Avocados Grown in South Florida; Suspension of Weekly Handler Reporting Requirements, 16261-16263 [E7-6243]

Download as PDF 16261 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 72, No. 64 Wednesday, April 4, 2007 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each week. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 915 [Docket No. AMS–FV–06–0170; FV07–915– 1 FIR] Avocados Grown in South Florida; Suspension of Weekly Handler Reporting Requirements Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule changing the reporting requirements currently prescribed under the marketing order for avocados grown in South Florida (order). The order regulates the handling of avocados grown in South Florida and is administered locally by the Avocado Administrative Committee (Committee). This rule continues in effect the action that indefinitely suspended the weekly handler reporting requirements specified under the order. The information from the weekly reports is no longer being used by the industry or the Committee staff and the germane information is available from other sources. This action reduces the reporting burden on handlers, while aligning information collection requirements with the needs of the industry. DATES: Effective Date: May 4, 2007. cprice-sewell on PROD1PC61 with RULES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William G. Pimental, Marketing Specialist, or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Manager, Southeast Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324–3375, Fax: (863) 325–8793 or E-mail: VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:40 Apr 03, 2007 Jkt 211001 William.Pimental@usda.gov or Christian.Nissen@usda.gov, respectively. 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 rule is issued under Marketing Agreement No. 121 and Marketing Order No. 915, both as amended (7 CFR part 915), regulating the handling of avocados grown in South Florida, hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘order.’’ The 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.’’ USDA is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 12866. This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. 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. This rule continues in effect the action that modified the reporting requirements prescribed under the order by indefinitely suspending the weekly handler reporting requirements. The PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 information from the weekly report is no longer being used by the industry or the Committee staff and the germane information is available from other sources. This action reduces the reporting burden on handlers, while aligning information collection requirements with the needs of the industry. The Committee unanimously recommended this change at a meeting on April 19, 2006. Section 915.60 of the avocado marketing order provides authority for the Committee to require handlers to file reports and provide other information as may be necessary for the Committee to perform its duties. Section 915.150 of the order’s rules and regulations specifies the requisite reporting requirements. This rule continues in effect the action that revised § 915.150 by indefinitely suspending paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) which specify the weekly handler reporting requirements. Prior to this action, handlers were required to submit a weekly report to the Committee listing all avocados handled, the disposition of each lot of noncertified avocados removed from handler’s premises, and each lot of noncertified avocados received from another district. The Committee provided a form to assist handlers with supplying the required information. This information was compiled into a report which was made available to the industry. The Committee also used this data for statistical reporting purposes, to assess handlers, and for program compliance. When instituted, the information from the weekly reports was adequate for industry and Committee needs. However, for the past several seasons, the industry has stopped requesting the reports compiled from the weekly data. The Committee believes timely data is necessary for the information to be valuable. The industry is still interested in the volume of avocados handled, but weekly reports are not timely enough to be beneficial when it comes to using such information to help growers and handlers make harvesting and packing decisions. In addition to the weekly reporting information, the Committee staff also receives daily shipment information for all avocado handlers from the FederalState Inspection Service (FSIS). This information is collected from handlers E:\FR\FM\04APR1.SGM 04APR1 cprice-sewell on PROD1PC61 with RULES 16262 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 64 / Wednesday, April 4, 2007 / Rules and Regulations at the time of inspection and includes information on the volume packed. The Committee staff uses this information to generate daily shipping reports. The reports generated from the FSIS information are more accurate and timely, and the industry finds this information to be more beneficial. As such, the Committee staff has stopped generating reports based on the weekly information. Further, the Committee has found reporting at the time of inspection to be an effective and efficient way of collecting information. Recently, the rules and regulations were amended to require handlers to report added information to the FSIS at the time of inspection (70 FR 59622, October 13, 2005). With that change, handlers are now required to provide information regarding the number of avocados pack per container, in addition to the previous requirement that handlers provide the number and sizes of containers packed. In comparison, handlers find weekly reporting to be time consuming and that it places an additional burden on their staff to ensure weekly reports are submitted. Also, with some of the information contained in the weekly report already being reported at the time of inspection, it represents a duplication of effort. At one time, the Committee staff used the information from the weekly handler reports for statistical reporting purposes, to assess handlers, and for program compliance. However, they too have found the information in the daily shipment reports to be more useful, and of more interest to the industry. Further, the Committee staff has not been using the weekly reports to support program operations or for compliance purposes for some time. The information needed for Committee operations, marketing policies, and compliance is available from the daily inspection information provided by FSIS and from other sources. In addition, damages sustained from hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 resulted in a substantial reduction in assessment income. This rule reduces the amount of time required by the Committee staff to monitor handler reports. Thus, this rule offers the potential for cost savings. This rule continues in effect the action that indefinitely suspended the provisions requiring the submission of the weekly handler report. The information collected under this requirement is no longer being utilized and is not necessary for the operations of the order. This action reduces the reporting burden on handlers and lessens the reporting oversight demands VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:40 Apr 03, 2007 Jkt 211001 on the Committee staff. Therefore, the Committee voted unanimously to suspend § 915.150 paragraphs (a), (b), and (c). Section 8e of the Act provides that when certain domestically produced commodities, including avocados, are regulated under a Federal marketing order, imports of that commodity must meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements. As this rule changes the reporting requirements under the domestic handling regulations, no corresponding changes to the import regulations are required. 