Almonds Grown in California; Change in Requirements for Interhandler Transfers of Almonds and Request for Approval of New Information Collection, 31759-31761 [07-2837]

Download as PDF 31759 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 72, No. 110 Friday, June 8, 2007 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 981 [Docket No. AMS–FV–07–0051; FV07–981– 2 PR] Almonds Grown in California; Change in Requirements for Interhandler Transfers of Almonds and Request for Approval of New Information Collection Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. pwalker on PROD1PC71 with PROPOSALS AGENCY: SUMMARY: This rule invites comments on revising the requirements for interhandler transfers of almonds under the administrative rules and regulations of the California almond marketing order (order). The order regulates the handling of almonds grown in California and is administered locally by the Almond Board of California (Board). This rule would require handlers who transfer almonds to other handlers to report to the Board whether or not the almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in Salmonella bacteria (Salmonella). This action would help the Board track treated and untreated almonds and facilitate administration of its mandatory Salmonella treatment program. This proposal also announces the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) intention to request approval of a new information collection issued under the order. DATES: Comments must be received by August 7, 2007. Pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act, comments on information collection burden that would result from this proposal must be received by August 7, 2007. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this proposal. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:15 Jun 07, 2007 Jkt 211001 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 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: Maureen T. Pello, Assistant Regional Manager, 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: Maureen.Pello@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 proposed rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 981, as amended (7 CFR part 981), regulating the handling of almonds grown in California, 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 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 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 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 proposed rule invites comments on revising the requirements for interhandler transfers of almonds under the administrative rules and regulations of the order. This rule would require handlers who transfer almonds to other handlers to report to the Board whether or not the almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in Salmonella. A mandatory treatment program to reduce the potential for Salmonella in almonds will take effect in September 2007. This action would enable the Board to track treated and untreated almonds and help facilitate administration of its mandatory treatment program. This action was unanimously recommended by the Board at a meeting on March 28, 2007. Section 981.55 of the order provides authority for handlers to, upon notice to and under supervision of the Board, transfer almonds to another handler. Marketing order obligations regarding volume regulation, when in effect, and assessments must be fully met and may be divided between the participating handlers. Section 981.455 requires handlers to report to the Board on ABC Form No. 7, ‘‘Interhandler Transfer of Almonds,’’ information regarding interhandler transfers. Paragraph (a) of that section currently requires the following information: (1) Date of transfer; (2) the names and plant locations of both the transferring and receiving handlers; (3) the variety of almonds transferred; (4) whether the almonds are shelled or unshelled; and (5) the name of the handler assuming reserve and assessment obligations on the almonds transferred. In August 2006, the Board recommended a mandatory treatment program to reduce the potential for Salmonella in almonds. USDA engaged in informal rulemaking to implement the program. A final rule was published E:\FR\FM\08JNP1.SGM 08JNP1 31760 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 110 / Friday, June 8, 2007 / Proposed Rules pwalker on PROD1PC71 with PROPOSALS on March 30, 2007 (61 FR 15021). Beginning in September 2007, handlers must subject their almonds to a process that achieves a 4-log reduction in Salmonella prior to shipment. The program exempts untreated almonds that are shipped to manufacturers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico who agree to treat the almonds and untreated almonds that are shipped outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. To help track treated and untreated almonds, the Board met in March 2007 and recommended revising the order’s administrative rules and regulations to require handlers to report to the Board whether or not almonds transferred to other handlers were treated under the mandatory treatment program. Handlers would also have to include an identification number for each lot transferred. This number could be a contract number or other unique handler number that could identify the lot. Under the mandatory Salmonella treatment program, handler records must provide the ability to differentiate treated from untreated almonds (§ 981.442(b)(5)). Requiring handlers to provide lot identification numbers on their interhandler transfer forms would complement this requirement. These changes to the interhandler transfer requirements would help facilitate administration of the mandatory Salmonella treatment program. Paragraph (a) in § 981.455 is proposed to be revised accordingly. Initial 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 rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial 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 6,000 producers of almonds in the production area and approximately 115 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:15 Jun 07, 2007 Jkt 211001 those whose annual receipts are less than $6,500,000. Data for the most recently completed crop year indicate that about 52 percent of the handlers shipped under $6,500,000 worth of almonds. Dividing the average almond crop value for 2003– 2005 reported by the National Agricultural Statistics Service ($2.043 billion) by the number of producers (6,000) yields an average annual producer revenue estimate of about $340,000. Based on the foregoing, about half of the handlers and a majority of almond producers may be classified as small entities. This rule would revise § 981.455(a) of the order’s administrative rules and regulations to require handlers who transfer almonds to other handlers to report to the Board whether or not the almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in Salmonella. A mandatory treatment program to reduce the potential for Salmonella in almonds will take effect in September 2007. This action would help the Board track treated and untreated almonds and help ensure the integrity of its mandatory program. Authority for this change is provided in §§ 981.55 of the order. Regarding the impact of this action on affected entities, it would merely require handlers who transfer almonds to other handlers to indicate on ABC Form No. 7, ‘‘Interhandler Transfer of Almonds,’’ whether or not the almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in Salmonella. Handlers would also be required to include a lot identification number for each lot transferred. Regarding alternatives to this action, the Board considered not requiring handlers to report whether their transferred almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in Salmonella. However, this would not allow the Board to track treated and untreated almonds. Thus, the Board unanimously recommended revising the requirements regarding interhandler transfers of almonds. This action would slightly modify the reporting requirements for all California almond handlers. All handlers must currently report their interhandler transfers to the Board on ABC Form No. 7, ‘‘Interhandler Transfer of Almonds.’’ This form is currently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB No. 0581–0178, Vegetable and Specialty Crops. This rule would require that two extra columns be added to this form. One column would allow handlers to indicate whether or not the transferred almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in Salmonella. The second column would provide for inclusion of a lot PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 identification number for tracking purposes. The revised form is being submitted to the OMB for approval under OMB No. 0581–NEW. Once approved, this information collection will be merged into OMB No. 0581– 0178. Specific burden information is detailed later in this document in the section titled Paperwork Reduction Act. USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by the industry and public sector agencies. Additionally, the meetings were widely publicized throughout the California almond industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meetings and participate in deliberations on all issues. The Board’s Food Quality and Safety Committee discussed this issue on January 30, 2007. The committee recommended the change to the Board on March 28, 2007. Both of these meetings were public meetings and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit information on the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small businesses. 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. A 60-day comment period is provided for interested persons to comment on this proposal. All written comments received will be considered before a final determination is made on this matter. Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the AMS announces its intention to request approval of a new information collection under the marketing order for California almonds. This new collection is a modification of currently approved ABC Form 7, ‘‘Interhandler Transfer of Almonds,’’ under OMB No. 0581–0178, Vegetable and Specialty Crops. Upon approval, this information collection will be merged into OMB No. 0581–0178. Title: Almonds Grown in California, Marketing Order No. 981. OMB No.: 0581–NEW. Expiration Date of Approval: 3 years from OMB date of approval. E:\FR\FM\08JNP1.SGM 08JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 110 / Friday, June 8, 2007 / Proposed Rules pwalker on PROD1PC71 with PROPOSALS Type of Request: New collection. Abstract: The information collection requirement in this request is essential to carry out the intent of the Act, to provide the respondents the type of service they request, and to administer the California almond marketing order program, which has been operating since 1950. The Board met on March 28, 2007, and unanimously recommended revising the requirements for interhandler transfers of almonds whereby handlers who transfer almonds to other handlers would have to report to the Board whether or not the almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in Salmonella. A mandatory treatment program to reduce the potential for Salmonella in almonds will take effect in September 2007. This action would enable the Board to track treated and untreated almonds and help facilitate administration of its mandatory treatment program. This document concerns the reporting requirements regarding this change. This information collection is only used by authorized representatives of USDA, including AMS, Fruit and Vegetable Programs regional and headquarters’ staff, and authorized employees and agents of the Board. Authorized Board employees, agents, and the industry are the primary users of the information and AMS is the secondary user. ABC Form No. 7 Interhandler Transfer of Almonds Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to be 0.5 hour per response. Respondents: Almond handlers. Estimated Number of Respondents: 50. Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 5. Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 125 per year. Comments: Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:15 Jun 07, 2007 Jkt 211001 Comments should reference OMB No. 0581–NEW and the California almond marketing order, and be sent to the USDA in care of the Docket Clerk at the address above. All comments received will be available for public inspection during regular business hours at the same address. All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record. 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. A 60-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to comment on this proposed information collection. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 981 Almonds, Marketing agreements, Nuts, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 981 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 981—ALMONDS GROWN IN CALIFORNIA 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 981 continues to read as follows: Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Section 981.455 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows: § 981.455 Interhandler transfers. (a) Transfers of almonds. Interhandler transfers of almonds pursuant to § 981.55 shall be reported to the Board on ABC Form 7. The report shall contain the following information: (1) Date of transfer; (2) The names, and plant locations of both the transferring and receiving handlers; (3) The variety of almonds transferred; (4) Whether the almonds are shelled or unshelled; (5) The name of the handler assuming reserve and assessment obligations on the almonds transferred; (6) Whether the almonds had been treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in Salmonella bacteria, pursuant to § 981.442(b); and (7) A unique handler identification number for each lot. * * * * * Dated: June 4, 2007. Lloyd C. Day, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 07–2837 Filed 6–5–07; 9:48 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 31761 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2007–28370; Directorate Identifier 2003–NM–239–AD] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Goodrich Evacuation Systems Approved Under Technical Standard Order (TSO), TSO– C69, TSO–C69a, TSO–C69b, and TSO– 69c, Installed on Various Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, and Airbus Transport Category Airplanes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Goodrich evacuation systems approved under TSO-C69, TSO-C69a, TSO-C69b, and TSO-69c, installed on certain Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, and Airbus transport category airplanes. For certain systems, this proposed AD would require replacing the evacuation systems shear-pin restraints with new ones. For certain other systems, this proposed AD would require an inspection for manufacturing lot numbers; and a general visual inspection of the shear-pin restraint for discrepancies, and corrective actions if necessary. This proposed AD is prompted by several reports of corroded shear-pin restraints that prevented Goodrich evacuation systems from deploying properly. We are proposing this AD to prevent failure of the evacuation system, which could impede an emergency evacuation and increase the chance of injury to passengers and flightcrew during the evacuation. DATES: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by July 23, 2007. ADDRESSES: Use one of the following addresses to submit comments on this proposed AD. • DOT Docket Web site: Go to https://dms.dot.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically. • Government-wide rulemaking Web site: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically. • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street SW., Nassif Building, Room PL–401, Washington, DC 20590. • By fax: (202) 493–2251. • Hand Delivery: Room PL–401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, E:\FR\FM\08JNP1.SGM 08JNP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 110 (Friday, June 8, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 31759-31761]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 07-2837]


