual report prepared by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) that verifies the company’s data submitted to CCC. DATES: Effective Date: March 31, 2006. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Fecso at (202) 720–4146, or via e-mail at barbara.fecso@wdc.usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) published a proposed rule on September 7, 2005 (70 FR 53103). Public comments were accepted until November 7, 2005. The rule proposed three changes to the Sugar Program Regulations at 7 CFR part 1435. First CCC proposed to amend the regulations for transferring sugar marketing allocation when a mill closes. The proposed rule provided that the closed mill’s allocation would be distributed based on the production history of the growers requesting to move their allocation. To understand the change that was proposed, it is necessary to understand the relationship between processors, growers, and how allocations have been determined. The Sugar Program was authorized by section 359 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (the ‘‘2002 Act’’) (7 U.S.C. 1359aa et seq.). The 2002 Act requires CCC to periodically analyze market factors and establish a national sugar marketing allotment to limit the E:\FR\FM\31MRR1.SGM 31MRR1 hsrobinson on PROD1PC61 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 62 / Friday, March 31, 2006 / Rules and Regulations quantity of sugar that processors can market. The goal is to achieve a price level that will minimize sugar loan collateral forfeitures to CCC. Once the overall marketing allotment is established, it is allocated between the beet sugar and cane sugar sectors (54.35 and 45.65 percent, respectively). The beet allotment is allocated directly to beet processors, the cane allotment is allocated to four cane-producing states (Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii and Texas), and is further allocated among sugar cane processing mills within each state. Each mill, in turn, divides its allocation among its sugar cane growers. While the allocation formula in the regulation for the beet sector has not changed since 2002, the formula in the regulation for cane state allotments and cane processor allocations was changed in 2004 when a component of the formula, the ‘‘ability to market,’’ was redefined (69 FR 55061–55063, September 13, 2004). The problem addressed by this rule arose due to the new cane sector ‘‘ability to market’’ definition, which added the 2002 and 2003 crop years’ production to the historic period for Florida, Louisiana and Texas. The current regulations provided that if a mill closes, a grower may petition CCC to move an allocation commensurate with its production history to another mill of its choice. However, when two Louisiana cane processing mills announced they would not reopen for the 2005 crop, there was debate within CCC and in the sugarcane industry about the petition rights of growers who had delivered cane used to establish the mill’s allocation, but did not deliver 2002 or 2003 crop cane. Some parties contended that growers who had not delivered in the crop year before the mill closed contributed to its demise by ‘‘shorting’’ the mill of its customary level of cane and, therefore, should not be rewarded with the right to petition for a transfer. Others contended that as long as a grower’s production contributed to the establishment of a mill’s allocation, a grower should always be entitled to transfer its share of the allocation. The regulations at 7 CFR 1435.308, as set forth in the final rule, provide that CCC will distribute the closed mill’s allocation based on the contribution of the growers’ production history to the closed mill’s allocation. This means that CCC will apply the same formula to each grower at the closed mill as the formula used when that mill’s original allocation was determined. For example, if a mill closes in Louisiana, CCC will apply to a grower’s history over the crop years 1997 through 2001, a 25% weight for the average of the VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:51 Mar 30, 2006 Jkt 208001 highest two years of past processings, a 25% weight for the average of the highest two years of past marketings, and a 50% weight for the ‘‘ability to market’’, i.e., the average of the production from the 2003 crop year and the Olympic average of the three years of production from among the 1999 through 2003 crop, excluding the highest and lowest production years. The result of using this formula, in this example, is that the right to petition for transfer belongs to any grower who delivered cane to the closed mill from the 1997 crop year through the 2003 crop year. Public Comments On this change, the Agency received 54 comments. Forty (40) sugar cane growers submitted form letters supporting the proposed rule, and nine growers submitted the same form letter but appended additional comments. Four sugar cane processors and the Louisiana Farm Bureau, an organization representing Louisiana sugarcane producers also submitted comments. Most of these comments were in support of the changes proposed. The Agency has reviewed the comments and addressed them as follows. One grower comment suggested that the landowner, not the grower, should name the successor mill in the event of mill closure. The Agency feels that the rule sufficiently addresses this concern without providing explicit allotment transfer rights to landowners. This is because CCC has found that while the grower signs the petition to transfer allocation to a particular mill, landowners have changed transfer requests when better offers were received from competing mills. Further, CCC has found that a grower is normally more aware of what is occurring in the local sugar processing market than a landowner, who may be located some distance from the farm. Moreover, it is presumed that a grower will cooperate with its landowner in the choice of a successor mill and not risk any disquiet to its farm or lease by disputing the landowner’s choice of a new mill. Therefore, the rule provides that a grower may petition for the transfer. Thus, no changes are planned in the final rule as a result of this comment. One commenter supported the proposed rule, and suggested growers will place their allocation at successor mills offering the highest returns. The Agency generally agrees. As the commenter suggests, the intent of the rule was to give the grower the choice of where to deliver its cane if its mill closes. No change was made from the PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 16199 proposed rule in the final rule as a result of this comment. One mill supported the proposal to determine the grower allocation based on their historical production and suggested that this method gives the grower the freedom to choose a successor mill that best ensures their future in farming. The Agency agrees. This rule offers security to growers by guaranteeing the right to petition for transfer as long as they delivered cane to the mill that closed during the period used to establish the mill’s allocation. When their mill closes, growers can contract with mills offering the highest returns without risk of losing allocation. Again, no change was made from what was in the proposed rule in the final rule on this issue. One