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 approximately 300 producers of avocados in the production area and approximately 35 handlers subject to regulation under the order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $6,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201). According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service and Committee data, the average price for Florida avocados during the 2005–06 season was around $46.75 per 55-pound bushel container, and total shipments were near 470,000 55-pound bushel equivalents. Using the average price and shipment information provided by the Committee, the majority of avocado handlers could be considered small businesses under the SBA definition. In addition, based on avocado production, grower prices, and the total number of Florida avocado growers, the average annual grower revenue is less than $750,000. Thus, the majority of Florida avocado producers may also be classified as small entities. This rule changes the reporting requirements currently prescribed under PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 the order. This rule continues in effect the action that indefinitely suspended the weekly handler reporting requirements required under the order. The information from the weekly report is no longer being used by the industry or the Committee staff and the germane information is available from other sources. This action reduces the reporting burden on handlers, while aligning information collection requirements with the needs of the industry. This rule revises § 915.150, which specifies the requisite reporting requirements. Authority for this action is provided for in § 915.60 of the order. The Committee unanimously recommended this change at a meeting held on April 19, 2006. This rule is not expected to result in any additional costs for handlers. This rule continues in effect the action that reduced the reporting burden on handlers by indefinitely suspending the provisions requiring the submission of a weekly report. It also reduces the amount of time required by the Committee staff to monitor and review handler reports. Thus, this rule offers the potential for cost savings. The potential reduction in costs would benefit all handlers regardless of their size. Consequently, the benefits of this rule are expected to be equally available to all. The Committee discussed keeping the weekly reporting requirements in place as an alternative to this action. However, the Committee believes continuing to collect information that is no longer being utilized by the industry or the Committee staff is unnecessary. Therefore, this alternative was rejected. This rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large avocado handlers. The form, FV–215, ‘‘Avocado Handler’s Weekly Report Form’’ is currently approved under OMB No. 0581–0189, Generic OMB Fruit Crops. The information collection for OMB No. 1581–0189 will be coming up for renewal, at which time the reduction in burden for this form will be addressed. The suspension of the reporting requirement reduces the overall burden for that collection by 54 hours. 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. In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule. The AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the Internet and other E:\FR\FM\04APR1.SGM 04APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 64 / Wednesday, April 4, 2007 / Rules and Regulations information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. Further, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the avocado industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all Committee meetings, the April 19, 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 22, 2006. Copies of the rule were mailed by the Committee’s staff to all Committee members and avocado 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 20, 2007. 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 material presented, including the Committee’s recommendation, and other information, it is found that finalizing the interim final rule, without change, as published in the Federal Register (71 FR 76897, December 22, 2006) will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 915 Avocados, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. PART 915—AVOCADOS GROWN IN SOUTH FLORIDA Accordingly, the interim final rule amending 7 CFR part 915 which was published at 71 FR 76897 on December 22, 2006, is adopted as a final rule without change. cprice-sewell on PROD1PC61 with RULES I Dated: March 29, 2007. Lloyd C. Day, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. E7–6243 Filed 4–3–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:40 Apr 03, 2007 Jkt 211001 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 922 [Docket No. AMS–FV–07–0031; FV07–922– 1 IFR] Apricots Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Suspension of Container Regulations Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Interim final rule with request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This rule suspends the container regulations prescribed under the Washington apricot marketing order by extending the temporary 2006 season suspension indefinitely. The marketing order regulates the handling of fresh apricots grown in designated counties in the State of Washington, and is administered locally by the Washington Apricot Marketing Committee (Committee). This indefinite suspension of the container regulations will continue to provide the apricot industry with increased marketing flexibility by allowing handlers to pack and ship apricots in any size, shape, or type of container. After evaluating the impact the temporary 2006 season container regulation suspension has had on the industry, the Committee determined that container regulations no longer contribute to the orderly marketing of the fresh apricot crop. DATES: Effective April 1, 2007. Comments received by June 4, 2007 will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this rule. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Fax: (202) 720–8938; or Internet: https:// www.regulations.gov. All comments should reference the docket number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours or can be viewed at: https://www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert J. Curry or Gary D. Olson, Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1220 SW., Third Avenue, Suite 385, Portland, Oregon 97204– PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 16263 2807; Telephone: (503) 326–2724; Fax: (503) 326–7440; or E-mail: Robert.Curry@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. This rule is issued under Marketing Agreement and Order No. 922 (7 CFR part 922) regulating the handling of apricots grown in designated counties in Washington, hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘order.’’ The 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 rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. This rule will not preempt any State of 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. Such 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. This rule indefinitely extends the temporary 2006 season container regulation suspension (§ 922.306), which ends on March 31, 2007. As it effectively did during the 2006 shipping season, this regulatory suspension will provide additional flexibility to the apricot industry by allowing handlers to SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\04APR1.SGM 04APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 64 (Wednesday, April 4, 2007)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 16261-16263]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-6243]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each 
week.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 64 / Wednesday, April 4, 2007 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 16261]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 915

