Late Payment and Interest Charges on Past Due Assessments Under the Nectarine and Peach Marketing Orders, 25945-25947 [E7-8630]

Download as PDF 25945 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 72, No. 88 Tuesday, May 8, 2007 2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938, or E-mail: Jay.Guerber@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This final rule is issued under Marketing Order Nos. 916 and 917, both as amended (7 CFR parts 916 and 917), regulating the The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by handling of nectarines and peaches the Superintendent of Documents. Prices of grown in California, respectively, new books are listed in the first FEDERAL hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘orders.’’ REGISTER issue of each week. The orders are effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674), DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’ The Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA) is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 7 CFR Parts 916 and 917 12866. This final rule has been reviewed [Docket No. AMS–FV–07–0012; FV07–916/ under Executive Order 12988, Civil 917–3 FR] Justice Reform. This rule is not intended Late Payment and Interest Charges on to have retroactive effect. This final rule Past Due Assessments Under the will not preempt any State or local laws, Nectarine and Peach Marketing Orders regulations, or policies, unless they present an irreconcilable conflict with AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, this rule. USDA. The Act provides that administrative ACTION: Final rule. proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under SUMMARY: This rule revises requirements section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any concerning the collection of assessments handler subject to an order may file owed under the nectarine and peach with USDA a petition stating that the marketing orders. The marketing orders order, any provision of the order, or any regulate the handling of nectarines and obligation imposed in connection with peaches grown in California and are the order is not in accordance with law administered locally by the Nectarine and request a modification of the order Administrative Committee and the or to be exempted therefrom. Such Peach Commodity Committee handler is afforded the opportunity for (committees). This rule implements a hearing on the petition. After the authorities contained in the marketing hearing USDA would rule on the orders to allow the committees to apply petition. The Act provides that the late payment and interest charges on district court of the United States in any past due assessments owed the district in which the handler is an committees by handlers. inhabitant, or has his or her principal DATES: Effective Date: May 9, 2007. place of business, has jurisdiction to FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: review USDA’s ruling on the petition, Jennifer Garcia, Marketing Specialist, or provided an action is filed not later than Kurt J. Kimmel, Regional Manager, 20 days after the date of the entry of the California Marketing Field Office, ruling. Marketing Order Administration This final rule establishes regulations Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, that will allow the committees to apply AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487– late payment and interest charges on 5901, Fax: (559) 487–5906, or E-mail: past due assessments owed the Jennifer.Garcia3@usda.gov or committees by handlers. This rule was Kurt.Kimmel@usda.gov. unanimously recommended by the Small businesses may request committees at meetings on November information on complying with this 30, 2006. Sections 916.41 and 917.37 of the regulation by contacting Jay Guerber, orders provide authority for the Marketing Order Administration committees to assess handlers of Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, California nectarines and peaches, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence respectively, to fund authorized Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington, activities such as research and DC 20250–0237; Telephone: (202) 720– cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with RULES 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. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:51 May 07, 2007 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 promotion programs. Paragraph (b) of these sections was amended on July 21, 2006 (71 FR 41345), to authorize the committees, with the approval of the Secretary, to apply late payment charges, interest charges, or both on past due assessments. At meetings on November 30, 2006, the committees recommended establishing rules and regulations to implement these authorities regarding late payment and interest charges. Although the majority of handlers remit their assessments in a timely manner, there are some handlers who do not. Implementing late payment and interest charges provides an incentive for handlers to pay assessments in a timely manner and removes any financial advantage for those who do not pay on time. Specifically, the committees recommended that a late payment charge be applied to any assessment that has not been received in the committees’ office, or the envelope containing the payment legibly postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service, within 60 days of the invoice date shown on the handler’s assessment statement. The committees recommended a late payment charge of 10 percent of the unpaid balance. In addition, interest would be applied to the unpaid balance and late payment charge for the number of days the payment is delinquent beyond 60 days. The committees recommended that interest be applied at the current commercial prime rate charged by the committees’ bank plus 2 percent beginning on the day the assessment becomes delinquent. However, USDA determined that a set interest rate of 1.5 percent per month is typical of comparable marketing order programs, and the recommendation was revised. Accordingly, new §§ 916.141 and 917.137 specifying implementation of the 10 percent late charge and 1.5 percent per month interest rate will be added to the rules and regulations of the nectarine and peach orders, respectively. 