processor agreed that the proposed method for calculating transferable allocation would ensure fair and equitable treatment for growers. However, this processor also maintained that ‘‘replacement growers’’ should not displace the production history from growers who contributed during the historical period. Replacement growers are those designated by the mill to supply sugarcane replacing sugarcane lost to the mill since the 2001 crop year and is a concept that only applies to Louisiana [See 7 CFR 1435.310(b)(1)(i)(C)]. The final rule partly addresses this commenter’s concerns. The method to be used for distributing the closed mill’s allocation grants any grower who delivered cane to the closed mill during the period when the mill’s allocation was established the right to petition for a transfer of allocation, regardless of whether or not he was a replacement grower. If a grower supplies sugarcane to replace sugarcane lost to the mill after the historical period ends, and this mill closes, he may not petition for transfer. The Louisiana Farm Bureau (LFB) strongly supported the proposed rule. LFB suggested that (1) it would be unfair to deny a grower who leaves within the last year of the historical period the right to transfer any allocation from a closed mill; (2) it would also be unfair to grant a grower who only delivers cane to a mill in the year prior to closure the right to petition for transfer of an allocation; and, (3) transferring allocations based on preceding crop year deliveries makes it possible to have marketing allocations awarded to non-base acreage. The Agency agrees. There is no change made in the final rule as a result of this comment. One processor commented that there is a distinction between a mill ‘‘closure’’ and mill ‘‘consolidation’’ and that E:\FR\FM\31MRR1.SGM 31MRR1 16200 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 62 / Friday, March 31, 2006 / Rules and Regulations transfer rules should apply differently. The commenter stated that when a mill ceases to operate (a ‘‘closure’’), growers should be able to choose their successor mill. However, when mills consolidate (which the commenter defines as to combine resources of more than one mill, and close a mill to achieve economies of scale), growers supplying cane to the closed mill should not be given the right to choose a successor mill. The allocation of these growers, the commenter argues, should stay with the remaining mill. The Agency disagrees. The authority for the transfer of allocation at 7 U.S.C. 1359f(c)(8) allows a grower to transfer allocation to another mill when the plant where it has established history closes. By statute, this right belongs to a grower, and exists to protect growers when a plant closes from having to ship their product beyond what is economically feasible, regardless of whether the closure by the mill owner was to consolidate production to achieve economies of scale. Typically, relationships between landowners, growers, processors, mills, and mill owners are defined by contracts, agreements, and a course of dealing over time. Absent terms in such an agreement which provide otherwise, when a processor closes a facility, the grower may transfer its allocation. Thus, the commenter’s suggestions are not adopted and no change is planned in the final rule as a result. The second change CCC proposed is a deadline for the program’s information reporting requirements. The required monthly information would be due on the 20th of each month. The third change CCC proposed is to require each cane processor, cane refiner, and beet processor to provide an annual report by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) that verifies the company’s data submitted to CCC. No comments were received on either of these proposed changes and they are adopted in the final rule. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis was not performed. Therefore, consultation with the States is not required. Environmental Assessment Paperwork Reduction Act The environmental impacts of this rule have been considered under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), and regulations of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for compliance with NEPA, 7 CFR part 799. An environmental evaluation was completed and the proposed action has been determined not to have the potential to significantly impact the quality of the human environment and no environmental assessment or environmental impact statement is necessary. A copy of the environmental evaluation is available for inspection and review upon request. Under 7 U.S.C. 7991(c)(2)(A) these regulations may be promulgated and the program administered without regard to chapter 5 of title 44 of the United States Code (the Paperwork Reduction Act). Accordingly, these regulations and the forms and other information collection activities needed to administer the provisions authorized by these regulations are not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act. Government Paperwork Elimination Act This rule has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. In accordance with this Executive Order: (1) All State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and (3) administrative proceedings in accordance with 7 CFR part 11 must be exhausted before seeking judicial review. CCC is committed to compliance with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) and the Freedom to E-File Act, which require Government agencies in general, and the FSA in particular, to provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting business electronically to the maximum extent possible. Because of the nature of the forms and other information collection activities required for this program, they are not fully implemented in a way that would allow the public to conduct business with CCC electronically. Accordingly, at this time, all forms and information required to be submitted under this rule may be submitted to CCC by mail or FAX. Executive Order 12372 List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1435 This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. See the notice related to 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V, published at 48 FR 29115 (June 24, 1983). Loan programs—agriculture, Price support programs, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and Sugar. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 I Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1359aa–1359jj and 7272 et seq.; 15 U.S.C. 714b and 714c. This rule has been determined to be not significant under Executive Order 12866 and has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This rule contains no Federal mandates, as defined under title II of the UMRA, for State, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Thus, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of UMRA. Regulatory Flexibility Act Executive Order 13132 The requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601–602) do not apply to this rule because CCC is not required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking for the subject of this rule. Nonetheless, CCC has determined that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and a The policies contained in this rule do not have any substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Nor does this rule impose substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments. hsrobinson on PROD1PC61 with RULES Executive Order 12866 VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:51 Mar 30, 2006 Jkt 208001 Executive Order 12988 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Accordingly, 7 CFR part 1435 is amended as follows: I PART 1435—SUGAR PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for part 1435 continues to read as follows: 2. In § 1435.200 revise paragraph (a), redesignate paragraph (g) as paragraph (h), and add new paragraph (g) to read as follows: I § 1435.200 Information reporting. (a) Every sugar beet processor, sugarcane processor, cane sugar refiner, and importer of sugar, syrup, and molasses shall report, by the 20th of each month, on CCC-required forms, its imports and receipts, processing inputs, production, distribution, stocks, and other information necessary to administer the sugar programs. If the 20th of the month falls on a weekend or E:\FR\FM\31MRR1.SGM 31MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 62 / Friday, March 31, 2006 / Rules and Regulations 16201 a Federal holiday, the report shall be made by the next business day. * * * * * (g) By November 20 of each year, each sugar beet processor, sugarcane processor, sugarcane refiner, and importer of sugars, syrups, and molasses will submit to CCC a report, as specified by CCC, from an independent Certified Public Accountant that reviews its information submitted to CCC during the previous October 1 through September 30 period. * * * * * DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Examining the Docket Federal Aviation Administration You may examine the airworthiness directive (AD) docket on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov or in person at the Docket Management Facility office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Management Facility office (telephone (800) 647–5227) is located on the plaza level of the Nassif Building at the street address stated in the ADDRESSES section. 3. Amend § 1435.308 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows: AGENCY: Transfer of allocation, new (a) If a sugar beet or sugarcane processing facility is closed, and the growers that delivered their crops to the closed facility elect to deliver their crops to another processor, the growers may petition the Executive Vice President, CCC, to transfer their share of the allocation from the processor that closed the facility to their new processor. If CCC approves transfer of the allocations, it will distribute the closed mill’s allocation based on the contribution of the growers’ production history to the closed mill’s allocation. CCC may grant the allocation transfer upon: (1) Written request by a grower to transfer allocation, (2) Written approval of the processing company that will accept the additional deliveries, and (3) Evidence satisfactory to CCC that the new processor has the capacity to accommodate the production of petitioning growers. * * * * * Signed in Washington, DC, on March 17, 2006. Teresa C. Lasseter, Executive Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation. [FR Doc. 06–3099 Filed 3–30–06; 8:45 am] hsrobinson on PROD1PC61 with RULES BILLING CODE 3410–05–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:51 Mar 30, 2006 Jkt 208001 [Docket No. FAA–2005–23197; Directorate Identifier 2005–NM–109–AD; Amendment 39–14535; AD 2006–07–08] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; McDonnell Douglas Model DC–9–10, DC–9–20, DC–9–30, DC–9–40, and DC–9–50 Series Airplanes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Final rule. I § 1435.308 entrants. 14 CFR Part 39 SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC–9–10, DC–9–20, DC–9–30, DC–9–40, and DC– 9–50 series airplanes. This AD requires repetitive inspections for stress corrosion cracks of the main fuselage frame, and corrective actions if necessary. This AD also provides an optional terminating action for the repetitive inspections. This AD results from several reports of cracking of the main fuselage frame. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct stress corrosion cracking of the main fuselage frame, which could result in extensive damage to adjacent structure and reduced structural integrity of the airplane. DATES: This AD becomes effective May 5, 2006. The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the AD as of May 5, 2006. ADDRESSES: You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http:// dms.dot.gov or in person at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL–401, Washington, DC. Contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Long Beach Division, 3855 Lakewood Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90846, Attention: Data and Service Management, Dept. C1–L5A (D800–0024), for service information identified in this AD. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wahib Mina, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM–120L, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, California 90712–4137; telephone (562) 627–5324; fax (562) 627–5210. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Discussion The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to include an AD that would apply to certain McDonnell Douglas Model DC–9–10, DC–9–20, DC–9–30, DC–9–40, and DC–9–50 series airplanes. That NPRM was published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2005 (70 FR 72601). That NPRM proposed to require repetitive inspections for stress corrosion cracks of the main fuselage frame, and corrective actions if necessary. That AD also proposed to provide an optional terminating action for the repetitive inspections. Comments We provided the public the opportunity to participate in the development of this AD. We have considered the comments received. Request To Revise the Term ‘‘Trim-Out Limits’’ The Boeing Company requests that we revise paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of the NPRM to refer to ‘‘crack limits’’ rather than ‘‘trim-out limits.’’ Boeing points out that the term ‘‘trim-out limits’’ is not used in McDonnell Douglas DC–9 Service Bulletin 53–168, dated November 17, 1983, including McDonnell Douglas Service Sketch 3529, dated August 23, 1983 (hereafter referred to as the ‘‘service information’’), which was referred to in the NPRM as the appropriate source of service information for accomplishing the required actions. We agree. Making the suggested change will maintain consistency between the AD and the service information. We have revised paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of the final rule to refer to crack limits. Request To Remove Reference to DyePenetrant Inspection Boeing also requests that we revise paragraph (g) of the NPRM to remove the reference to a dye-penetrant inspection. Boeing points out that the service information does not include a dye-penetrant inspection. E:\FR\FM\31MRR1.SGM 31MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 62 (Friday, March 31, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 16198-16201]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-3099]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Commodity Credit Corporation