========================================================================
Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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


Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 110 / Friday, June 8, 2007 / Proposed 
Rules

[[Page 31759]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 981

[Docket No. AMS-FV-07-0051; FV07-981-2 PR]


Almonds Grown in California; Change in Requirements for 
Interhandler Transfers of Almonds and Request for Approval of New 
Information Collection

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: This rule invites comments on revising the requirements for 
interhandler transfers of almonds under the administrative rules and 
regulations of the California almond marketing order (order). The order 
regulates the handling of almonds grown in California and is 
administered locally by the Almond Board of California (Board). This 
rule would require handlers who transfer almonds to other handlers to 
report to the Board whether or not the almonds were treated to achieve 
a 4-log reduction in Salmonella bacteria (Salmonella). This action 
would help the Board track treated and untreated almonds and facilitate 
administration of its mandatory Salmonella treatment program. This 
proposal also announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) 
intention to request approval of a new information collection issued 
under the order.

DATES: Comments must be received by August 7, 2007. Pursuant to the 
Paperwork Reduction Act, comments on information collection burden that 
would result from this proposal must be received by August 7, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments 
concerning this proposal. 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 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: Maureen T. Pello, Assistant Regional 
Manager, 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: Maureen.Pello@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 proposed rule is issued under Marketing 
Order No. 981, as amended (7 CFR part 981), regulating the handling of 
almonds grown in California, 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 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 proposed rule invites comments on revising the requirements 
for interhandler transfers of almonds under the administrative rules 
and regulations of the order. This rule would require handlers who 
transfer almonds to other handlers to report to the Board whether or 
not the almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in 
Salmonella. A mandatory treatment program to reduce the potential for 
Salmonella in almonds will take effect in September 2007. This action 
would enable the Board to track treated and untreated almonds and help 
facilitate administration of its mandatory treatment program. This 
action was unanimously recommended by the Board at a meeting on March 
28, 2007.
    Section 981.55 of the order provides authority for handlers to, 
upon notice to and under supervision of the Board, transfer almonds to 
another handler. Marketing order obligations regarding volume 
regulation, when in effect, and assessments must be fully met and may 
be divided between the participating handlers. Section 981.455 requires 
handlers to report to the Board on ABC Form No. 7, ``Interhandler 
Transfer of Almonds,'' information regarding interhandler transfers. 
Paragraph (a) of that section currently requires the following 
information: (1) Date of transfer; (2) the names and plant locations of 
both the transferring and receiving handlers; (3) the variety of 
almonds transferred; (4) whether the almonds are shelled or unshelled; 
and (5) the name of the handler assuming reserve and assessment 
obligations on the almonds transferred.
    In August 2006, the Board recommended a mandatory treatment program 
to reduce the potential for Salmonella in almonds. USDA engaged in 
informal rulemaking to implement the program. A final rule was 
published

[[Page 31760]]

on March 30, 2007 (61 FR 15021). Beginning in September 2007, handlers 
must subject their almonds to a process that achieves a 4-log reduction 
in Salmonella prior to shipment. The program exempts untreated almonds 
that are shipped to manufacturers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico who 
agree to treat the almonds and untreated almonds that are shipped 
outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
    To help track treated and untreated almonds, the Board met in March 
2007 and recommended revising the order's administrative rules and 
regulations to require handlers to report to the Board whether or not 
almonds transferred to other handlers were treated under the mandatory 
treatment program. Handlers would also have to include an 
identification number for each lot transferred. This number could be a 
contract number or other unique handler number that could identify the 
lot. Under the mandatory Salmonella treatment program, handler records 
must provide the ability to differentiate treated from untreated 
almonds (Sec.  981.442(b)(5)). Requiring handlers to provide lot 
identification numbers on their interhandler transfer forms would 
complement this requirement. These changes to the interhandler transfer 