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. E:\FR\FM\08MYR1.SGM 08MYR1 cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with RULES 25946 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 88 / Tuesday, May 8, 2007 / Rules and Regulations 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 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 175 California nectarine and peach handlers subject to regulation under the orders covering nectarines and peaches grown in California, and about 676 producers of these fruits in California. Small agricultural service firms, which include handlers, are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) (13 CFR 121.201) as those whose annual receipts are less than $6,500,000. Small agricultural producers are defined by the SBA as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000. A majority of these handlers and producers may be classified as small entities. The committees’ staff has estimated that there are fewer than 26 handlers in the industry who could be defined as other than small entities. For the 2006 season, the committees’ staff estimated that the average handler price received was $9.00 per container or container equivalent of nectarines or peaches. A handler would have to ship at least 722,223 containers to have annual receipts of $6,500,000. Given data on shipments maintained by the committees’ staff and the average handler price received during the 2006 season, the committees’ staff estimates that small handlers represent approximately 85 percent of all the handlers within the industry. The committees’ staff has also estimated that fewer than 68 producers in the industry could be defined as other than small entities. For the 2006 season, the committees’ staff estimated the average producer price received was $4.50 per container or container equivalent for nectarines and peaches. A producer would have to produce at least 166,667 containers of nectarines and peaches to have annual receipts of $750,000. Given data maintained by the committees’ staff and the average producer price received during the 2006 season, the committees’ staff estimates that small producers represent more than 90 percent of the producers within the industry. With an average producer price of $4.50 per container or container equivalent, and a combined packout of nectarines and peaches of 36,388,996 containers, the value of the 2006 VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:51 May 07, 2007 Jkt 211001 packout is estimated to be $163,750,482. Dividing this total estimated grower revenue figure by the estimated number of producers (676) yields an estimate of average revenue per producer of about $242,234 from the sales of peaches and nectarines. This rule adds new §§ 916.141 and 917.137 to the orders’ rules and regulations, whereby late payment and interest charges on delinquent assessment payments will be implemented under the orders. Specifically, handlers not remitting their assessment payments within 60 days of the invoice date will be subject to a 10 percent late payment penalty and interest charges accruing at a rate of 1.5 percent per month. The late payment and interest charges should serve as an incentive for handlers to remit assessment payments when due to avoid paying an increased amount to the committees. This action is expected to facilitate program operations. Authority for this action is provided in paragraph (b) of §§ 916.41 and 917.37 of the orders. This action will apply late payment and interest charges to assessments not paid within 60 days of the invoice date. Only handlers who are late in paying their assessments owed the committees will be impacted. For example, a delinquent invoice with late payment and interest charges applied will be calculated in the following manner: If a handler failed to pay an invoice for $5,000 within 60 days of the July 1, 2007, invoice date, a 10 percent late payment charge ($500) would be applied to the unpaid balance. In addition, interest charges at a rate of 1.5 percent per month would be added to the assessments owed and the accrued late payment charge. The 1.5 percent per month rate computes to an annual rate of 18 percent. This must be divided by 365 days to obtain the daily rate. This same July 1, 2007, invoice would be 62 days delinquent as of September 1, 2007, bringing the interest charges to $168.16 ($5,500 × .18 ÷ 365 × 62). Thus, the total assessment due, including late payment and interest charges, would be $5,668.16 as of September 1, 2007. The committees discussed alternatives to this change, including not implementing late payment and interest charges at all. While only a small number of handlers fail to make assessments payments when due, the committees believe that a lack of action only compounds the problem. The committees considered applying late payment and interest charges at a lower rate but believe that a higher rate would be more likely to encourage compliance with the orders’ assessment requirements. The joint executive PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 committee discussed the issue and recommended the 10 percent late payment and prime plus 2 percent interest charges that the committee members unanimously approved and recommended to USDA. However, as previously mentioned, USDA has determined that a set interest rate of 1.5 percent per month is typical of comparable marketing order programs, and the recommendation was revised. This rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large nectarine and peach 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 rule. Further, the subcommittee and committees’ meetings were widely publicized throughout the California nectarine and peach industries and all interested persons were invited to attend the meetings and participate in the committees’ deliberations on all issues. Like all committee meetings, the November 30, 2006, meetings were public meetings and all entities of all sizes were invited to express views on this issue. A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on March 29, 2007 (72 FR 14710). The committees posted the rule on their Web site. In addition, the rule was made available through the Internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 15-day comment period ending April 13, 2007, was provided to allow interested persons to respond to the proposal. One comment was received during the comment period in response to the proposal. The commenter, representing the NAC and PCC, supported implementing authorities to allow the committees to apply late payment and interest charges on past due assessments. Accordingly, no changes will be made to the rule as proposed, based on the comments received. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop E:\FR\FM\08MYR1.SGM 08MYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 88 / Tuesday, May 8, 2007 / Rules and Regulations 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 committees 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. It is further found that good cause exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register (5 U.S.C. 553) because the season began on April 1. Further, handlers are aware of this rule, which was recommended at public meetings. Also a 15-day comment period was provided for in the proposed rule. List of Subjects 7 CFR Part 916 Marketing agreements, Nectarines, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. 7 CFR Part 917 Marketing agreements, Peaches, Pears, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. I For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR parts 916 and 917 are amended as follows: I 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR parts 916 and 917 continues to read as follows: Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. PART 916—NECTARINES GROWN IN CALIFORNIA I 2. Add § 916.235 to read as follows: cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with RULES § 916.235 Service, within 60 days of the invoice date. The interest charge shall be 1.5 percent per month and shall be applied to the unpaid balance and late payment charge for the number of days all or any part of the assessment specified in the handler’s assessment statement is delinquent beyond the 60 day payment period. PART 917—PEACHES GROWN IN CALIFORNIA I 3. Add § 917.259 to read as follows: § 917.259 Delinquent assessments. (a) The Peach Commodity Committee shall impose a late payment charge on any assessment that has not been received in the Peach Commodity Committee’s office, or legibly postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service, within 60 days of the invoice date shown on the handler’s assessment statement. The late payment charge shall be 10 percent of the unpaid balance. (b) In addition to that specified in paragraph (a) of this section, the Peach Commodity Committee shall impose an interest charge on any assessment payment that has not been received in the Peach Commodity Committee’s office, or legibly postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service, within 60 days of the invoice date. The interest charge shall be 1.5 percent per month and shall be applied to the unpaid balance and late payment charge for the number of days all or any part of the assessment specified in the handler’s assessment statement is delinquent beyond the 60 day payment period. Dated: May 1, 2007. Lloyd C. Day, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. E7–8630 Filed 5–7–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P Delinquent assessments. (a) The Nectarine Administrative Committee shall impose a late payment charge on any assessment that has not been received in the Nectarine Administrative Committee’s office, or legibly postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service, within 60 days of the invoice date shown on the handler’s assessment statement. The late payment charge shall be 10 percent of the unpaid balance. (b) In addition to that specified in paragraph (a) of this section, the Nectarine Administrative Committee shall impose an interest charge on any assessment payment that has not been received in the committee’s office, or legibly postmarked by the U.S. Postal VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:51 May 07, 2007 Jkt 211001 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration 9 CFR Part 205 RIN 0580–AA93 Clear Title; Technical Changes Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, USDA. ACTION: Affirmation of interim rule as final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: We are adopting as a final rule, with change, an interim rule that amended Clear Title regulations to PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 25947 allow States to use an approved unique identifier as an alternative to a social security number or taxpayer identification number in their systems providing clear title information. The change to the interim rule meets the express statutory requirement that an approved unique identifier be numerically organized on master lists. We are making additional changes to the clear title regulations as required by the amendments made by the 2002 Farm Bill. The primary effect of these changes will be to protect the identity of the producers of farm products. Secondary effects of the technical changes will be to improve the operation of the program and provide the States with more flexibility. DATES: Effective May 8, 2007, we are confirming as final with change, the interim rule published on September 27, 2006 (71 FR 56338). That rule became effective on September 27, 2006. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary McBryde, GIPSA, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, Room 2430, Washington, DC 20250–3604; (202) 720– 5552. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background In an interim rule effective September 27, 2006, and published in the Federal Register on September 27, 2006 (71 FR 56338), we amended the regulations in ‘‘Subpart—Clear Title-Protection for Purchases of Farm Products’’ (9 CFR 205 205.1–205.210) for the privacy protection of certain sellers of farm products to allow States to use ‘‘other approved unique identifier’’ as an alternative to a social security number or taxpayer identification number in their systems providing clear title information. The amendment clarified that an ‘‘approved unique identifier’’ means ‘‘a number, combination of numbers and letters, or other identifier selected by the Secretary of State using a selection system or method approved by the Secretary of Agriculture.’’ We solicited comments concerning the interim rule. We received two comments as a result of publishing the interim final rule. The comments indicated that not only were Social Security Numbers unwarranted and unneeded, but also that unique identifiers were not needed. We consider the comments to be directed towards the current Act, not the regulations providing guidance on implementation of the amended Act. However, we are making one change to the interim rule to further clarify and better reflect the statutory text. The interim rule definition of ‘‘approved E:\FR\FM\08MYR1.SGM 08MYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 88 (Tuesday, May 8, 2007)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 25945-25947]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-8630]



