Vidalia Onions Grown in Georgia; Increased Assessment Rate, 31605-31607 [E8-12318]

Download as PDF 31605 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 73, No. 107 Tuesday, June 3, 2008 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 955 [Docket No. AMS–FV–07–0159; FV08–955– 1 FR] Vidalia Onions Grown in Georgia; Increased Assessment Rate Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. ebenthall on PRODPC60 with RULES AGENCY: SUMMARY: This rule increases the assessment rate established for the Vidalia Onion Committee (Committee) for the 2008 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.10 to $0.13 per 40pound container of Vidalia onions handled. The Committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of Vidalia onions grown in Georgia. Assessments upon Vidalia onion handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period begins January 1 and ends December 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. DATES: Effective Date: June 4, 2008. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doris Jamieson, Marketing Specialist, or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Manager, Southeast Marketing Field Office, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324–3375, Fax: (863) 325–8793, or E-mail: Doris.Jamieson@usda.gov, or Christian.Nissen@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– VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:50 Jun 02, 2008 Jkt 214001 2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938, or E-mail: Jay.Guerber@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing Agreement and Order No. 955, both as amended (7 CFR part 955), regulating the handling of Vidalia onions grown in Georgia, 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. Under the marketing order now in effect, Vidalia onion handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate as issued herein will be applicable to all assessable Vidalia onions beginning on January 1, 2008, and continue until amended, suspended, or terminated. 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 rule increases the assessment rate established for the Committee for the 2008 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.10 to $0.13 per 40-pound container of Vidalia onions. The Vidalia onion marketing order provides authority for the Committee, PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the program. The members of the Committee are producers and handlers of Vidalia onions. They are familiar with the Committee’s needs and with the costs for goods and services in their local area and are thus in a position to formulate an appropriate budget and assessment rate. The assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a public meeting. Thus, all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate and provide input. For the 2005 and subsequent fiscal periods, the Committee recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue in effect from fiscal period to fiscal period unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other information available to USDA. The Committee met on December 13, 2007, and unanimously recommended 2008 expenditures of $712,000 and an assessment rate of $0.13 per 40-pound container of Vidalia onions. In comparison, last year’s budgeted expenditures were $835,200. The assessment rate of $0.13 is $0.03 higher than the rate currently in effect. Over the past few years, the Committee has been using funds from reserves rather than increasing assessments to cover their expanded marketing program. This has reduced the reserve fund. The increase in the assessment rate allows the Committee to fund its recommended level of promotion, while reducing the amount drawn from its authorized reserve fund. The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2008 fiscal year include $410,000 for marketing, $86,350 for salaries, $42,800 for compliance, and $37,200 for research. Budgeted expenses for these items in 2007 were $505,000, $82,000, $20,000, and $65,500, respectively. The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by considering available reserves, and dividing anticipated expenses by expected shipments of Vidalia onions. Vidalia onion shipments for the year are estimated at 4,300,000 40-pound containers, which should provide $559,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler assessments, along E:\FR\FM\03JNR1.SGM 03JNR1 31606 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 107 / Tuesday, June 3, 2008 / Rules and Regulations ebenthall on PRODPC60 with RULES with interest income and funds from the Committee’s authorized reserve, should be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. Funds in the reserve (currently $204,000) will be kept within the maximum permitted by the order (according to § 955.44, approximately three fiscal periods’ expenses). The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other available information. Although this assessment rate will be in effect for an indefinite period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each fiscal period to recommend a budget of expenses and consider recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and times of Committee meetings are available from the Committee or USDA. Committee meetings are open to the public and interested persons may express their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate Committee recommendations and other available information to determine whether modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking will be undertaken as necessary. The Committee’s 2008 budget and those for subsequent fiscal periods will be reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by USDA. 