requirements would help facilitate administration of the mandatory 
Salmonella treatment program. Paragraph (a) in Sec.  981.455 is 
proposed to be revised accordingly.

Initial 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 rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has 
prepared this initial 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 6,000 producers of almonds in the 
production area and approximately 115 handlers subject to regulation 
under the marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by 
the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 121.201) 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.
    Data for the most recently completed crop year indicate that about 
52 percent of the handlers shipped under $6,500,000 worth of almonds. 
Dividing the average almond crop value for 2003-2005 reported by the 
National Agricultural Statistics Service ($2.043 billion) by the number 
of producers (6,000) yields an average annual producer revenue estimate 
of about $340,000. Based on the foregoing, about half of the handlers 
and a majority of almond producers may be classified as small entities.
    This rule would revise Sec.  981.455(a) of the order's 
administrative rules and regulations to require handlers who transfer 
almonds to other handlers to report to the Board whether or not the 
almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in Salmonella. A 
mandatory treatment program to reduce the potential for Salmonella in 
almonds will take effect in September 2007. This action would help the 
Board track treated and untreated almonds and help ensure the integrity 
of its mandatory program. Authority for this change is provided in 
Sec. Sec.  981.55 of the order.
    Regarding the impact of this action on affected entities, it would 
merely require handlers who transfer almonds to other handlers to 
indicate on ABC Form No. 7, ``Interhandler Transfer of Almonds,'' 
whether or not the almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in 
Salmonella. Handlers would also be required to include a lot 
identification number for each lot transferred.
    Regarding alternatives to this action, the Board considered not 
requiring handlers to report whether their transferred almonds were 
treated to achieve a 4-log reduction in Salmonella. However, this would 
not allow the Board to track treated and untreated almonds. Thus, the 
Board unanimously recommended revising the requirements regarding 
interhandler transfers of almonds.
    This action would slightly modify the reporting requirements for 
all California almond handlers. All handlers must currently report 
their interhandler transfers to the Board on ABC Form No. 7, 
``Interhandler Transfer of Almonds.'' This form is currently approved 
by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB No. 0581-0178, 
Vegetable and Specialty Crops. This rule would require that two extra 
columns be added to this form. One column would allow handlers to 
indicate whether or not the transferred almonds were treated to achieve 
a 4-log reduction in Salmonella. The second column would provide for 
inclusion of a lot identification number for tracking purposes. The 
revised form is being submitted to the OMB for approval under OMB No. 
0581-NEW. Once approved, this information collection will be merged 
into OMB No. 0581-0178. Specific burden information is detailed later 
in this document in the section titled Paperwork Reduction Act.
    USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, 
overlap or conflict with this rule. As with all Federal marketing order 
programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce 
information requirements and duplication by the industry and public 
sector agencies.
    Additionally, the meetings were widely publicized throughout the 
California almond industry and all interested persons were invited to 
attend the meetings and participate in deliberations on all issues. The 
Board's Food Quality and Safety Committee discussed this issue on 
January 30, 2007. The committee recommended the change to the Board on 
March 28, 2007. Both of these meetings were public meetings and all 
entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this 
issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit information on 
the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small 
businesses.
    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.
    A 60-day comment period is provided for interested persons to 
comment on this proposal. All written comments received will be 
considered before a final determination is made on this matter.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the AMS announces its intention to request approval of a 
new information collection under the marketing order for California 
almonds. This new collection is a modification of currently approved 
ABC Form 7, ``Interhandler Transfer of Almonds,'' under OMB No. 0581-
0178, Vegetable and Specialty Crops. Upon approval, this information 
collection will be merged into OMB No. 0581-0178.
    Title: Almonds Grown in California, Marketing Order No. 981.
    OMB No.: 0581-NEW.
    Expiration Date of Approval: 3 years from OMB date of approval.