========================================================================
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. 88 / Tuesday, May 8, 2007 / Rules and 
Regulations

[[Page 25945]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Parts 916 and 917

[Docket No. AMS-FV-07-0012; FV07-916/917-3 FR]


Late Payment and Interest Charges on Past Due Assessments Under 
the Nectarine and Peach Marketing Orders

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This rule revises requirements concerning the collection of 
assessments owed under the nectarine and peach marketing orders. The 
marketing orders regulate the handling of nectarines and peaches grown 
in California and are administered locally by the Nectarine 
Administrative Committee and the Peach Commodity Committee 
(committees). This rule implements authorities contained in the 
marketing orders to allow the committees to apply late payment and 
interest charges on past due assessments owed the committees by 
handlers.

DATES: Effective Date: May 9, 2007.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Garcia, Marketing Specialist, 
or Kurt J. Kimmel, Regional Manager, California Marketing Field Office, 
Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, 
AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 487-5906, or E-mail: 
Jennifer.Garcia3@usda.gov or Kurt.Kimmel@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 Nos. 916 and 917, both as amended (7 CFR parts 916 and 917), 
regulating the handling of nectarines and peaches grown in California, 
respectively, hereinafter referred to as the ``orders.'' The orders are 
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. This rule is not intended to have retroactive 
effect. This final 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. 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 final rule establishes regulations that will allow the 
committees to apply late payment and interest charges on past due 
assessments owed the committees by handlers. This rule was unanimously 
recommended by the committees at meetings on November 30, 2006.
    Sections 916.41 and 917.37 of the orders provide authority for the 
committees to assess handlers of California nectarines and peaches, 
respectively, to fund authorized activities such as research and 
promotion programs. Paragraph (b) of these sections was amended on July 
21, 2006 (71 FR 41345), to authorize the committees, with the approval 
of the Secretary, to apply late payment charges, interest charges, or 
both on past due assessments.
    At meetings on November 30, 2006, the committees recommended 
establishing rules and regulations to implement these authorities 
regarding late payment and interest charges. Although the majority of 
handlers remit their assessments in a timely manner, there are some 
handlers who do not. Implementing late payment and interest charges 
provides an incentive for handlers to pay assessments in a timely 
manner and removes any financial advantage for those who do not pay on 
time.
    Specifically, the committees recommended that a late payment charge 
be applied to any assessment that has not been received in the 
committees' office, or the envelope containing the payment legibly 
postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service, within 60 days of the invoice 
date shown on the handler's assessment statement. The committees 
recommended a late payment charge of 10 percent of the unpaid balance. 
In addition, interest would be applied to the unpaid balance and late 
payment charge for the number of days the payment is delinquent beyond 
60 days.
    The committees recommended that interest be applied at the current 
commercial prime rate charged by the committees' bank plus 2 percent 
beginning on the day the assessment becomes delinquent. However, USDA 
determined that a set interest rate of 1.5 percent per month is typical 
of comparable marketing order programs, and the recommendation was 
revised. Accordingly, new Sec. Sec.  916.141 and 917.137 specifying 
implementation of the 10 percent late charge and 1.5 percent per month 
interest rate will be added to the rules and regulations of the 
nectarine and peach orders, respectively.