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 rule 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. There are approximately 86 producers of Vidalia onions in the production area and approximately 65 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms, which include handlers, are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $6,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201). VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:50 Jun 02, 2008 Jkt 214001 Based on the Georgia Agricultural Statistical Service and Committee data, the average annual grower price for fresh Vidalia onions during the 2007 season was around $15 per 40-pound container. Total Vidalia onion shipments for the 2007 season were around 4,868,000 40-pound containers. Using available data, more than 90 percent of Vidalia onion handlers could be considered small businesses under the SBA definition. In addition, based on information from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Committee data, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the majority of producers could be considered small entities. Thus, the majority of handlers and producers of Vidalia onions may be classified as small entitles. This rule increases the assessment rate established for the Committee and collected from handlers for the 2008 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.10 to $0.13 per 40-pound container of Vidalia onions. The Committee unanimously recommended 2008 expenditures of $712,000 and an assessment rate of $0.13 per 40-pound container. The assessment rate of $0.13 is $0.03 higher than the 2007 rate. The quantity of assessable Vidalia onions for the 2008 fiscal year is estimated at 4,300,000. Thus, the $0.13 rate should provide $559,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler assessments, along with interest income and funds from the Committee’s authorized reserve, should be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2008 fiscal year include $410,000 for marketing, $86,350 for salaries, $42,800 for compliance, and $37,200 for research. Budgeted expenses for these items in 2007 were $505,000, $82,000, $20,000, and $65,500, respectively. Over the past few years, the Committee has been using funds from reserves rather than increasing assessments to cover their expanded marketing program. This has reduced the reserve fund. The increase in the assessment rate allows the Committee to fund its recommended level of promotion, while reducing the amount drawn from its authorized reserve fund. Funds in the reserve (currently $204,000) will be kept within the maximum permitted by the order. The Committee reviewed and unanimously recommended 2008 expenditures of $712,000 which included increases in administrative expenses, and compliance programs. Prior to arriving at this budget, the Committee considered information from various sources, including the Executive Committee and the Research PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Subcommittee. Alternative expenditure levels were discussed by the Committee based upon the relative value of various research and promotion projects to the Vidalia onion industry. The Committee also discussed keeping the current $0.10 per 40-pound bag or equivalent assessment rate. However, keeping the assessment rate at $0.10 per 40-pound bag would not allow the Committee to fund many of the proposed promotional projects. The assessment rate of $0.13 per 40-pound container of assessable Vidalia onions was then determined by considering available reserves, and dividing the total recommended budget by the quantity of assessable Vidalia onions, estimated at 4,300,000 40-pound containers for the 2008 fiscal year. This is approximately $138,000 below the anticipated expenses, which the Committee determined to be acceptable. A review of historical information and preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming fiscal period indicates that the grower price for the 2008 season could range between $10.00 and $34.00 per 40-pound container of Vidalia onions. Therefore, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2008 fiscal period as a percentage of total grower revenue could range between .4 and 1 percent. This action increases the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. While assessments impose some additional costs on handlers, the costs are minimal and uniform on all handlers. Some of the additional costs may be passed on to producers. However, these costs are offset by the benefits derived by the operation of the marketing order. In addition, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the Vidalia onion industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the December 13, 2007, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. This rule imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large Vidalia onion 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. 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. E:\FR\FM\03JNR1.SGM 03JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 107 / Tuesday, June 3, 2008 / Rules and Regulations As noted in the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this final rule. A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on March 18, 2008 (73 FR 14400). Copies of the proposed rule were also mailed or sent via facsimile to all Vidalia onion handlers. Finally, the proposal was made available through the Internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 30-day comment period ending April 17, 2008, was provided for interested persons to respond to the proposal. No comments were received. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/ fv/moab.html. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Jay Guerber at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it also found and determined that good cause exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register because handlers are already receiving 2008 crop Vidalia onions from growers. In addition, the fiscal year began on January 1, 2008, and the marketing order requires that the rate of assessment for each fiscal period apply to all assessable Vidalia onions handled during such fiscal period. The Committee also needs to have sufficient funds to pay its expenses which are incurred on a continuous basis. Further, handlers are aware of this rule which was recommended at a public meeting. Also, a 30-day comment period was provided for in the proposed rule. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 955 ebenthall on PRODPC60 with RULES Onions, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. I For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 955 is amended as follows: PART 955—VIDALIA ONIONS GROWN IN GEORGIA 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 955 continues to read as follows: I VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:50 Jun 02, 2008 Jkt 214001 Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Section 955.209 is revised to read as follows: I § 955.209 Assessment rate. On and after January 1, 2008, an assessment rate of $0.13 per 40-pound carton or equivalent is established for Vidalia onions. Dated: May 29, 2008. Lloyd C. Day, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. E8–12318 Filed 6–2–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Part 50 [NRC–2001–0010] RIN 3150–AG24 Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants; Correction Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Final rule: correcting amendment. AGENCY: SUMMARY: On August 28, 2007 (72 FR 49352), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published a final rule revising the provisions applicable to the licensing and approval processes for nuclear power plants (i.e., early site permit, standard design approval, standard design certification, combined license, and manufacturing license). These amendments clarify the applicability of various requirements to each of the licensing processes by making necessary conforming amendments throughout the NRC’s regulations to enhance the NRC’s regulatory effectiveness and efficiency in implementing its licensing and approval processes. This document is necessary to include a paragraph that was inadvertently omitted in that final rule. DATES: The correction is effective June 3, 2008, and is applicable to September 27, 2007. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael T. Lesar, Chief, Rulemaking, Directives, and Editing Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of Administrative Services, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, telephone 301–415– 7163, e-mail Michael.Lesar@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This document corrects an inadvertent PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 31607 omission in the Code of Federal Regulations by adding 10 CFR 50.55a(f)(3)(iv)(B). I For the reasons set out in the preamble and under the authority of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended; the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, as amended; and 5 U.S.C. 552 and 553, the NRC is adopting the following amendment to 10 CFR part 50. PART 50—DOMESTIC LICENSING OF PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION FACILITIES 1. The authority citation for part 50 continues to read as follows: I Authority: Secs. 102, 103, 104, 105, 161, 182, 183, 186, 189, 68 Stat. 936, 937, 938, 948, 953, 954, 955, 956, as amended, sec. 234, 83 Stat. 444, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2132, 2133, 2134, 2135, 2201, 2232, 2233, 2236, 2239, 2282); secs. 201, as amended, 202, 206, 88 Stat. 1242, as amended, 1244, 1246 (42 U.S.C. 5841, 5842, 5846); sec. 1704, 112 Stat. 2750 (44 U.S.C. 3504 note); sec. 651(e), Pub. L. 109–58, 119 Stat. 806–810 (42 U.S.C. 2014, 2021, 2021b, 2111). Section 50.7 also issued under Pub. L. 95– 601, sec. 10, 92 Stat. 2951 as amended by Pub. L. 102–486, sec. 2902, 106 Stat. 3123 (42 U.S.C. 5841). Section 50.10 also issued under secs. 101, 185, 68 Stat. 955, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2131, 2235); sec. 102, Pub. L. 91–190, 83 Stat. 853 (42 U.S.C. 4332). Sections 50.13, 50.54(dd), and 50.103 also issued under sec. 108, 68 Stat. 939, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2138). Sections 50.23, 50.35, 50.55, and 50.56 also issued under sec. 185, 68 Stat. 955 (42 U.S.C. 2235). Sections 50.33a, 50.55a and appendix Q also issued under sec. 102, Pub. L. 91–190, 83 Stat. 853 (42 U.S.C. 4332). Sections 50.34 and 50.54 also issued under sec. 204, 88 Stat. 1245 (42 U.S.C. 5844). Sections 50.58, 50.91, and 50.92 also issued under Pub. L. 97–415, 96 Stat. 2073 (42 U.S.C. 2239). Section 50.78 also issued under sec. 122, 68 Stat. 939 (42 U.S.C. 2152). Sections 50.80–50.81 also issued under sec. 184, 68 Stat. 954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2234). Appendix F also issued under sec. 187, 68 Stat. 955 (42 U.S.C. 2237). 2. In § 50.55a, paragraph (f)(3)(iv)(B) is added to read as follows: I § 50.55a Codes and standards. * * * * * (f) * * * (3) * * * (iv) * * * (B) Pumps and valves, in facilities whose construction permit under this part or design certification or combined license under part 52 of this chapter is issued on or after November 22, 1999, which are classified as ASME Code Class 2 and 3 must be designed and be provided with access to enable the performance of inservice testing of the pumps and valves for assessing operational readiness set forth in E:\FR\FM\03JNR1.SGM 03JNR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 107 (Tuesday, June 3, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 31605-31607]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-12318]



