Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West; Salable Quantities and Allotment Percentages for the 2007-2008 Marketing Year, 14657-14662 [E7-5811]

Download as PDF cprice-sewell on PROD1PC61 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 60 / Thursday, March 29, 2007 / Rules and Regulations reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. In addition, as noted in the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule. Further, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the Colorado potato industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all Committee meetings, the August 10, 2006, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express their views on this issue. An interim final rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2006 (71 FR 77583). Committee staff sent copies of the rule to all Committee members and Area No. 2 handlers. In addition, the rule was made available through the Internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. That rule provided for a 60-day comment period which ended February 26, 2007. One comment was received. The commenter stated that regulations were necessary, but believed that all potatoes should have the same requirements. However, the Committee believes that there are specific markets for certain varieties of potatoes, so requirements should be specific to the variety of potato. For example, some varieties of potatoes are better suited for the fresh market than the French fry or processed potato market. Furthermore, marketing order 948, Area No. 2, only regulates the handling of potatoes grown in Area No. 2 of Colorado, and not other U.S. potato producing areas. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/ fv/moab.html. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Jay Guerber at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the Committee’s recommendation, and other information, it is hereby found that finalizing the interim final rule, without change, as published in the Federal Register (71 FR 77583, December 27, 2006), will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 948 Marketing agreements, Potatoes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:22 Mar 28, 2007 Jkt 211001 PART 948—IRISH POTATOES GROWN IN COLORADO Accordingly, the interim final rule amending 7 CFR part 948 which was published at 71 FR 77583 on December 27, 2006, is adopted as a final rule without change. I Dated: March 23, 2007. Kenneth C. Clayton, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. E7–5817 Filed 3–28–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 985 [Docket Nos. AMS–FV–06–0188; FV07–985– 1 FR] Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West; Salable Quantities and Allotment Percentages for the 2007– 2008 Marketing Year Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This rule establishes the quantity of spearmint oil produced in the Far West, by class that handlers may purchase from, or handle for, producers during the 2007–2008 marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2007. This rule establishes salable quantities and allotment percentages for Class 1 (Scotch) spearmint oil of 886,667 pounds and 45 percent, respectively, and for Class 3 (Native) spearmint oil of 1,062,336 pounds and 48 percent, respectively. The Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee (Committee), the agency responsible for local administration of the marketing order for spearmint oil produced in the Far West, recommended these limitations for the purpose of avoiding extreme fluctuations in supplies and prices to help maintain stability in the spearmint oil market. DATES: Effective Date: This final rule becomes effective June 1, 2007. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan M. Hiller, Marketing Specialist, or Gary D. Olson, Regional Manager, Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (503) 326– 2724; Fax: (503) 326–7440; or E-mail: Susan.Hiller@usda.gov or GaryD.Olson@usda.gov. PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 14657 Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Jay Guerber, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Telephone: (202) 720– 2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938, or E-mail: Jay.Guerber@usda.gov. This final rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 985 (7 CFR part 985), as amended, regulating the handling of spearmint oil produced in the Far West (Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and designated parts of Nevada and Utah), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘order.’’ This order is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’ The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 12866. This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the marketing order now in effect, salable quantities and allotment percentages may be established for classes of spearmint oil produced in the Far West. This final rule establishes the quantity of spearmint oil produced in the Far West, by class, which may be purchased from or handled for producers by handlers during the 2007–2008 marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2007. This rule will not preempt any State or local laws, regulations, or policies, unless they present an irreconcilable conflict with this rule. The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. A handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA’s ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling. Pursuant to authority in §§ 985.50, 985.51, and 985.52 of the order, the Committee, with all eight members SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\29MRR1.SGM 29MRR1 cprice-sewell on PROD1PC61 with RULES 14658 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 60 / Thursday, March 29, 2007 / Rules and Regulations present, met on October 4, 2006, and recommended salable quantities and allotment percentages for both classes of oil for the 2007–2008 marketing year. The Committee unanimously recommended the establishment of a salable quantity and allotment percentage for Scotch spearmint oil of 886,667 pounds and 45 percent, respectively. For Native spearmint oil, the Committee unanimously recommended the establishment of a salable quantity and allotment percentage of 1,062,336 pounds and 48 percent, respectively. This final rule limits the amount of spearmint oil that handlers may purchase from, or handle for, producers during the 2007–2008 marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2007. Salable quantities and allotment percentages have been placed into effect each season since the order’s inception in 1980. The U.S. production of Scotch spearmint oil is concentrated in the Far West, which includes Washington, Idaho, and Oregon and a portion of Nevada and Utah. Scotch spearmint oil is also produced in the Midwest states of Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as in the States of Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota. The production area covered by the marketing order currently accounts for approximately 71 percent of the annual U.S. sales of Scotch spearmint oil. When the order became effective in 1980, the Far West had 72 percent of the world’s sales of Scotch spearmint oil. While the Far West is still the leading producer of Scotch spearmint oil, its share of world sales is now estimated to be about 43 percent. This loss in world sales for the Far West region is directly attributed to the increase in global production. Other factors that have played a significant role include the overall quality of the imported oil and technological advances that allow for more blending of lower quality oils. Such factors have provided the Committee with challenges in accurately predicting trade demand for Scotch oil. This, in turn, has made it difficult to balance available supplies with demand and to achieve the Committee’s overall goal of stabilizing producer and market prices. The marketing order has continued to contribute to price and general market stabilization for Far West producers. The Committee, as well as spearmint oil producers and handlers attending the October 4, 2006, meeting, estimated that the 2006–2007 producer price of Scotch oil would be $13.00 to $14.00 per pound. However, there is very little forward contracting being done at the present time. This producer price is VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:22 Mar 28, 2007 Jkt 211001 approaching the cost of production for most producers as indicated in a study from the Washington State University Cooperative Extension Service (WSU), which estimates production costs to be between $13.50 and $15.00 per pound. However, this study was completed in 2001 and fuel costs alone have doubled in price. This low level of producer returns has caused an overall reduction in acreage. When the order became effective in 1980, the Far West region had 9,702 acres of Scotch spearmint. The Committee estimates that the 2005–2006 acreage of Scotch spearmint was about 6,137 acres. Based on the reduced Scotch spearmint acreage, the Committee estimates that production for the 2005–2006 marketing season will be about 712,539 pounds. The Committee recommended the 2007–2008 Scotch spearmint oil salable quantity (886,667 pounds) and allotment percentage (45 percent) utilizing sales estimates for 2007–2008 Scotch spearmint oil as provided by several of the industry’s handlers, as well as historical and current Scotch spearmint oil sales levels. The Committee is estimating that about 875,000 pounds of Scotch spearmint oil, on average, may be sold during the 2007–2008 marketing year. When considered in conjunction with the estimated carry-in of 18,029 pounds of oil on June 1, 2007, the recommended salable quantity of 886,667 pounds results in a total available supply of Scotch spearmint oil next year of about 904,696 pounds. The recommendation for the 2007– 2008 Scotch spearmint oil volume regulation is consistent with the Committee’s stated intent of keeping adequate supplies available at all times, while attempting to stabilize prices at a level adequate to sustain the producers. Furthermore, the recommendation takes into consideration the industry’s desire to compete with less expensive oil produced outside the regulated area. Although Native spearmint oil producers are facing market conditions similar to those affecting the Scotch spearmint oil market, the market share is quite different. Over 90 percent of the