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.

[[Page 25946]]

    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 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 175 California nectarine and peach handlers 
subject to regulation under the orders covering nectarines and peaches 
grown in California, and about 676 producers of these fruits in 
California. Small agricultural service firms, which include handlers, 
are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) (13 CFR 121.201) 
as those whose annual receipts are less than $6,500,000. Small 
agricultural producers are defined by the SBA as those having annual 
receipts of less than $750,000. A majority of these handlers and 
producers may be classified as small entities.
    The committees' staff has estimated that there are fewer than 26 
handlers in the industry who could be defined as other than small 
entities. For the 2006 season, the committees' staff estimated that the 
average handler price received was $9.00 per container or container 
equivalent of nectarines or peaches. A handler would have to ship at 
least 722,223 containers to have annual receipts of $6,500,000. Given 
data on shipments maintained by the committees' staff and the average 
handler price received during the 2006 season, the committees' staff 
estimates that small handlers represent approximately 85 percent of all 
the handlers within the industry.
    The committees' staff has also estimated that fewer than 68 
producers in the industry could be defined as other than small 
entities. For the 2006 season, the committees' staff estimated the 
average producer price received was $4.50 per container or container 
equivalent for nectarines and peaches. A producer would have to produce 
at least 166,667 containers of nectarines and peaches to have annual 
receipts of $750,000. Given data maintained by the committees' staff 
and the average producer price received during the 2006 season, the 
committees' staff estimates that small producers represent more than 90 
percent of the producers within the industry.
    With an average producer price of $4.50 per container or container 
equivalent, and a combined packout of nectarines and peaches of 
36,388,996 containers, the value of the 2006 packout is estimated to be 
$163,750,482. Dividing this total estimated grower revenue figure by 
the estimated number of producers (676) yields an estimate of average 
revenue per producer of about $242,234 from the sales of peaches and 
nectarines.
    This rule adds new Sec. Sec.  916.141 and 917.137 to the orders' 
rules and regulations, whereby late payment and interest charges on 
delinquent assessment payments will be implemented under the orders. 
Specifically, handlers not remitting their assessment payments within 
60 days of the invoice date will be subject to a 10 percent late 
payment penalty and interest charges accruing at a rate of 1.5 percent 
per month. The late payment and interest charges should serve as an 
incentive for handlers to remit assessment payments when due to avoid 
paying an increased amount to the committees. This action is expected 
to facilitate program operations. Authority for this action is provided 
in paragraph (b) of Sec. Sec.  916.41 and 917.37 of the orders.
    This action will apply late payment and interest charges to 
assessments not paid within 60 days of the invoice date. Only handlers 
who are late in paying their assessments owed the committees will be 
impacted. For example, a delinquent invoice with late payment and 
interest charges applied will be calculated in the following manner: If 
a handler failed to pay an invoice for $5,000 within 60 days of the 
July 1, 2007, invoice date, a 10 percent late payment charge ($500) 
would be applied to the unpaid balance. In addition, interest charges 
at a rate of 1.5 percent per month would be added to the assessments 
owed and the accrued late payment charge. The 1.5 percent per month 
rate computes to an annual rate of 18 percent. This must be divided by 
365 days to obtain the daily rate. This same July 1, 2007, invoice 
would be 62 days delinquent as of September 1, 2007, bringing the 
interest charges to $168.16 ($5,500 x .18 / 365 x 62). Thus, the total 
assessment due, including late payment and interest charges, would be 
$5,668.16 as of September 1, 2007.
    The committees discussed alternatives to this change, including not 
implementing late payment and interest charges at all. While only a 
small number of handlers fail to make assessments payments when due, 
the committees believe that a lack of action only compounds the 
problem. The committees considered applying late payment and interest 
charges at a lower rate but believe that a higher rate would be more 
likely to encourage compliance with the orders' assessment 
requirements. The joint executive committee discussed the issue and 
recommended the 10 percent late payment and prime plus 2 percent 
interest charges that the committee members unanimously approved and 
recommended to USDA.
    However, as previously mentioned, USDA has determined that a set 
interest rate of 1.5 percent per month is typical of comparable 
marketing order programs, and the recommendation was revised.
    This rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large nectarine and peach 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 rule.
    Further, the subcommittee and committees' meetings were widely 
publicized throughout the California nectarine and peach industries and 
all interested persons were invited to attend the meetings and 
participate in the committees' deliberations on all issues. Like all 
committee meetings, the November 30, 2006, meetings were public 
meetings and all entities of all sizes were invited to express views on 
this issue.
    A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal 
Register on March 29, 2007 (72 FR 14710). The committees posted the 
rule on their Web site. In addition, the rule was made available 
through the Internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 
15-day comment period ending April 13, 2007, was provided to allow 
interested persons to respond to the proposal.
    One comment was received during the comment period in response to 
the proposal. The commenter, representing the NAC and PCC, supported 
implementing authorities to allow the committees to apply late payment 
and interest charges on past due assessments.
    Accordingly, no changes will be made to the rule as proposed, based 
on the comments received.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop

[[Page 25947]]

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 committees 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.
    It is further found that good cause exists for not postponing the 
effective date of this rule until 30 days after publication in the 
Federal Register (5 U.S.C. 553) because the season began on April 1. 
Further, handlers are aware of this rule, which was recommended at 
public meetings. Also a 15-day comment period was provided for in the 
proposed rule.

List of Subjects

7 CFR Part 916

    Marketing agreements, Nectarines, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

7 CFR Part 917

    Marketing agreements, Peaches, Pears, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

0
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR parts 916 and 917 are 
amended as follows:
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1. The authority citation for 7 CFR parts 916 and 917 continues to read 
as follows:

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

PART 916--NECTARINES GROWN IN CALIFORNIA

0
2. Add Sec.  916.235 to read as follows:


Sec.  916.235  Delinquent assessments.

    (a) The Nectarine Administrative Committee shall impose a late 
payment charge on any assessment that has not been received in the 
Nectarine Administrative Committee's office, or legibly postmarked by 
the U.S. Postal Service, within 60 days of the invoice date shown on 
the handler's assessment statement. The late payment charge shall be 10 
percent of the unpaid balance.
    (b) In addition to that specified in paragraph (a) of this section, 
the Nectarine Administrative Committee shall impose an interest charge 
on any assessment payment that has not been received in the committee's 
office, or legibly postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service, within 60 
days of the invoice date. The interest charge shall be 1.5 percent per 
month and shall be applied to the unpaid balance and late payment 
charge for the number of days all or any part of the assessment 
specified in the handler's assessment statement is delinquent beyond 
the 60 day payment period.

PART 917--PEACHES GROWN IN CALIFORNIA

0
3. Add Sec.  917.259 to read as follows:


Sec.  917.259  Delinquent assessments.

    (a) The Peach Commodity Committee shall impose a late payment 
charge on any assessment that has not been received in the Peach 
Commodity Committee's office, or legibly postmarked by the U.S. Postal 
Service, within 60 days of the invoice date shown on the handler's 
assessment statement. The late payment charge shall be 10 percent of 
the unpaid balance.
    (b) In addition to that specified in paragraph (a) of this section, 
the Peach Commodity Committee shall impose an interest charge on any 
assessment payment that has not been received in the Peach Commodity 
Committee's office, or legibly postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service, 
within 60 days of the invoice date. The interest charge shall be 1.5 
percent per month and shall be applied to the unpaid balance and late 
payment charge for the number of days all or any part of the assessment 
specified in the handler's assessment statement is delinquent beyond 
the 60 day payment period.

    Dated: May 1, 2007.
Lloyd C. Day,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. E7-8630 Filed 5-7-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P