========================================================================
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. 73, No. 107 / Tuesday, June 3, 2008 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 31605]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 955

[Docket No. AMS-FV-07-0159; FV08-955-1 FR]


Vidalia Onions Grown in Georgia; Increased Assessment Rate

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This rule increases the assessment rate established for the 
Vidalia Onion Committee (Committee) for the 2008 and subsequent fiscal 
periods from $0.10 to $0.13 per 40-pound container of Vidalia onions 
handled. The Committee locally administers the marketing order which 
regulates the handling of Vidalia onions grown in Georgia. Assessments 
upon Vidalia onion handlers are used by the Committee to fund 
reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period 
begins January 1 and ends December 31. The assessment rate will remain 
in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

DATES: Effective Date: June 4, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doris Jamieson, Marketing Specialist, 
or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Manager, Southeast Marketing Field 
Office, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324-
3375, Fax: (863) 325-8793, or E-mail: Doris.Jamieson@usda.gov, or 
Christian.Nissen@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 rule is issued under Marketing 
Agreement and Order No. 955, both as amended (7 CFR part 955), 
regulating the handling of Vidalia onions grown in Georgia, 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. Under the marketing order now in effect, Vidalia onion 
handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the order are 
derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate 
as issued herein will be applicable to all assessable Vidalia onions 
beginning on January 1, 2008, and continue until amended, suspended, or 
terminated. 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 rule increases the assessment rate established for the 
Committee for the 2008 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.10 to 
$0.13 per 40-pound container of Vidalia onions.
    The Vidalia onion marketing order provides authority for the 
Committee, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of 
expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the 
program. The members of the Committee are producers and handlers of 
Vidalia onions. They are familiar with the Committee's needs and with 
the costs for goods and services in their local area and are thus in a 
position to formulate an appropriate budget and assessment rate. The 
assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a public meeting. Thus, 
all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate and 
provide input.
    For the 2005 and subsequent fiscal periods, the Committee 
recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue 
in effect from fiscal period to fiscal period unless modified, 
suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information 
submitted by the Committee or other information available to USDA.
    The Committee met on December 13, 2007, and unanimously recommended 
2008 expenditures of $712,000 and an assessment rate of $0.13 per 40-
pound container of Vidalia onions. In comparison, last year's budgeted 
expenditures were $835,200. The assessment rate of $0.13 is $0.03 
higher than the rate currently in effect.
    Over the past few years, the Committee has been using funds from 
reserves rather than increasing assessments to cover their expanded 
marketing program. This has reduced the reserve fund. The increase in 
the assessment rate allows the Committee to fund its recommended level 
of promotion, while reducing the amount drawn from its authorized 
reserve fund.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2008 
fiscal year include $410,000 for marketing, $86,350 for salaries, 
$42,800 for compliance, and $37,200 for research. Budgeted expenses for 
these items in 2007 were $505,000, $82,000, $20,000, and $65,500, 
respectively.
    The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by 
considering available reserves, and dividing anticipated expenses by 
expected shipments of Vidalia onions. Vidalia onion shipments for the 
year are estimated at 4,300,000 40-pound containers, which should 
provide $559,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler 
assessments, along

[[Page 31606]]

with interest income and funds from the Committee's authorized reserve, 
should be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. Funds in the reserve 
(currently $204,000) will be kept within the maximum permitted by the 
order (according to Sec.  955.44, approximately three fiscal periods' 
expenses).
    The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in 
effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA 
upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other 
available information.
    Although this assessment rate will be in effect for an indefinite 
period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each 
fiscal period to recommend a budget of expenses and consider 
recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and 
times of Committee meetings are available from the Committee or USDA. 
Committee meetings are open to the public and interested persons may 
express their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate Committee 
recommendations and other available information to determine whether 
modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking will 
be undertaken as necessary. The Committee's 2008 budget and those for 
subsequent fiscal periods will be reviewed and, as appropriate, 
approved by USDA.