7 CFR Part 1435

RIN 0560-AH37


Transfer of Sugar Program Marketing Allocations

AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This rule amends the sugar program regulations of the 
Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). The provisions for transferring 
sugar marketing allocation when a mill closes and growers request to 
move their allocation are amended. A regulatory deadline, the 20th of 
each month, for the program's information reporting requirements is 
added. Also, each cane processor, cane refiner and beet processor will 
be required to provide an annual report prepared by a Certified Public 
Accountant (CPA) that verifies the company's data submitted to CCC.

DATES: Effective Date: March 31, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Fecso at (202) 720-4146, or 
via e-mail at barbara.fecso@wdc.usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who 
require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, 
audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720-
2600 (voice and TDD).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) 
published a proposed rule on September 7, 2005 (70 FR 53103). Public 
comments were accepted until November 7, 2005. The rule proposed three 
changes to the Sugar Program Regulations at 7 CFR part 1435.
    First CCC proposed to amend the regulations for transferring sugar 
marketing allocation when a mill closes. The proposed rule provided 
that the closed mill's allocation would be distributed based on the 
production history of the growers requesting to move their allocation.
    To understand the change that was proposed, it is necessary to 
understand the relationship between processors, growers, and how 
allocations have been determined.
    The Sugar Program was authorized by section 359 of the Agricultural 
Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended by the Farm Security and Rural 
Investment Act of 2002 (the ``2002 Act'') (7 U.S.C. 1359aa et seq.). 
The 2002 Act requires CCC to periodically analyze market factors and 
establish a national sugar marketing allotment to limit the