U.S. production of Native spearmint is produced within the Far West production area. Also, most of the world’s supply of Native spearmint is produced in the United States. The supply and demand characteristics of the current Native spearmint oil market, combined with the stabilizing impact of the marketing order, have kept the price relatively steady. The average price for the five year period ending in 2005 is $9.38, PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 which is $0.34 lower than the average price for the ten year period (1996– 2005) of $9.72. The Committee considers these levels too low for the majority of producers to maintain viability. The WSU study referenced earlier indicates that the cost of producing Native spearmint oil ranges from $10.26 to $10.92 per pound. Similar to Scotch, the low level of producer returns has also caused an overall reduction in Native spearmint acreage. When the order became effective in 1980, the Far West region had 12,153 acres of Native spearmint. The Committee estimates that the 2005– 2006 acreage of Native spearmint was about 7,688 acres. Based on the reduced Native spearmint acreage, the Committee estimates that production for the 2005–2006 marketing season will be about 999,920 pounds. The Committee recommended the 2007–2008 Native spearmint oil salable quantity (1,062,336 pounds) and allotment percentage (48 percent) utilizing sales estimates for 2007–2008 Native spearmint oil as provided by several of the industry’s handlers, as well as historical and current Native spearmint oil sales levels. The Committee is estimating that about 1,141,667 pounds of Native spearmint oil, on average, may be sold during the 2007–2008 marketing year. When considered in conjunction with the estimated carry-in of 119,057 pounds of oil on June 1, 2007, the recommended salable quantity of 1,062,336 pounds results in a total available supply of Native spearmint oil next year of about 1,181,393 pounds. The Committee’s method of calculating the Native spearmint oil salable quantity and allotment percentage continues to primarily utilize information on price and available supply as they are affected by the estimated trade demand. The Committee’s stated intent is to make adequate supplies available to meet market needs and improve producer prices. The Committee believes that the order has contributed extensively to the stabilization of producer prices, which prior to 1980 experienced wide fluctuations from year to year. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, for example, the average price paid for both classes of spearmint oil ranged from $4.00 per pound to $11.10 per pound during the period between 1968 and 1980. Prices since the order’s inception, the period from 1980 to 2005, have generally stabilized at an average price of $9.84 per pound for Native spearmint oil and E:\FR\FM\29MRR1.SGM 29MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 60 / Thursday, March 29, 2007 / Rules and Regulations cprice-sewell on PROD1PC61 with RULES $12.72 per pound for Scotch spearmint oil. The Committee based its recommendation for the proposed salable quantity and allotment percentage for each class of spearmint oil for the 2007–2008 marketing year on the information discussed above, as well as the data outlined below. (1) Class 1 (Scotch) Spearmint Oil (A) Estimated carry-in on June 1, 2007—18,029 pounds. This figure is the difference between the revised 2006– 2007 marketing year total available supply of 818,029 pounds and the estimated 2006–2007 marketing year trade demand of 800,000 pounds. (B) Estimated trade demand for the 2007–2008 marketing year—875,000 pounds. This figure is based on input from producers at five Scotch spearmint oil production area meetings held in September 2006, as well as estimates provided by handlers and other meeting participants at the October 4, 2006, meeting. The average estimated trade demand provided at the five production area meetings was 880,000 pounds, whereas the estimated handler trade demand ranged from 850,000 to 900,000 pounds. The average of sales over the last five years was 754,269 pounds. (C) Salable quantity required from the 2007–2008 marketing year production— 856,971 pounds. This figure is the difference between the estimated 2007– 2008 marketing year trade demand (875,000 pounds) and the estimated carry-in on June 1, 2007 (18,029 pounds). (D) Total estimated allotment base for the 2007–2008 marketing year— 1,970,370 pounds. This figure represents a one-percent increase over the revised 2006–2007 total allotment base. This figure is generally revised each year on June 1 due to producer base being lost due to the bona fide effort production provisions of § 985.53(e). The revision is usually minimal. (E) Computed allotment percentage— 43.5 percent. This percentage is computed by dividing the required salable quantity by the total estimated allotment base. (F) Recommended allotment percentage—45 percent. This recommendation is based on the Committee’s determination that the computed 43.5 percent would not adequately supply the potential 2007– 2008 market. (G) The Committee’s recommended salable quantity—886,667 pounds. This figure is the product of the recommended allotment percentage and the total estimated allotment base. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:22 Mar 28, 2007 Jkt 211001 (H) Estimated available supply for the 2007–2008 marketing year—904,696 pounds. This figure is the sum of the 2007–2008 recommended salable quantity (886,667 pounds) and the estimated carry-in on June 1, 2007 (18,029 pounds). (2) Class 3 (Native) Spearmint Oil (A) Estimated carry-in on June 1, 2007—119,057 pounds. The Committee’s estimated carry-in reflects anticipated increases to the salable quantity and allotment percentage that may be needed to meet demand in 2006–2007. (B) Estimated trade demand for the 2007–2008 marketing year—1,141,667 pounds. This figure is based on input from producers at the six Native spearmint oil production area meetings held in September 2006, as well as estimates provided by handlers and other meeting participants at the October 4, 2006, meeting. The average estimated trade demand provided at the six production area meetings was 1,141,667 pounds, whereas the average handler estimate was 1,183,000 pounds. (C) Salable quantity required from the 2007–2008 marketing year production— 1,022,610 pounds. This figure is the difference between the estimated 2007– 2008 marketing year trade demand (1,141,667 pounds) and the estimated carry-in on June 1, 2007 (119,057 pounds). (D) Total estimated allotment base for the 2007–2008 marketing year— 2,213,200 pounds. This figure represents a one percent increase over the revised 2006–2007 total allotment base. This figure is generally revised each year on June 1 due to producer base being lost due to the bona fide effort production provisions of § 985.53(e). The revision is usually minimal. (E) Computed allotment percentage— 46.2 percent. This percentage is computed by dividing the required salable quantity by the total estimated allotment base. (F) Recommended allotment percentage—48 percent. This is the Committee’s recommendation based on the computed allotment percentage, the average of the computed allotment percentage figures from the six production area meetings (46.4 percent), and input from producers and handlers at the October 4, 2006, meeting. (G) The Committee’s recommended salable quantity—1,062,336 pounds. This figure is the product of the recommended allotment percentage and the total estimated allotment base. (H) Estimated available supply for the 2007–2008 marketing year—1,181,393 PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 14659 pounds. This figure is the sum of the 2007–2008 recommended salable quantity (1,062,336 pounds) and the estimated carry-in on June 1, 2007 (119,057 pounds). The salable quantity is the total quantity of each class of spearmint oil, which handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of producers during a marketing year. Each producer is allotted a share of the salable quantity by applying the allotment percentage to the producer’s allotment base for the applicable class of spearmint oil. The Committee’s recommended Scotch and Native spearmint oil salable quantities and allotment percentages of 886,667 pounds and 45 percent, and 1,062,336 pounds and 48 percent, respectively, are based on the Committee’s goal of maintaining market stability by avoiding extreme fluctuations in supplies and prices, and the anticipated supply and trade demand during the 2007–2008 marketing year. The salable quantities are not expected to cause a shortage of spearmint oil supplies. Any unanticipated or additional market demand for spearmint oil, which may develop during the marketing year, can be satisfied by an increase in the salable quantities. Both Scotch and Native spearmint oil producers who produce more than their annual allotments during the 2007–2008 marketing year may transfer such excess spearmint oil to producers with spearmint oil production less than their annual allotment, or put it into the reserve pool until November 1, 2007. This regulation is similar to regulations issued in prior seasons. Costs to producers and handlers resulting from this rule are expected to be offset by the benefits derived from a stable market and improved returns. In conjunction with the issuance of this final rule, USDA has reviewed the Committee’s marketing policy statement for the 2007–2008 marketing year. The Committee’s marketing policy statement, a requirement whenever the Committee recommends volume regulations, fully meets the intent of § 985.50 of the order. During its discussion of potential 2007–2008 salable quantities and allotment percentages, the Committee considered: (1) The estimated quantity of salable oil of each class held by producers and handlers; (2) the estimated demand for each class of oil; (3) the prospective production of each class of oil; (4) the total of allotment bases of each class of oil for the current marketing year and the estimated total of allotment bases of each class for the ensuing marketing year; (5) the quantity of reserve oil, by E:\FR\FM\29MRR1.SGM 29MRR1 14660 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 60 / Thursday, March 29, 2007 / Rules and Regulations cprice-sewell on PROD1PC61 with RULES class, in storage; (6) producer prices of oil, including prices for each class of oil; and (7) general market conditions for each class of oil, including whether the estimated season average price to producers is likely to exceed parity. Conformity with the USDA’s ‘‘Guidelines for Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders’’ has also been reviewed and confirmed. The establishment of these salable quantities and allotment percentages will allow for anticipated market needs. In determining anticipated market needs, consideration by the Committee was given to historical sales, as well as changes and trends in production and demand. This rule also provides producers with information on the amount of spearmint oil that should be produced for the 2007–2008 season in order to meet anticipated market demand. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of business subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in that they are brought about through group action of essentially small entities acting on their own behalf. Thus, both statutes have small entity orientation and compatibility. There are eight spearmint oil handlers subject to regulation under the order, and approximately 58 producers of Scotch spearmint oil and approximately 90 producers of Native spearmint oil in the regulated production area. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts of less than $6,500,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000. Based on the SBA’s definition of small entities, the Committee estimates that 2 of the 8 handlers regulated by the order could be considered small entities. Most of the handlers are large corporations involved in the international trading of essential oils and the products of essential oils. In addition, the Committee estimates that 19 of the 58 Scotch spearmint oil producers and 21 of the 90 Native spearmint oil producers could be VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:22 Mar 28, 2007 Jkt 211001 classified as small entities under the SBA definition. Thus, a majority of handlers and producers of Far West spearmint oil may not be classified as small entities. The Far West spearmint oil industry is characterized by producers whose farming operations generally involve more than one commodity, and whose income from farming operations is not exclusively dependent on the production of spearmint oil. A typical spearmint oil-producing operation has enough acreage for rotation such that the total acreage required to produce the crop is about one-third spearmint and two-thirds rotational crops. Thus, the typical spearmint oil producer has to have considerably more acreage than is planted to spearmint during any given season. Crop rotation is an essential cultural practice in the production of spearmint oil for weed, insect, and disease control. To remain economically viable with the added costs associated with spearmint oil production, most spearmint oil producing farms fall into the SBA category of large businesses. Small spearmint oil producers generally are not as extensively diversified as larger ones and as such are more at risk from market fluctuations. Such small producers generally need to market their entire annual allotment and do not have the luxury of having other crops to cushion seasons with poor spearmint oil returns. Conversely, large diversified producers have the potential to endure one or more seasons of poor spearmint oil markets because income from alternate crops could support the operation for a period of time. Being reasonably assured of a stable price and market provides small producing entities with the ability to maintain proper cash flow and to meet annual expenses. Thus, the market and price stability provided by the order potentially benefit the small producer more than such provisions benefit large producers. Even though a majority of handlers and producers of spearmint oil may not be classified as small entities, the volume control feature of this order has small entity orientation. This final rule establishes the quantity of spearmint oil produced in the Far West, by class that handlers may purchase from, or handle for, producers during the 2007–2008 marketing year. The Committee recommended this rule to help maintain stability in the spearmint oil market by avoiding extreme fluctuations in supplies and prices. Establishing quantities to be purchased or handled during the marketing year through volume regulations allows producers to plan their spearmint planting and harvesting PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 to meet expected market needs. The provisions of §§ 985.50, 985.51, and 985.52 of the order authorize this rule. Instability in the spearmint oil subsector of the mint industry is much more likely to originate on the supply side than the demand side. Fluctuations in yield and acreage planted from season-to-season tend to be larger than fluctuations in the amount purchased by buyers. Demand for spearmint oil tends to be relatively stable from year-to-year. The demand for spearmint oil is expected to grow slowly for the foreseeable future because the demand for consumer products that use spearmint oil will likely expand slowly, in line with population growth. Demand for spearmint oil at the farm level is derived from retail demand for spearmint-flavored products such as chewing gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. The manufacturers of these products are by far the largest users of mint oil. However, spearmint flavoring is generally a very minor component of the products in which it is used, so changes in the raw product price have no impact on retail prices for those goods. Spearmint oil production tends to be cyclical. Years of large production, with demand remaining reasonably stable, have led to periods in which large producer stocks of unsold spearmint oil have depressed producer prices for a number of years. Shortages and high prices may follow in subsequent years, as producers respond to price signals by cutting back production. The significant variability is illustrated by the fact that the coefficient of variation (a standard measure of variability; ‘‘CV’’) of Far West spearmint oil production from 1980 through 2005 was about 0.24. The CV for spearmint oil grower prices was about 0.14, well below the CV for production. This provides an indication of the price stabilizing impact of the marketing order. Production in the shortest marketing year was about 49 percent of the 26-year average (1.842 million pounds from 1980 through 2005) and the largest crop was approximately 167 percent of the 26-year average. A key consequence is that in years of oversupply and low prices the season average producer price of spearmint oil is below the average cost of production (as measured by the Washington State University Cooperative Extension Service.) The wide fluctuations in supply and prices that result from this cycle, which was even more pronounced before the creation of the marketing order, can create liquidity problems for some producers. The marketing order was E:\FR\FM\29MRR1.SGM 29MRR1 cprice-sewell on PROD1PC61 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 60 / Thursday, March 29, 2007 / Rules and Regulations designed to reduce the price impacts of the cyclical swings in production. However, producers have been less able to weather these cycles in recent years because of the decline in prices of many of the alternative crops they grow. As noted earlier, almost all spearmint oil producers diversify by growing other crops. In an effort to stabilize prices, the spearmint oil industry uses the volume control mechanisms authorized under the order. This authority allows the Committee to recommend a salable quantity and allotment percentage for each class of oil for the upcoming marketing year. The salable quantity for each class of oil is the total volume of oil that producers may sell during the marketing year. The allotment percentage for each class of spearmint oil is derived by dividing the salable quantity by the total allotment base. Each producer is then issued an annual allotment certificate, in pounds, for the applicable class of oil, which is calculated by multiplying the producer’s allotment base by the applicable allotment percentage. This is the amount of oil for the applicable class that the producer can sell. By November 1 of each year, the Committee identifies any oil that individual producers have produced above the volume specified on their annual allotment certificates. This excess oil is placed in a reserve pool administered by the Committee. There is a reserve pool for each class of oil that may not be sold during the current marketing year unless USDA approves a Committee recommendation to make a portion of the pool available. However, limited quantities of reserve oil are typically sold to fill deficiencies. A deficiency occurs when on-farm production is less than a producer’s allotment. In that case, a producer’s own reserve oil can be sold to fill that deficiency. Excess production (higher than the producer’s allotment) can be sold to fill other producers’ deficiencies. All of this needs to take place by November 1. In any given year, the total available supply of spearmint oil is composed of current production plus carry-over stocks from the previous crop. The Committee seeks to maintain market stability by balancing supply and demand, and to close the marketing year with an appropriate level of carryout. If the industry has production in excess of the salable quantity, then the reserve pool absorbs the surplus quantity of spearmint oil, which goes unsold during that year, unless the oil is needed for unanticipated sales. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:22 Mar 28, 2007 Jkt 211001 Under its provisions, the order may attempt to stabilize prices by (1) limiting supply and establishing reserves in high production years, thus minimizing the price-depressing effect that excess producer stocks have on unsold spearmint oil, and (2) ensuring that stocks are available in short supply years when prices would otherwise increase dramatically. The reserve pool stocks grown in large production years are drawn down in short crop years. An econometric model was used to assess the impact that volume control has on the prices producers receive for their commodity. Without volume control, spearmint oil markets would likely be over-supplied, resulting in low producer prices and a large volume of oil stored and carried over to the next crop year. The model estimates how much lower producer prices would likely be in the absence of volume controls. The Committee estimated the trade demand for the 2007–2008 marketing year for both classes of oil at 2,016,667 pounds, and that the expected combined carry-in will be 137,086 pounds. This results in a combined salable quantity needed of 1,879,581 pounds. Therefore, with volume control, sales by producers for the 2007–2008 marketing year will be limited to 1,949,003 pounds (the recommended salable quantity for both classes of spearmint oil). The recommended salable percentages, upon which 2007–2008 producer allotments are based, are 45 percent for Scotch and 48 percent for Native. Without volume controls, producers would not be limited to these allotment levels, and could produce and sell additional spearmint. The econometric model estimated a $1.45 decline in the season average producer price per pound (from both classes of spearmint oil) resulting from the higher quantities that would be produced and marketed without volume control. The Far West producer price for both classes of spearmint oil was $10.20 for 2005, which is below the average of $10.83 for the period of 1980 through 2005, based on National Agricultural Statistics Service data. The surplus situation for the spearmint oil market that would exist without volume controls in 2007– 2008 also would likely dampen prospects for improved producer prices in future years because of the buildup in stocks. The use of volume controls allows the industry to fully supply spearmint oil markets while avoiding the negative consequences of over-supplying these markets. The use of volume controls is believed to have little or no effect on PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 14661 consumer prices of products containing spearmint oil and will not result in fewer retail sales of such products. The Committee discussed alternatives to the recommendations contained in this rule for both classes of spearmint oil. The Committee discussed and rejected the idea of recommending that there not be any volume regulation for both classes of spearmint oil because of the severe price-depressing effects that would occur without volume control. The Committee considered various alternative levels of volume control for Scotch spearmint oil, including increasing the percentage to a less restrictive level, or decreasing the percentage. After considerable discussion the Committee unanimously determined that 886,667 pounds and 45 percent would be the most effective salable quantity and allotment percentage, respectively, for the 2007– 2008 marketing year. The Committee also considered various alternative levels of volume control for Native spearmint oil. After considerable discussion the Committee unanimously determined that 1,062,336 pounds and 48 percent would be the most effective salable quantity and allotment percentage, respectively, for the 2007–2008 marketing year. As noted earlier, the Committee’s recommendation to establish salable quantities and allotment percentages for both classes of spearmint oil was made after careful consideration of all available information, including: (1) The estimated quantity of salable oil of each class held by producers and handlers; (2) the estimated demand for each class of oil; (3) the prospective production of each class of oil; (4) the total of allotment bases of each class of oil for the current marketing year and the estimated total of allotment bases of each class for the ensuing marketing year; (5) the quantity of reserve oil, by class, in storage; (6) producer prices of oil, including prices for each class of oil; and (7) general market conditions for each class of oil, including whether the estimated season average price to producers is likely to exceed parity. Based on its review, the Committee believes that the salable quantity and allotment percentage levels recommended will achieve the objectives sought. Without any regulations in effect, the Committee believes the industry would return to the pronounced cyclical price patterns that occurred prior to the order, and that prices in 2007–2008 would decline substantially below current levels. As stated earlier, the Committee believes that the order has contributed E:\FR\FM\29MRR1.SGM 29MRR1 cprice-sewell on PROD1PC61 with RULES 14662 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 60 / Thursday, March 29, 2007 / Rules and Regulations extensively to the stabilization of producer prices, which prior to 1980 experienced wide fluctuations from year-to-year. National Agricultural Statistics Service records show that the average price paid for both classes of spearmint oil ranged from $4.00 per pound to $11.10 per pound during the period between 1968 and 1980. Prices have been consistently more stable since the marketing order’s inception in 1980, with an average price for the period from 1980 to 2005 of $12.72 per pound for Scotch spearmint oil and $9.84 per pound for Native spearmint oil. During the period of 1998 through 2005, however, large production and carry-in inventories have contributed to prices below the 26-year average, despite the Committee’s efforts to balance available supplies with demand. Prices have ranged from $8.00 to $11.00 per pound for Scotch spearmint oil and between $9.10 and $10.00 per pound for Native spearmint oil. The 2005 Native price exceeded the 26-year average by $0.16. Producers stated, however, that fuel cost increases more than offset the price increase. According to the Committee, the recommended salable quantities and allotment percentages are expected to achieve the goals of market and price stability. As previously stated, annual salable quantities and allotment percentages have been issued for both classes of spearmint oil since the order’s inception. Accordingly, this action will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large spearmint oil producers or handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. The AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. As noted in the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this final rule. In addition, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the spearmint oil industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the October 4, 2006, meeting was a public meeting and VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:22 Mar 28, 2007 Jkt 211001 all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on January 22, 2007 (71 FR 2639). Copies of the rule were provided to Committee staff, which in turn made it available to spearmint oil producers, handlers, and other interested person. Finally, the rule was made available through the Internet by the Office of the Federal Register and USDA. A 30-day comment period ending February 21, 2007, was provided to allow interested persons to respond to the proposal. No comments were received. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/ fv/moab.html. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Jay Guerber at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. After consideration of all relevant matter presented, including the information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 985 Marketing agreements, Oils and fats, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Spearmint oil. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 985 is amended as follows: I PART 985—MARKETING ORDER REGULATING THE HANDLING OF SPEARMINT OIL PRODUCED IN THE FAR WEST 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 985 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. A new § 985.226 is added to read as follows: I Note: This section will not appear in the Code of Federal Regulations. § 985.226 Salable quantities and allotment percentages—2007–2008 marketing year. The salable quantity and allotment percentage for each class of spearmint oil during the marketing year beginning on June 1, 2007, shall be as follows: (a) Class 1 (Scotch) oil—a salable quantity of 886,667 pounds and an allotment percentage of 45 percent. (b) Class 3 (Native) oil—a salable quantity of 1,062,336 pounds and an allotment percentage of 48 percent. PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Dated: March 23, 2007. Lloyd C. Day, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. E7–5811 Filed 3–28–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION 11 CFR Part 111 [Notice 2007–7] Best Efforts in Administrative Fines Challenges AGENCY: Federal Election Commission. Final Rules and Transmittal of Rules to Congress. ACTION: SUMMARY: The Federal Election Commission is revising its regulations to amend four aspects of its Administrative Fines Program (‘‘AFP’’), a streamlined process through which the Commission assesses civil money penalties for late filers and non-filers under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (‘‘FECA’’). First, the Commission is revising its rules regarding the permissible grounds for challenging a proposed civil money penalty by clarifying the scope of the defense based on factual errors. Second, the Commission is incorporating a defense for political committees that demonstrate that they used their best efforts to file reports timely. Third, the Commission is revising its rules regarding its final determinations to clarify when the Commission finds that no violation has occurred. Lastly, the rules are being amended to explain that the Commission’s statement of reasons for its final decision in an AFP matter usually consists of the reasons set forth by the Commission’s reviewing officer as adopted by the Commission. The supplementary information that follows provides further information. EFFECTIVE DATE: April 30, 2007. Mr. J. Duane Pugh Jr., Acting Assistant General Counsel, or Ms. Margaret G. Perl, Attorney, 999 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 20463, (202) 694–1650 or (800) 424–9530. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Through the AFP, the Commission may assess a civil money penalty for a violation of the reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. 434(a) (such as not filing or filing late) without using the traditional enforcement procedures reserved for more serious violations under 2 U.S.C. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\29MRR1.SGM 29MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 60 (Thursday, March 29, 2007)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 14657-14662]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-5811]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 985