[Docket No. AMS-FV-06-0170; FV07-915-1 FIR]


Avocados Grown in South Florida; Suspension of Weekly Handler 
Reporting Requirements

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final 
rule, without change, an interim final rule changing the reporting 
requirements currently prescribed under the marketing order for 
avocados grown in South Florida (order). The order regulates the 
handling of avocados grown in South Florida and is administered locally 
by the Avocado Administrative Committee (Committee). This rule 
continues in effect the action that indefinitely suspended the weekly 
handler reporting requirements specified under the order. The 
information from the weekly reports is no longer being used by the 
industry or the Committee staff and the germane information is 
available from other sources. This action reduces the reporting burden 
on handlers, while aligning information collection requirements with 
the needs of the industry.

DATES: Effective Date: May 4, 2007.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William G. Pimental, Marketing 
Specialist, or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Manager, Southeast 
Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit 
and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324-3375, Fax: 
(863) 325-8793 or E-mail: William.Pimental@usda.gov or 
Christian.Nissen@usda.gov, respectively.
    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 rule is issued under Marketing 
Agreement No. 121 and Marketing Order No. 915, both as amended (7 CFR 
part 915), regulating the handling of avocados grown in South Florida, 
hereinafter referred to as the ``order.'' The 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.''
    USDA is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 
12866.
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. 
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.
    This rule continues in effect the action that modified the 
reporting requirements prescribed under the order by indefinitely 
suspending the weekly handler reporting requirements. The information 
from the weekly report is no longer being used by the industry or the 
Committee staff and the germane information is available from other 
sources. This action reduces the reporting burden on handlers, while 
aligning information collection requirements with the needs of the 
industry. The Committee unanimously recommended this change at a 
meeting on April 19, 2006.
    Section 915.60 of the avocado marketing order provides authority 
for the Committee to require handlers to file reports and provide other 
information as may be necessary for the Committee to perform its 
duties. Section 915.150 of the order's rules and regulations specifies 
the requisite reporting requirements.
    This rule continues in effect the action that revised Sec.  915.150 
by indefinitely suspending paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) which specify 
the weekly handler reporting requirements. Prior to this action, 
handlers were required to submit a weekly report to the Committee 
listing all avocados handled, the disposition of each lot of 
noncertified avocados removed from handler's premises, and each lot of 
noncertified avocados received from another district. The Committee 
provided a form to assist handlers with supplying the required 
information. This information was compiled into a report which was made 
available to the industry. The Committee also used this data for 
statistical reporting purposes, to assess handlers, and for program 
compliance.
    When instituted, the information from the weekly reports was 
adequate for industry and Committee needs. However, for the past 
several seasons, the industry has stopped requesting the reports 
compiled from the weekly data. The Committee believes timely data is 
necessary for the information to be valuable. The industry is still 
interested in the volume of avocados handled, but weekly reports are 
not timely enough to be beneficial when it comes to using such 
information to help growers and handlers make harvesting and packing 
decisions.
    In addition to the weekly reporting information, the Committee 
staff also receives daily shipment information for all avocado handlers 
from the Federal-State Inspection Service (FSIS). This information is 
collected from handlers

[[Page 16262]]