[[Page 16199]]

quantity of sugar that processors can market. The goal is to achieve a 
price level that will minimize sugar loan collateral forfeitures to 
CCC. Once the overall marketing allotment is established, it is 
allocated between the beet sugar and cane sugar sectors (54.35 and 
45.65 percent, respectively). The beet allotment is allocated directly 
to beet processors, the cane allotment is allocated to four cane-
producing states (Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii and Texas), and is further 
allocated among sugar cane processing mills within each state. Each 
mill, in turn, divides its allocation among its sugar cane growers. 
While the allocation formula in the regulation for the beet sector has 
not changed since 2002, the formula in the regulation for cane state 
allotments and cane processor allocations was changed in 2004 when a 
component of the formula, the ``ability to market,'' was redefined (69 
FR 55061-55063, September 13, 2004). The problem addressed by this rule 
arose due to the new cane sector ``ability to market'' definition, 
which added the 2002 and 2003 crop years' production to the historic 
period for Florida, Louisiana and Texas.
    The current regulations provided that if a mill closes, a grower 
may petition CCC to move an allocation commensurate with its production 
history to another mill of its choice. However, when two Louisiana cane 
processing mills announced they would not reopen for the 2005 crop, 
there was debate within CCC and in the sugarcane industry about the 
petition rights of growers who had delivered cane used to establish the 
mill's allocation, but did not deliver 2002 or 2003 crop cane. Some 
parties contended that growers who had not delivered in the crop year 
before the mill closed contributed to its demise by ``shorting'' the 
mill of its customary level of cane and, therefore, should not be 
rewarded with the right to petition for a transfer. Others contended 
that as long as a grower's production contributed to the establishment 
of a mill's allocation, a grower should always be entitled to transfer 
its share of the allocation.
    The regulations at 7 CFR 1435.308, as set forth in the final rule, 
provide that CCC will distribute the closed mill's allocation based on 
the contribution of the growers' production history to the closed 
mill's allocation. This means that CCC will apply the same formula to 
each grower at the closed mill as the formula used when that mill's 
original allocation was determined. For example, if a mill closes in 
Louisiana, CCC will apply to a grower's history over the crop years 
1997 through 2001, a 25% weight for the average of the highest two 
years of past processings, a 25% weight for the average of the highest 
two years of past marketings, and a 50% weight for the ``ability to 
market'', i.e., the average of the production from the 2003 crop year 
and the Olympic average of the three years of production from among the 
1999 through 2003 crop, excluding the highest and lowest production 
years. The result of using this formula, in this example, is that the 
right to petition for transfer belongs to any grower who delivered cane 
to the closed mill from the 1997 crop year through the 2003 crop year.