[Docket Nos. AMS-FV-06-0188; FV07-985-1 FR]


Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced 
in the Far West; Salable Quantities and Allotment Percentages for the 
2007-2008 Marketing Year

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This rule establishes the quantity of spearmint oil produced 
in the Far West, by class that handlers may purchase from, or handle 
for, producers during the 2007-2008 marketing year, which begins on 
June 1, 2007. This rule establishes salable quantities and allotment 
percentages for Class 1 (Scotch) spearmint oil of 886,667 pounds and 45 
percent, respectively, and for Class 3 (Native) spearmint oil of 
1,062,336 pounds and 48 percent, respectively. The Spearmint Oil 
Administrative Committee (Committee), the agency responsible for local 
administration of the marketing order for spearmint oil produced in the 
Far West, recommended these limitations for the purpose of avoiding 
extreme fluctuations in supplies and prices to help maintain stability 
in the spearmint oil market.

DATES: Effective Date: This final rule becomes effective June 1, 2007.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan M. Hiller, Marketing Specialist, 
or Gary D. Olson, Regional Manager, Northwest Marketing Field Office, 
Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, 
AMS, USDA; Telephone: (503) 326-2724; Fax: (503) 326-7440; or E-mail: 
Susan.Hiller@usda.gov or GaryD.Olson@usda.gov.
    Small businesses may request information on complying with this 
regulation by contacting Jay Guerber, Marketing Order Administration 
Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence 
Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 
720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or E-mail: Jay.Guerber@usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This final rule is issued under Marketing 
Order No. 985 (7 CFR part 985), as amended, regulating the handling of 
spearmint oil produced in the Far West (Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and 
designated parts of Nevada and Utah), hereinafter referred to as the 
``order.'' This order is effective under the Agricultural Marketing 
Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter 
referred to as the ``Act.''
    The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in 
conformance with Executive Order 12866.
    This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. Under the marketing order now in effect, salable 
quantities and allotment percentages may be established for classes of 
spearmint oil produced in the Far West. This final rule establishes the 
quantity of spearmint oil produced in the Far West, by class, which may 
be purchased from or handled for producers by handlers during the 2007-
2008 marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2007. This rule will not 
preempt any State or local laws, regulations, or policies, unless they 
present an irreconcilable conflict with this rule.
    The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted 
before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the 
Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition 
stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation 
imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and 
request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. A 
handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. 
After the hearing USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides 
that the district court of the United States in any district in which 
the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of 
business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, 
provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of 
the entry of the ruling.
    Pursuant to authority in Sec. Sec.  985.50, 985.51, and 985.52 of 
the order, the Committee, with all eight members

[[Page 14658]]

present, met on October 4, 2006, and recommended salable quantities and 
allotment percentages for both classes of oil for the 2007-2008 
marketing year. The Committee unanimously recommended the establishment 
of a salable quantity and allotment percentage for Scotch spearmint oil 
of 886,667 pounds and 45 percent, respectively. For Native spearmint 
oil, the Committee unanimously recommended the establishment of a 
salable quantity and allotment percentage of 1,062,336 pounds and 48 
percent, respectively.
    This final rule limits the amount of spearmint oil that handlers 
may purchase from, or handle for, producers during the 2007-2008 
marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2007. Salable quantities and 
allotment percentages have been placed into effect each season since 
the order's inception in 1980.
    The U.S. production of Scotch spearmint oil is concentrated in the 
Far West, which includes Washington, Idaho, and Oregon and a portion of 
Nevada and Utah. Scotch spearmint oil is also produced in the Midwest 
states of Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as in the States of 
Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota. The production area 
covered by the marketing order currently accounts for approximately 71 
percent of the annual U.S. sales of Scotch spearmint oil.
    When the order became effective in 1980, the Far West had 72 
percent of the world's sales of Scotch spearmint oil. While the Far 
West is still the leading producer of Scotch spearmint oil, its share 
of world sales is now estimated to be about 43 percent. This loss in 
world sales for the Far West region is directly attributed to the 
increase in global production. Other factors that have played a 
significant role include the overall quality of the imported oil and 
technological advances that allow for more blending of lower quality 
oils. Such factors have provided the Committee with challenges in 
accurately predicting trade demand for Scotch oil. This, in turn, has 
made it difficult to balance available supplies with demand and to 
achieve the Committee's overall goal of stabilizing producer and market 
prices.
    The marketing order has continued to contribute to price and 
general market stabilization for Far West producers. The Committee, as 
well as spearmint oil producers and handlers attending the October 4, 
2006, meeting, estimated that the 2006-2007 producer price of Scotch 
oil would be $13.00 to $14.00 per pound. However, there is very little 
forward contracting being done at the present time. This producer price 
is approaching the cost of production for most producers as indicated 
in a study from the Washington State University Cooperative Extension 
Service (WSU), which estimates production costs to be between $13.50 
and $15.00 per pound. However, this study was completed in 2001 and 
fuel costs alone have doubled in price.
    This low level of producer returns has caused an overall reduction 
in acreage. When the order became effective in 1980, the Far West 
region had 9,702 acres of Scotch spearmint. The Committee estimates 
that the 2005-2006 acreage of Scotch spearmint was about 6,137 acres. 
Based on the reduced Scotch spearmint acreage, the Committee estimates 
that production for the 2005-2006 marketing season will be about 
712,539 pounds.
    The Committee recommended the 2007-2008 Scotch spearmint oil 
salable quantity (886,667 pounds) and allotment percentage (45 percent) 
utilizing sales estimates for 2007-2008 Scotch spearmint oil as 
provided by several of the industry's handlers, as well as historical 
and current Scotch spearmint oil sales levels. The Committee is 
estimating that about 875,000 pounds of Scotch spearmint oil, on 
average, may be sold during the 2007-2008 marketing year. When 
considered in conjunction with the estimated carry-in of 18,029 pounds 
of oil on June 1, 2007, the recommended salable quantity of 886,667 
pounds results in a total available supply of Scotch spearmint oil next 
year of about 904,696 pounds.
    The recommendation for the 2007-2008 Scotch spearmint oil volume 
regulation is consistent with the Committee's stated intent of keeping 
adequate supplies available at all times, while attempting to stabilize 
prices at a level adequate to sustain the producers. Furthermore, the 
recommendation takes into consideration the industry's desire to 
compete with less expensive oil produced outside the regulated area.
    Although Native spearmint oil producers are facing market 
conditions similar to those affecting the Scotch spearmint oil market, 
the market share is quite different. Over 90 percent of the U.S. 
production of Native spearmint is produced within the Far West 
production area. Also, most of the world's supply of Native spearmint 
is produced in the United States.
    The supply and demand characteristics of the current Native 
spearmint oil market, combined with the stabilizing impact of the 
marketing order, have kept the price relatively steady. The average 
price for the five year period ending in 2005 is $9.38, which is $0.34 
lower than the average price for the ten year period (1996-2005) of 
$9.72. The Committee considers these levels too low for the majority of 
producers to maintain viability. The WSU study referenced earlier 
indicates that the cost of producing Native spearmint oil ranges from 
$10.26 to $10.92 per pound.
    Similar to Scotch, the low level of producer returns has also 
caused an overall reduction in Native spearmint acreage. When the order 
became effective in 1980, the Far West region had 12,153 acres of 
Native spearmint. The Committee estimates that the 2005-2006 acreage of 
Native spearmint was about 7,688 acres. Based on the reduced Native 
spearmint acreage, the Committee estimates that production for the 
2005-2006 marketing season will be about 999,920 pounds.
    The Committee recommended the 2007-2008 Native spearmint oil 
salable quantity (1,062,336 pounds) and allotment percentage (48 
percent) utilizing sales estimates for 2007-2008 Native spearmint oil 
as provided by several of the industry's handlers, as well as 
historical and current Native spearmint oil sales levels. The Committee 
is estimating that about 1,141,667 pounds of Native spearmint oil, on 
average, may be sold during the 2007-2008 marketing year. When 
considered in conjunction with the estimated carry-in of 119,057 pounds 
of oil on June 1, 2007, the recommended salable quantity of 1,062,336 
pounds results in a total available supply of Native spearmint oil next 
year of about 1,181,393 pounds.
    The Committee's method of calculating the Native spearmint oil 
salable quantity and allotment percentage continues to primarily 
utilize information on price and available supply as they are affected 
by the estimated trade demand. The Committee's stated intent is to make 
adequate supplies available to meet market needs and improve producer 
prices.
    The Committee believes that the order has contributed extensively 
to the stabilization of producer prices, which prior to 1980 
experienced wide fluctuations from year to year. According to the 
National Agricultural Statistics Service, for example, the average 
price paid for both classes of spearmint oil ranged from $4.00 per 
pound to $11.10 per pound during the period between 1968 and 1980. 
Prices since the order's inception, the period from 1980 to 2005, have 
generally stabilized at an average price of $9.84 per pound for Native 
spearmint oil and