[[Page 31761]]

    Type of Request: New collection.
    Abstract: The information collection requirement in this request is 
essential to carry out the intent of the Act, to provide the 
respondents the type of service they request, and to administer the 
California almond marketing order program, which has been operating 
since 1950.
    The Board met on March 28, 2007, and unanimously recommended 
revising the requirements for interhandler transfers of almonds whereby 
handlers who transfer almonds to other handlers would have to report to 
the Board whether or not the almonds were treated to achieve a 4-log 
reduction in Salmonella. A mandatory treatment program to reduce the 
potential for Salmonella in almonds will take effect in September 2007. 
This action would enable the Board to track treated and untreated 
almonds and help facilitate administration of its mandatory treatment 
program. This document concerns the reporting requirements regarding 
this change.
    This information collection is only used by authorized 
representatives of USDA, including AMS, Fruit and Vegetable Programs 
regional and headquarters' staff, and authorized employees and agents 
of the Board. Authorized Board employees, agents, and the industry are 
the primary users of the information and AMS is the secondary user.

ABC Form No. 7 Interhandler Transfer of Almonds

    Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of 
information is estimated to be 0.5 hour per response.
    Respondents: Almond handlers.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 50.
    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 5.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 125 per year.
    Comments: Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed 
collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of 
the functions of the agency, including whether the information will 
have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of 
the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the 
validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance 
the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; 
and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology.
    Comments should reference OMB No. 0581-NEW and the California 
almond marketing order, and be sent to the USDA in care of the Docket 
Clerk at the address above. All comments received will be available for 
public inspection during regular business hours at the same address. 
All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the 
request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of 
public record.
    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.
    A 60-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to 
comment on this proposed information collection.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 981

    Almonds, Marketing agreements, Nuts, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 981 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 981--ALMONDS GROWN IN CALIFORNIA

    1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 981 continues to read as 
follows:

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

    2. Section 981.455 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  981.455  Interhandler transfers.

    (a) Transfers of almonds. Interhandler transfers of almonds 
pursuant to Sec.  981.55 shall be reported to the Board on ABC Form 7. 
The report shall contain the following information:
    (1) Date of transfer;
    (2) The names, and plant locations of both the transferring and 
receiving handlers;
    (3) The variety of almonds transferred;
    (4) Whether the almonds are shelled or unshelled;
    (5) The name of the handler assuming reserve and assessment 
obligations on the almonds transferred;
    (6) Whether the almonds had been treated to achieve a 4-log 
reduction in Salmonella bacteria, pursuant to Sec.  981.442(b); and
    (7) A unique handler identification number for each lot.
* * * * *

    Dated: June 4, 2007.
Lloyd C. Day,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 07-2837 Filed 6-5-07; 9:48 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P