at the time of inspection and includes information on the volume 
packed. The Committee staff uses this information to generate daily 
shipping reports. The reports generated from the FSIS information are 
more accurate and timely, and the industry finds this information to be 
more beneficial. As such, the Committee staff has stopped generating 
reports based on the weekly information.
    Further, the Committee has found reporting at the time of 
inspection to be an effective and efficient way of collecting 
information. Recently, the rules and regulations were amended to 
require handlers to report added information to the FSIS at the time of 
inspection (70 FR 59622, October 13, 2005). With that change, handlers 
are now required to provide information regarding the number of 
avocados pack per container, in addition to the previous requirement 
that handlers provide the number and sizes of containers packed.
    In comparison, handlers find weekly reporting to be time consuming 
and that it places an additional burden on their staff to ensure weekly 
reports are submitted. Also, with some of the information contained in 
the weekly report already being reported at the time of inspection, it 
represents a duplication of effort.
    At one time, the Committee staff used the information from the 
weekly handler reports for statistical reporting purposes, to assess 
handlers, and for program compliance. However, they too have found the 
information in the daily shipment reports to be more useful, and of 
more interest to the industry. Further, the Committee staff has not 
been using the weekly reports to support program operations or for 
compliance purposes for some time. The information needed for Committee 
operations, marketing policies, and compliance is available from the 
daily inspection information provided by FSIS and from other sources.
    In addition, damages sustained from hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 
resulted in a substantial reduction in assessment income. This rule 
reduces the amount of time required by the Committee staff to monitor 
handler reports. Thus, this rule offers the potential for cost savings.
    This rule continues in effect the action that indefinitely 
suspended the provisions requiring the submission of the weekly handler 
report. The information collected under this requirement is no longer 
being utilized and is not necessary for the operations of the order. 
This action reduces the reporting burden on handlers and lessens the 
reporting oversight demands on the Committee staff. Therefore, the 
Committee voted unanimously to suspend Sec.  915.150 paragraphs (a), 
(b), and (c).
    Section 8e of the Act provides that when certain domestically 
produced commodities, including avocados, are regulated under a Federal 
marketing order, imports of that commodity must meet the same or 
comparable grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements. As this 
rule changes the reporting requirements under the domestic handling 
regulations, no corresponding changes to the import regulations are 
required.

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 approximately 300 producers of avocados in the production 
area and approximately 35 handlers subject to regulation under the 
order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less than 
$750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as those 
whose annual receipts are less than $6,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service and 
Committee data, the average price for Florida avocados during the 2005-
06 season was around $46.75 per 55-pound bushel container, and total 
shipments were near 470,000 55-pound bushel equivalents. Using the 
average price and shipment information provided by the Committee, the 
majority of avocado handlers could be considered small businesses under 
the SBA definition. In addition, based on avocado production, grower 
prices, and the total number of Florida avocado growers, the average 
annual grower revenue is less than $750,000. Thus, the majority of 
Florida avocado producers may also be classified as small entities.
    This rule changes the reporting requirements currently prescribed 
under the order. This rule continues in effect the action that 
indefinitely suspended the weekly handler reporting requirements 
required under the order. The information from the weekly report is no 
longer being used by the industry or the Committee staff and the 
germane information is available from other sources. This action 
reduces the reporting burden on handlers, while aligning information 
collection requirements with the needs of the industry. This rule 
revises Sec.  915.150, which specifies the requisite reporting 
requirements. Authority for this action is provided for in Sec.  915.60 
of the order. The Committee unanimously recommended this change at a 
meeting held on April 19, 2006.
    This rule is not expected to result in any additional costs for 
handlers. This rule continues in effect the action that reduced the 
reporting burden on handlers by indefinitely suspending the provisions 
requiring the submission of a weekly report. It also reduces the amount 
of time required by the Committee staff to monitor and review handler 
reports. Thus, this rule offers the potential for cost savings. The 
potential reduction in costs would benefit all handlers regardless of 
their size. Consequently, the benefits of this rule are expected to be 
equally available to all.
    The Committee discussed keeping the weekly reporting requirements 
in place as an alternative to this action. However, the Committee 
believes continuing to collect information that is no longer being 
utilized by the industry or the Committee staff is unnecessary. 
Therefore, this alternative was rejected.
    This rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large avocado handlers. The form, FV-
215, ``Avocado Handler's Weekly Report Form'' is currently approved 
under OMB No. 0581-0189, Generic OMB Fruit Crops. The information 
collection for OMB No. 1581-0189 will be coming up for renewal, at 
which time the reduction in burden for this form will be addressed. The 
suspension of the reporting requirement reduces the overall burden for 
that collection by 54 hours. 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. In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal 
rules that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule.
    The AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to 
promote the use of the Internet and other

[[Page 16263]]

information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen 
access to Government information and services, and for other purposes.
    Further, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized throughout 
the avocado industry and all interested persons were invited to attend 
the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all 
Committee meetings, the April 19, 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 22, 2006. Copies of the rule were mailed 
by the Committee's staff to all Committee members and avocado 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 20, 2007. 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 material presented, including 
the Committee's recommendation, and other information, it is found that 
finalizing the interim final rule, without change, as published in the 
Federal Register (71 FR 76897, December 22, 2006) will tend to 
effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 915

    Avocados, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

PART 915--AVOCADOS GROWN IN SOUTH FLORIDA

0
Accordingly, the interim final rule amending 7 CFR part 915 which was 
published at 71 FR 76897 on December 22, 2006, is adopted as a final 
rule without change.

    Dated: March 29, 2007.
Lloyd C. Day,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. E7-6243 Filed 4-3-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P