[[Page 14659]]

$12.72 per pound for Scotch spearmint oil.
    The Committee based its recommendation for the proposed salable 
quantity and allotment percentage for each class of spearmint oil for 
the 2007-2008 marketing year on the information discussed above, as 
well as the data outlined below.

(1) Class 1 (Scotch) Spearmint Oil

    (A) Estimated carry-in on June 1, 2007--18,029 pounds. This figure 
is the difference between the revised 2006-2007 marketing year total 
available supply of 818,029 pounds and the estimated 2006-2007 
marketing year trade demand of 800,000 pounds.
    (B) Estimated trade demand for the 2007-2008 marketing year--
875,000 pounds. This figure is based on input from producers at five 
Scotch spearmint oil production area meetings held in September 2006, 
as well as estimates provided by handlers and other meeting 
participants at the October 4, 2006, meeting. The average estimated 
trade demand provided at the five production area meetings was 880,000 
pounds, whereas the estimated handler trade demand ranged from 850,000 
to 900,000 pounds. The average of sales over the last five years was 
754,269 pounds.
    (C) Salable quantity required from the 2007-2008 marketing year 
production--856,971 pounds. This figure is the difference between the 
estimated 2007-2008 marketing year trade demand (875,000 pounds) and 
the estimated carry-in on June 1, 2007 (18,029 pounds).
    (D) Total estimated allotment base for the 2007-2008 marketing 
year--1,970,370 pounds. This figure represents a one-percent increase 
over the revised 2006-2007 total allotment base. This figure is 
generally revised each year on June 1 due to producer base being lost 
due to the bona fide effort production provisions of Sec.  985.53(e). 
The revision is usually minimal.
    (E) Computed allotment percentage--43.5 percent. This percentage is 
computed by dividing the required salable quantity by the total 
estimated allotment base.
    (F) Recommended allotment percentage--45 percent. This 
recommendation is based on the Committee's determination that the 
computed 43.5 percent would not adequately supply the potential 2007-
2008 market.
    (G) The Committee's recommended salable quantity--886,667 pounds. 
This figure is the product of the recommended allotment percentage and 
the total estimated allotment base.
    (H) Estimated available supply for the 2007-2008 marketing year--
904,696 pounds. This figure is the sum of the 2007-2008 recommended 
salable quantity (886,667 pounds) and the estimated carry-in on June 1, 
2007 (18,029 pounds).

(2) Class 3 (Native) Spearmint Oil

    (A) Estimated carry-in on June 1, 2007--119,057 pounds. The 
Committee's estimated carry-in reflects anticipated increases to the 
salable quantity and allotment percentage that may be needed to meet 
demand in 2006-2007.
    (B) Estimated trade demand for the 2007-2008 marketing year--
1,141,667 pounds. This figure is based on input from producers at the 
six Native spearmint oil production area meetings held in September 
2006, as well as estimates provided by handlers and other meeting 
participants at the October 4, 2006, meeting. The average estimated 
trade demand provided at the six production area meetings was 1,141,667 
pounds, whereas the average handler estimate was 1,183,000 pounds.
    (C) Salable quantity required from the 2007-2008 marketing year 
production--1,022,610 pounds. This figure is the difference between the 
estimated 2007-2008 marketing year trade demand (1,141,667 pounds) and 
the estimated carry-in on June 1, 2007 (119,057 pounds).
    (D) Total estimated allotment base for the 2007-2008 marketing 
year--2,213,200 pounds. This figure represents a one percent increase 
over the revised 2006-2007 total allotment base. This figure is 
generally revised each year on June 1 due to producer base being lost 
due to the bona fide effort production provisions of Sec.  985.53(e). 
The revision is usually minimal.
    (E) Computed allotment percentage--46.2 percent. This percentage is 
computed by dividing the required salable quantity by the total 
estimated allotment base.
    (F) Recommended allotment percentage--48 percent. This is the 
Committee's recommendation based on the computed allotment percentage, 
the average of the computed allotment percentage figures from the six 
production area meetings (46.4 percent), and input from producers and 
handlers at the October 4, 2006, meeting.
    (G) The Committee's recommended salable quantity--1,062,336 pounds. 
This figure is the product of the recommended allotment percentage and 
the total estimated allotment base.
    (H) Estimated available supply for the 2007-2008 marketing year--
1,181,393 pounds. This figure is the sum of the 2007-2008 recommended 
salable quantity (1,062,336 pounds) and the estimated carry-in on June 
1, 2007 (119,057 pounds).
    The salable quantity is the total quantity of each class of 
spearmint oil, which handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of 
producers during a marketing year. Each producer is allotted a share of 
the salable quantity by applying the allotment percentage to the 
producer's allotment base for the applicable class of spearmint oil.
    The Committee's recommended Scotch and Native spearmint oil salable 
quantities and allotment percentages of 886,667 pounds and 45 percent, 
and 1,062,336 pounds and 48 percent, respectively, are based on the 
Committee's goal of maintaining market stability by avoiding extreme 
fluctuations in supplies and prices, and the anticipated supply and 
trade demand during the 2007-2008 marketing year. The salable 
quantities are not expected to cause a shortage of spearmint oil 
supplies. Any unanticipated or additional market demand for spearmint 
oil, which may develop during the marketing year, can be satisfied by 
an increase in the salable quantities. Both Scotch and Native spearmint 
oil producers who produce more than their annual allotments during the 
2007-2008 marketing year may transfer such excess spearmint oil to 
producers with spearmint oil production less than their annual 
allotment, or put it into the reserve pool until November 1, 2007.
    This regulation is similar to regulations issued in prior seasons. 
Costs to producers and handlers resulting from this rule are expected 
to be offset by the benefits derived from a stable market and improved 
returns. In conjunction with the issuance of this final rule, USDA has 
reviewed the Committee's marketing policy statement for the 2007-2008 
marketing year. The Committee's marketing policy statement, a 
requirement whenever the Committee recommends volume regulations, fully 
meets the intent of Sec.  985.50 of the order. During its discussion of 
potential 2007-2008 salable quantities and allotment percentages, the 
Committee considered: (1) The estimated quantity of salable oil of each 
class held by producers and handlers; (2) the estimated demand for each 
class of oil; (3) the prospective production of each class of oil; (4) 
the total of allotment bases of each class of oil for the current 
marketing year and the estimated total of allotment bases of each class 
for the ensuing marketing year; (5) the quantity of reserve oil, by