Public Comments

    On this change, the Agency received 54 comments. Forty (40) sugar 
cane growers submitted form letters supporting the proposed rule, and 
nine growers submitted the same form letter but appended additional 
comments. Four sugar cane processors and the Louisiana Farm Bureau, an 
organization representing Louisiana sugarcane producers also submitted 
comments. Most of these comments were in support of the changes 
proposed. The Agency has reviewed the comments and addressed them as 
follows.
    One grower comment suggested that the landowner, not the grower, 
should name the successor mill in the event of mill closure. The Agency 
feels that the rule sufficiently addresses this concern without 
providing explicit allotment transfer rights to landowners. This is 
because CCC has found that while the grower signs the petition to 
transfer allocation to a particular mill, landowners have changed 
transfer requests when better offers were received from competing 
mills. Further, CCC has found that a grower is normally more aware of 
what is occurring in the local sugar processing market than a 
landowner, who may be located some distance from the farm. Moreover, it 
is presumed that a grower will cooperate with its landowner in the 
choice of a successor mill and not risk any disquiet to its farm or 
lease by disputing the landowner's choice of a new mill. Therefore, the 
rule provides that a grower may petition for the transfer. Thus, no 
changes are planned in the final rule as a result of this comment.
    One commenter supported the proposed rule, and suggested growers 
will place their allocation at successor mills offering the highest 
returns. The Agency generally agrees. As the commenter suggests, the 
intent of the rule was to give the grower the choice of where to 
deliver its cane if its mill closes. No change was made from the 
proposed rule in the final rule as a result of this comment.
    One mill supported the proposal to determine the grower allocation 
based on their historical production and suggested that this method 
gives the grower the freedom to choose a successor mill that best 
ensures their future in farming. The Agency agrees. This rule offers 
security to growers by guaranteeing the right to petition for transfer 
as long as they delivered cane to the mill that closed during the 
period used to establish the mill's allocation. When their mill closes, 
growers can contract with mills offering the highest returns without 
risk of losing allocation. Again, no change was made from what was in 
the proposed rule in the final rule on this issue.
    One processor agreed that the proposed method for calculating 
transferable allocation would ensure fair and equitable treatment for 
growers. However, this processor also maintained that ``replacement 
growers'' should not displace the production history from growers who 
contributed during the historical period. Replacement growers are those 
designated by the mill to supply sugarcane replacing sugarcane lost to 
the mill since the 2001 crop year and is a concept that only applies to 
Louisiana [See 7 CFR 1435.310(b)(1)(i)(C)].
    The final rule partly addresses this commenter's concerns. The 
method to be used for distributing the closed mill's allocation grants 
any grower who delivered cane to the closed mill during the period when 
the mill's allocation was established the right to petition for a 
transfer of allocation, regardless of whether or not he was a 
replacement grower. If a grower supplies sugarcane to replace sugarcane 
lost to the mill after the historical period ends, and this mill 
closes, he may not petition for transfer.
    The Louisiana Farm Bureau (LFB) strongly supported the proposed 
rule. LFB suggested that (1) it would be unfair to deny a grower who 
leaves within the last year of the historical period the right to 
transfer any allocation from a closed mill; (2) it would also be unfair 
to grant a grower who only delivers cane to a mill in the year prior to 
closure the right to petition for transfer of an allocation; and, (3) 
transferring allocations based on preceding crop year deliveries makes 
it possible to have marketing allocations awarded to non-base acreage. 
The Agency agrees. There is no change made in the final rule as a 
result of this comment.
    One processor commented that there is a distinction between a mill 
``closure'' and mill ``consolidation'' and that

[[Page 16200]]

transfer rules should apply differently. The commenter stated that when 
a mill ceases to operate (a ``closure''), growers should be able to 
choose their successor mill. However, when mills consolidate (which the 
commenter defines as to combine resources of more than one mill, and 
close a mill to achieve economies of scale), growers supplying cane to 
the closed mill should not be given the right to choose a successor 
mill. The allocation of these growers, the commenter argues, should 
stay with the remaining mill. The Agency disagrees. The authority for 
the transfer of allocation at 7 U.S.C. 1359f(c)(8) allows a grower to 
transfer allocation to another mill when the plant where it has 
established history closes. By statute, this right belongs to a grower, 
and exists to protect growers when a plant closes from having to ship 
their product beyond what is economically feasible, regardless of 
whether the closure by the mill owner was to consolidate production to 
achieve economies of scale. Typically, relationships between 
landowners, growers, processors, mills, and mill owners are defined by 
contracts, agreements, and a course of dealing over time. Absent terms 
in such an agreement which provide otherwise, when a processor closes a 
facility, the grower may transfer its allocation. Thus, the commenter's 
suggestions are not adopted and no change is planned in the final rule 
as a result.
    The second change CCC proposed is a deadline for the program's 
information reporting requirements. The required monthly information 
would be due on the 20th of each month. The third change CCC proposed 
is to require each cane processor, cane refiner, and beet processor to 
provide an annual report by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) that 
verifies the company's data submitted to CCC. No comments were received 
on either of these proposed changes and they are adopted in the final 
rule.

Executive Order 12866

    This rule has been determined to be not significant under Executive 
Order 12866 and has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-
602) do not apply to this rule because CCC is not required to publish a 
notice of proposed rulemaking for the subject of this rule. 
Nonetheless, CCC has determined that this rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
and a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis was not performed.