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 rule 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.
    There are approximately 86 producers of Vidalia onions in the 
production area and approximately 65 handlers subject to regulation 
under the marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by 
the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts 
less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms, which include 
handlers, are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than 
$6,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    Based on the Georgia Agricultural Statistical Service and Committee 
data, the average annual grower price for fresh Vidalia onions during 
the 2007 season was around $15 per 40-pound container. Total Vidalia 
onion shipments for the 2007 season were around 4,868,000 40-pound 
containers. Using available data, more than 90 percent of Vidalia onion 
handlers could be considered small businesses under the SBA definition. 
In addition, based on information from the Georgia Department of 
Agriculture, Committee data, and the National Agricultural Statistics 
Service, the majority of producers could be considered small entities. 
Thus, the majority of handlers and producers of Vidalia onions may be 
classified as small entitles.
    This rule increases the assessment rate established for the 
Committee and collected from handlers for the 2008 and subsequent 
fiscal periods from $0.10 to $0.13 per 40-pound container of Vidalia 
onions. The Committee unanimously recommended 2008 expenditures of 
$712,000 and an assessment rate of $0.13 per 40-pound container. The 
assessment rate of $0.13 is $0.03 higher than the 2007 rate. The 
quantity of assessable Vidalia onions for the 2008 fiscal year is 
estimated at 4,300,000. Thus, the $0.13 rate should provide $559,000 in 
assessment income. Income derived from handler assessments, along with 
interest income and funds from the Committee's authorized reserve, 
should be adequate to cover budgeted expenses.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2008 
fiscal year include $410,000 for marketing, $86,350 for salaries, 
$42,800 for compliance, and $37,200 for research. Budgeted expenses for 
these items in 2007 were $505,000, $82,000, $20,000, and $65,500, 
respectively.
    Over the past few years, the Committee has been using funds from 
reserves rather than increasing assessments to cover their expanded 
marketing program. This has reduced the reserve fund. The increase in 
the assessment rate allows the Committee to fund its recommended level 
of promotion, while reducing the amount drawn from its authorized 
reserve fund. Funds in the reserve (currently $204,000) will be kept 
within the maximum permitted by the order.
    The Committee reviewed and unanimously recommended 2008 
expenditures of $712,000 which included increases in administrative 
expenses, and compliance programs. Prior to arriving at this budget, 
the Committee considered information from various sources, including 
the Executive Committee and the Research Subcommittee. Alternative 
expenditure levels were discussed by the Committee based upon the 
relative value of various research and promotion projects to the 
Vidalia onion industry. The Committee also discussed keeping the 
current $0.10 per 40-pound bag or equivalent assessment rate. However, 
keeping the assessment rate at $0.10 per 40-pound bag would not allow 
the Committee to fund many of the proposed promotional projects. The 
assessment rate of $0.13 per 40-pound container of assessable Vidalia 
onions was then determined by considering available reserves, and 
dividing the total recommended budget by the quantity of assessable 
Vidalia onions, estimated at 4,300,000 40-pound containers for the 2008 
fiscal year. This is approximately $138,000 below the anticipated 
expenses, which the Committee determined to be acceptable.
    A review of historical information and preliminary information 
pertaining to the upcoming fiscal period indicates that the grower 
price for the 2008 season could range between $10.00 and $34.00 per 40-
pound container of Vidalia onions. Therefore, the estimated assessment 
revenue for the 2008 fiscal period as a percentage of total grower 
revenue could range between .4 and 1 percent.
    This action increases the assessment obligation imposed on 
handlers. While assessments impose some additional costs on handlers, 
the costs are minimal and uniform on all handlers. Some of the 
additional costs may be passed on to producers. However, these costs 
are offset by the benefits derived by the operation of the marketing 
order. In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized 
throughout the Vidalia onion industry and all interested persons were 
invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee 
deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the December 
13, 2007, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and 
small, were able to express views on this issue.
    This rule imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large Vidalia onion 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.
    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.

[[Page 31607]]

    As noted in the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has 
not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or 
conflict with this final rule.
    A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal 
Register on March 18, 2008 (73 FR 14400). Copies of the proposed rule 
were also mailed or sent via facsimile to all Vidalia onion handlers. 
Finally, the proposal was made available through the Internet by USDA 
and the Office of the Federal Register. A 30-day comment period ending 
April 17, 2008, was provided for interested persons to respond to the 
proposal. No comments were received.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http:/
/www.ams.usda.gov/fv/moab.html. Any questions about the compliance 
guide should be sent to Jay Guerber at the previously mentioned address 
in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.
    After consideration of all relevant material presented, including 
the information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other 
available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as 
hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of 
the Act.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it also found and determined that good 
cause exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 
30 days after publication in the Federal Register because handlers are 
already receiving 2008 crop Vidalia onions from growers. In addition, 
the fiscal year began on January 1, 2008, and the marketing order 
requires that the rate of assessment for each fiscal period apply to 
all assessable Vidalia onions handled during such fiscal period. The 
Committee also needs to have sufficient funds to pay its expenses which 
are incurred on a continuous basis. Further, handlers are aware of this 
rule which was recommended at a public meeting. Also, a 30-day comment 
period was provided for in the proposed rule.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 955

    Onions, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

0
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 955 is amended as 
follows:

PART 955--VIDALIA ONIONS GROWN IN GEORGIA

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 955 continues to read as 
follows:

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


0
2. Section 955.209 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  955.209  Assessment rate.

    On and after January 1, 2008, an assessment rate of $0.13 per 40-
pound carton or equivalent is established for Vidalia onions.

    Dated: May 29, 2008.
Lloyd C. Day,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
 [FR Doc. E8-12318 Filed 6-2-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P