[[Page 14660]]

class, in storage; (6) producer prices of oil, including prices for 
each class of oil; and (7) general market conditions for each class of 
oil, including whether the estimated season average price to producers 
is likely to exceed parity. Conformity with the USDA's ``Guidelines for 
Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders'' has also been 
reviewed and confirmed.
    The establishment of these salable quantities and allotment 
percentages will allow for anticipated market needs. In determining 
anticipated market needs, consideration by the Committee was given to 
historical sales, as well as changes and trends in production and 
demand. This rule also provides producers with information on the 
amount of spearmint oil that should be produced for the 2007-2008 
season in order to meet anticipated market demand.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the 
economic impact of this action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has 
prepared this final regulatory flexibility analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
business subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued 
pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in 
that they are brought about through group action of essentially small 
entities acting on their own behalf. Thus, both statutes have small 
entity orientation and compatibility.
    There are eight spearmint oil handlers subject to regulation under 
the order, and approximately 58 producers of Scotch spearmint oil and 
approximately 90 producers of Native spearmint oil in the regulated 
production area. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the 
Small Business Administration (SBA) (13 CFR 121.201) as those having 
annual receipts of less than $6,500,000, and small agricultural 
producers are defined as those having annual receipts of less than 
$750,000.
    Based on the SBA's definition of small entities, the Committee 
estimates that 2 of the 8 handlers regulated by the order could be 
considered small entities. Most of the handlers are large corporations 
involved in the international trading of essential oils and the 
products of essential oils. In addition, the Committee estimates that 
19 of the 58 Scotch spearmint oil producers and 21 of the 90 Native 
spearmint oil producers could be classified as small entities under the 
SBA definition. Thus, a majority of handlers and producers of Far West 
spearmint oil may not be classified as small entities.
    The Far West spearmint oil industry is characterized by producers 
whose farming operations generally involve more than one commodity, and 
whose income from farming operations is not exclusively dependent on 
the production of spearmint oil. A typical spearmint oil-producing 
operation has enough acreage for rotation such that the total acreage 
required to produce the crop is about one-third spearmint and two-
thirds rotational crops. Thus, the typical spearmint oil producer has 
to have considerably more acreage than is planted to spearmint during 
any given season. Crop rotation is an essential cultural practice in 
the production of spearmint oil for weed, insect, and disease control. 
To remain economically viable with the added costs associated with 
spearmint oil production, most spearmint oil producing farms fall into 
the SBA category of large businesses.
    Small spearmint oil producers generally are not as extensively 
diversified as larger ones and as such are more at risk from market 
fluctuations. Such small producers generally need to market their 
entire annual allotment and do not have the luxury of having other 
crops to cushion seasons with poor spearmint oil returns. Conversely, 
large diversified producers have the potential to endure one or more 
seasons of poor spearmint oil markets because income from alternate 
crops could support the operation for a period of time. Being 
reasonably assured of a stable price and market provides small 
producing entities with the ability to maintain proper cash flow and to 
meet annual expenses. Thus, the market and price stability provided by 
the order potentially benefit the small producer more than such 
provisions benefit large producers. Even though a majority of handlers 
and producers of spearmint oil may not be classified as small entities, 
the volume control feature of this order has small entity orientation.
    This final rule establishes the quantity of spearmint oil produced 
in the Far West, by class that handlers may purchase from, or handle 
for, producers during the 2007-2008 marketing year. The Committee 
recommended this rule to help maintain stability in the spearmint oil 
market by avoiding extreme fluctuations in supplies and prices. 
Establishing quantities to be purchased or handled during the marketing 
year through volume regulations allows producers to plan their 
spearmint planting and harvesting to meet expected market needs. The 
provisions of Sec. Sec.  985.50, 985.51, and 985.52 of the order 
authorize this rule.
    Instability in the spearmint oil sub-sector of the mint industry is 
much more likely to originate on the supply side than the demand side. 
Fluctuations in yield and acreage planted from season-to-season tend to 
be larger than fluctuations in the amount purchased by buyers. Demand 
for spearmint oil tends to be relatively stable from year-to-year. The 
demand for spearmint oil is expected to grow slowly for the foreseeable 
future because the demand for consumer products that use spearmint oil 
will likely expand slowly, in line with population growth.
    Demand for spearmint oil at the farm level is derived from retail 
demand for spearmint-flavored products such as chewing gum, toothpaste, 
and mouthwash. The manufacturers of these products are by far the 
largest users of mint oil. However, spearmint flavoring is generally a 
very minor component of the products in which it is used, so changes in 
the raw product price have no impact on retail prices for those goods.
    Spearmint oil production tends to be cyclical. Years of large 
production, with demand remaining reasonably stable, have led to 
periods in which large producer stocks of unsold spearmint oil have 
depressed producer prices for a number of years. Shortages and high 
prices may follow in subsequent years, as producers respond to price 
signals by cutting back production.
    The significant variability is illustrated by the fact that the 
coefficient of variation (a standard measure of variability; ``CV'') of 
Far West spearmint oil production from 1980 through 2005 was about 
0.24. The CV for spearmint oil grower prices was about 0.14, well below 
the CV for production. This provides an indication of the price 
stabilizing impact of the marketing order.
    Production in the shortest marketing year was about 49 percent of 
the 26-year average (1.842 million pounds from 1980 through 2005) and 
the largest crop was approximately 167 percent of the 26-year average. 
A key consequence is that in years of oversupply and low prices the 
season average producer price of spearmint oil is below the average 
cost of production (as measured by the Washington State University 
Cooperative Extension Service.)
    The wide fluctuations in supply and prices that result from this 
cycle, which was even more pronounced before the creation of the 
marketing order, can create liquidity problems for some producers. The 
marketing order was

[[Page 14661]]