Environmental Assessment

    The environmental impacts of this rule have been considered under 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq., the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 
parts 1500-1508), and regulations of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of 
the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for compliance with NEPA, 7 CFR 
part 799. An environmental evaluation was completed and the proposed 
action has been determined not to have the potential to significantly 
impact the quality of the human environment and no environmental 
assessment or environmental impact statement is necessary. A copy of 
the environmental evaluation is available for inspection and review 
upon request.

Executive Order 12988

    This rule has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 
12988, Civil Justice Reform. In accordance with this Executive Order: 
(1) All State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with 
this rule will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to 
this rule; and (3) administrative proceedings in accordance with 7 CFR 
part 11 must be exhausted before seeking judicial review.

Executive Order 12372

    This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, which 
requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. 
See the notice related to 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V, published at 48 
FR 29115 (June 24, 1983).

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule contains no Federal mandates, as defined under title II 
of the UMRA, for State, local, and tribal governments or the private 
sector. Thus, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 
202 and 205 of UMRA.

Executive Order 13132

    The policies contained in this rule do not have any substantial 
direct effect on States, on the relationship between the national 
government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. Nor does this 
rule impose substantial direct compliance costs on State and local 
governments. Therefore, consultation with the States is not required.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under 7 U.S.C. 7991(c)(2)(A) these regulations may be promulgated 
and the program administered without regard to chapter 5 of title 44 of 
the United States Code (the Paperwork Reduction Act). Accordingly, 
these regulations and the forms and other information collection 
activities needed to administer the provisions authorized by these 
regulations are not subject to review by the Office of Management and 
Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Government Paperwork Elimination Act

    CCC is committed to compliance with the Government Paperwork 
Elimination Act (GPEA) and the Freedom to E-File Act, which require 
Government agencies in general, and the FSA in particular, to provide 
the public the option of submitting information or transacting business 
electronically to the maximum extent possible. Because of the nature of 
the forms and other information collection activities required for this 
program, they are not fully implemented in a way that would allow the 
public to conduct business with CCC electronically. Accordingly, at 
this time, all forms and information required to be submitted under 
this rule may be submitted to CCC by mail or FAX.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1435

    Loan programs--agriculture, Price support programs, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, and Sugar.


0
Accordingly, 7 CFR part 1435 is amended as follows:

PART 1435--SUGAR PROGRAM

0
1. The authority citation for part 1435 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1359aa-1359jj and 7272 et seq.; 15 U.S.C. 
714b and 714c.


0
2. In Sec.  1435.200 revise paragraph (a), redesignate paragraph (g) as 
paragraph (h), and add new paragraph (g) to read as follows:


Sec.  1435.200  Information reporting.

    (a) Every sugar beet processor, sugarcane processor, cane sugar 
refiner, and importer of sugar, syrup, and molasses shall report, by 
the 20th of each month, on CCC-required forms, its imports and 
receipts, processing inputs, production, distribution, stocks, and 
other information necessary to administer the sugar programs. If the 
20th of the month falls on a weekend or

[[Page 16201]]

a Federal holiday, the report shall be made by the next business day.
* * * * *
    (g) By November 20 of each year, each sugar beet processor, 
sugarcane processor, sugarcane refiner, and importer of sugars, syrups, 
and molasses will submit to CCC a report, as specified by CCC, from an 
independent Certified Public Accountant that reviews its information 
submitted to CCC during the previous October 1 through September 30 
period.
* * * * *

0
3. Amend Sec.  1435.308 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  1435.308  Transfer of allocation, new entrants.

    (a) If a sugar beet or sugarcane processing facility is closed, and 
the growers that delivered their crops to the closed facility elect to 
deliver their crops to another processor, the growers may petition the 
Executive Vice President, CCC, to transfer their share of the 
allocation from the processor that closed the facility to their new 
processor. If CCC approves transfer of the allocations, it will 
distribute the closed mill's allocation based on the contribution of 
the growers' production history to the closed mill's allocation. CCC 
may grant the allocation transfer upon:
    (1) Written request by a grower to transfer allocation,
    (2) Written approval of the processing company that will accept the 
additional deliveries, and
    (3) Evidence satisfactory to CCC that the new processor has the 
capacity to accommodate the production of petitioning growers.
* * * * *

    Signed in Washington, DC, on March 17, 2006.
Teresa C. Lasseter,
Executive Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
[FR Doc. 06-3099 Filed 3-30-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-05-P