designed to reduce the price impacts of the cyclical swings in 
production. However, producers have been less able to weather these 
cycles in recent years because of the decline in prices of many of the 
alternative crops they grow. As noted earlier, almost all spearmint oil 
producers diversify by growing other crops.
    In an effort to stabilize prices, the spearmint oil industry uses 
the volume control mechanisms authorized under the order. This 
authority allows the Committee to recommend a salable quantity and 
allotment percentage for each class of oil for the upcoming marketing 
year. The salable quantity for each class of oil is the total volume of 
oil that producers may sell during the marketing year. The allotment 
percentage for each class of spearmint oil is derived by dividing the 
salable quantity by the total allotment base.
    Each producer is then issued an annual allotment certificate, in 
pounds, for the applicable class of oil, which is calculated by 
multiplying the producer's allotment base by the applicable allotment 
percentage. This is the amount of oil for the applicable class that the 
producer can sell.
    By November 1 of each year, the Committee identifies any oil that 
individual producers have produced above the volume specified on their 
annual allotment certificates. This excess oil is placed in a reserve 
pool administered by the Committee.
    There is a reserve pool for each class of oil that may not be sold 
during the current marketing year unless USDA approves a Committee 
recommendation to make a portion of the pool available. However, 
limited quantities of reserve oil are typically sold to fill 
deficiencies. A deficiency occurs when on-farm production is less than 
a producer's allotment. In that case, a producer's own reserve oil can 
be sold to fill that deficiency. Excess production (higher than the 
producer's allotment) can be sold to fill other producers' 
deficiencies. All of this needs to take place by November 1.
    In any given year, the total available supply of spearmint oil is 
composed of current production plus carry-over stocks from the previous 
crop. The Committee seeks to maintain market stability by balancing 
supply and demand, and to close the marketing year with an appropriate 
level of carryout. If the industry has production in excess of the 
salable quantity, then the reserve pool absorbs the surplus quantity of 
spearmint oil, which goes unsold during that year, unless the oil is 
needed for unanticipated sales.
    Under its provisions, the order may attempt to stabilize prices by 
(1) limiting supply and establishing reserves in high production years, 
thus minimizing the price-depressing effect that excess producer stocks 
have on unsold spearmint oil, and (2) ensuring that stocks are 
available in short supply years when prices would otherwise increase 
dramatically. The reserve pool stocks grown in large production years 
are drawn down in short crop years.
    An econometric model was used to assess the impact that volume 
control has on the prices producers receive for their commodity. 
Without volume control, spearmint oil markets would likely be over-
supplied, resulting in low producer prices and a large volume of oil 
stored and carried over to the next crop year. The model estimates how 
much lower producer prices would likely be in the absence of volume 
controls.
    The Committee estimated the trade demand for the 2007-2008 
marketing year for both classes of oil at 2,016,667 pounds, and that 
the expected combined carry-in will be 137,086 pounds. This results in 
a combined salable quantity needed of 1,879,581 pounds. Therefore, with 
volume control, sales by producers for the 2007-2008 marketing year 
will be limited to 1,949,003 pounds (the recommended salable quantity 
for both classes of spearmint oil).
    The recommended salable percentages, upon which 2007-2008 producer 
allotments are based, are 45 percent for Scotch and 48 percent for 
Native. Without volume controls, producers would not be limited to 
these allotment levels, and could produce and sell additional 
spearmint. The econometric model estimated a $1.45 decline in the 
season average producer price per pound (from both classes of spearmint 
oil) resulting from the higher quantities that would be produced and 
marketed without volume control. The Far West producer price for both 
classes of spearmint oil was $10.20 for 2005, which is below the 
average of $10.83 for the period of 1980 through 2005, based on 
National Agricultural Statistics Service data. The surplus situation 
for the spearmint oil market that would exist without volume controls 
in 2007-2008 also would likely dampen prospects for improved producer 
prices in future years because of the buildup in stocks.
    The use of volume controls allows the industry to fully supply 
spearmint oil markets while avoiding the negative consequences of over-
supplying these markets. The use of volume controls is believed to have 
little or no effect on consumer prices of products containing spearmint 
oil and will not result in fewer retail sales of such products.
    The Committee discussed alternatives to the recommendations 
contained in this rule for both classes of spearmint oil. The Committee 
discussed and rejected the idea of recommending that there not be any 
volume regulation for both classes of spearmint oil because of the 
severe price-depressing effects that would occur without volume 
control.
    The Committee considered various alternative levels of volume 
control for Scotch spearmint oil, including increasing the percentage 
to a less restrictive level, or decreasing the percentage. After 
considerable discussion the Committee unanimously determined that 
886,667 pounds and 45 percent would be the most effective salable 
quantity and allotment percentage, respectively, for the 2007-2008 
marketing year.
    The Committee also considered various alternative levels of volume 
control for Native spearmint oil. After considerable discussion the 
Committee unanimously determined that 1,062,336 pounds and 48 percent 
would be the most effective salable quantity and allotment percentage, 
respectively, for the 2007-2008 marketing year.
    As noted earlier, the Committee's recommendation to establish 
salable quantities and allotment percentages for both classes of 
spearmint oil was made after careful consideration of all available 
information, including: (1) The estimated quantity of salable oil of 
each class held by producers and handlers; (2) the estimated demand for 
each class of oil; (3) the prospective production of each class of oil; 
(4) the total of allotment bases of each class of oil for the current 
marketing year and the estimated total of allotment bases of each class 
for the ensuing marketing year; (5) the quantity of reserve oil, by 
class, in storage; (6) producer prices of oil, including prices for 
each class of oil; and (7) general market conditions for each class of 
oil, including whether the estimated season average price to producers 
is likely to exceed parity. Based on its review, the Committee believes 
that the salable quantity and allotment percentage levels recommended 
will achieve the objectives sought.
    Without any regulations in effect, the Committee believes the 
industry would return to the pronounced cyclical price patterns that 
occurred prior to the order, and that prices in 2007-2008 would decline 
substantially below current levels.
    As stated earlier, the Committee believes that the order has 
contributed

[[Page 14662]]

extensively to the stabilization of producer prices, which prior to 
1980 experienced wide fluctuations from year-to-year. National 
Agricultural Statistics Service records show that the average price 
paid for both classes of spearmint oil ranged from $4.00 per pound to 
$11.10 per pound during the period between 1968 and 1980. Prices have 
been consistently more stable since the marketing order's inception in 
1980, with an average price for the period from 1980 to 2005 of $12.72 
per pound for Scotch spearmint oil and $9.84 per pound for Native 
spearmint oil.
    During the period of 1998 through 2005, however, large production 
and carry-in inventories have contributed to prices below the 26-year 
average, despite the Committee's efforts to balance available supplies 
with demand. Prices have ranged from $8.00 to $11.00 per pound for 
Scotch spearmint oil and between $9.10 and $10.00 per pound for Native 
spearmint oil. The 2005 Native price exceeded the 26-year average by 
$0.16. Producers stated, however, that fuel cost increases more than 
offset the price increase.
    According to the Committee, the recommended salable quantities and 
allotment percentages are expected to achieve the goals of market and 
price stability.
    As previously stated, annual salable quantities and allotment 
percentages have been issued for both classes of spearmint oil since 
the order's inception. Accordingly, this action will not impose any 
additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or 
large spearmint oil producers or handlers. As with all Federal 
marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed 
to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and 
public sector agencies.
    The AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to 
promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies to 
provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government 
information and services, and for other purposes.
    As noted in the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has 
not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or 
conflict with this final rule.
    In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized 
throughout the spearmint oil industry and all interested persons were 
invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee 
deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the October 
4, 2006, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and 
small, were able to express views on this issue.
    A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal 
Register on January 22, 2007 (71 FR 2639). Copies of the rule were 
provided to Committee staff, which in turn made it available to 
spearmint oil producers, handlers, and other interested person. 
Finally, the rule was made available through the Internet by the Office 
of the Federal Register and USDA. A 30-day comment period ending 
February 21, 2007, was provided to allow interested persons to respond 
to the proposal. No comments were received.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http:/
/www.ams.usda.gov/fv/moab.html. Any questions about the compliance 
guide should be sent to Jay Guerber at the previously mentioned address 
in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.
    After consideration of all relevant matter presented, including the 
information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other 
available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as 
hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of 
the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 985

    Marketing agreements, Oils and fats, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Spearmint oil.


0
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 985 is amended as 
follows:

PART 985--MARKETING ORDER REGULATING THE HANDLING OF SPEARMINT OIL 
PRODUCED IN THE FAR WEST

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 985 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601-674.

0
2. A new Sec.  985.226 is added to read as follows:

    Note: This section will not appear in the Code of Federal 
Regulations.

Sec.  985.226  Salable quantities and allotment percentages--2007-2008 
marketing year.

    The salable quantity and allotment percentage for each class of 
spearmint oil during the marketing year beginning on June 1, 2007, 
shall be as follows:
    (a) Class 1 (Scotch) oil--a salable quantity of 886,667 pounds and 
an allotment percentage of 45 percent.
    (b) Class 3 (Native) oil--a salable quantity of 1,062,336 pounds 
and an allotment percentage of 48 percent.

    Dated: March 23, 2007.
Lloyd C. Day,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. E7-5811 Filed 3-28-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P