Raisins Produced From Grapes Grown in California; Final Free and Reserve Percentages for 2009-10 Crop Natural (Sun-Dried) Seedless Raisins, 35959-35962 [2010-15298]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 121 / Thursday, June 24, 2010 / Rules and Regulations or manual issuances may exempt categories of employment from the prior approval requirement of this section based on a determination that employment within those categories of employment would generally be approved and is not likely to involve conduct prohibited by statute or Federal regulation, including 5 CFR part 2635. The DAEO or alternate DAEO may include in these instructions or issuances examples of outside employment that are permissible or impermissible consistent with this part and 5 CFR 2635. Note to § 9201.102(b): There is a special approval requirement set out in both 18 U.S.C. 203(d) and 205(e) respectively, for certain representational activities otherwise covered by the conflict of interest restrictions on compensation and activities of employees in claims against and other matters affecting the Government. Thus, an employee who wishes to act as agent or attorney for, or otherwise represent his parents, spouse, child, or any person for whom, or any estate for which, he is serving as guardian, executor, administrator, trustee, or other personal fiduciary in such matters must obtain the approval required by law of the Government official responsible for the employee’s appointment in addition to the regulatory approval required by this section. cprice-sewell on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with RULES employee, including the rendering of advice or consultation, which requires advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a course of specialized instruction and study in an institution of higher education, hospital or similar facility. Professional services means the provision of personal service by an employee, including the rendering of advice or consultation, which involves application of the skills of a profession as defined in 5 CFR 2636.305(b)(1) or involves a fiduciary relationship as defined in 5 CFR 2636.305(b)(2). Stuart W. Bowen, Jr., Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Approved: June 10, 2010. Robert I. Cusick, Director, Office of Government Ethics. (c) Procedure for requesting approval. (1) The approval required by paragraph (a) of this section shall be requested by e-mail or other form of written correspondence at least 30 calendar days in advance of engaging in outside employment as defined in paragraph (b) of this section. (2) The request for approval to engage in outside employment or certain other activities shall set forth, at a minimum: (i) The name of the employer or organization; (ii) The nature of the legal activity or other work to be performed; (iii) The title of the position; and (iv) The estimated duration of the outside employment. (3) Upon a significant change in the nature or scope of the outside employment or in the employee’s official position within the SIGIR, the employee must, within 7 calendar days of the change, submit a revised request for approval. (d) Standard for approval. Approval shall be granted only upon a determination that the outside employment is not expected to involve conduct prohibited by statute or Federal regulation, including 5 CFR part 2635. (e) DAEO’s and alternate DAEO’s responsibilities. The SIGIR DAEO or alternate DAEO may issue instructions or manual issuances governing the submission of requests for approval for outside employment. The instructions [Doc. No. AMS–FV–09–0075; FV10–989–1 FIR] VerDate Mar<15>2010 12:53 Jun 23, 2010 Jkt 220001 [FR Doc. 2010–15103 Filed 6–23–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3710–8N–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 989 Raisins Produced From Grapes Grown in California; Final Free and Reserve Percentages for 2009–10 Crop Natural (Sun-Dried) Seedless Raisins AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Affirmation of interim rule as final rule. SUMMARY: The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that established final volume regulation percentages of 85 percent free and 15 percent reserve for the 2009–10 crop of Natural (sun-dried) Seedless (NS) raisins covered under the Federal marketing order for California raisins (order). The percentages are intended to help stabilize raisin supplies and prices, and strengthen market conditions. DATES: Effective June 25, 2010. The volume regulation percentages apply to acquisitions of NS raisins from the 2009–10 crop until the reserve raisins from that crop are disposed of under the marketing order. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Terry Vawter, Senior Marketing Specialist, or Kurt J. Kimmel, Regional Manager, California Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 35959 AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487– 5901; Fax: (559) 487–5906; or E-mail: Terry.Vawter@ams.usda.gov or Kurt.Kimmel@ams.usda.gov. Small businesses may obtain information on complying with this and other marketing order regulations by viewing a guide at the following Web site: http://www.ams.usda.gov/ AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplate Data.do?template=TemplateN&page= MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide; or by contacting Antoinette Carter, 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: Antoinette.Carter@ams.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing Agreement and Order No. 989, both as amended (7 CFR part 989), regulating the handling of raisins produced from grapes 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. The handling of California raisins is regulated by 7 CFR part 989. The order authorizes the establishment of volume regulations, when warranted, for each crop. Volume regulations: (1) Help the industry address its marketing problems by keeping supplies in balance with demand; (2) strengthen market conditions; (3) fully supply both the domestic and export markets without overburdening them; and (4) provide for market expansion. Volume regulation is warranted for the 2009–10 crop of NS raisins because the crop estimate (supply) exceeded the trade demand (demand). In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on April 22, 2010, and effective on April 23, 2010 (75 FR 20897; Doc No. AMS– FV–09–0075, FV10–989–1 IFR), § 989.257 was amended by incorporating the 2009–10 crop year final free and reserve percentages. This rule continues in effect the rule that established a final free percentage of 85 percent, and a final reserve percentage of 15 percent, of NS raisins acquired by handlers during the crop year, which began August 1, 2009, and ends July 31, 2010. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601–612), the Agricultural E:\FR\FM\24JNR1.SGM 24JNR1 35960 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 121 / Thursday, June 24, 2010 / Rules and Regulations Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of business subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and 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 26 handlers of California raisins who are subject to regulation under the order and approximately 3,000 raisin producers in the regulated area. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,000,000, and small agricultural producers as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000. Approximately 18 handlers and a majority of producers of California raisins may be classified as small entities. Since 1949, the California raisin industry has operated under a Federal marketing order. The order contains authority to limit the portion of a given year’s crop that can be marketed freely in any outlet by raisin handlers. This volume regulation mechanism is used to stabilize supplies and prices, and to strengthen market conditions. If the primary market (the normal domestic market) is over-supplied with raisins, grower prices decline substantially. Pursuant to § 989.54(d) of the order, this rule establishes final volume regulation percentages for the 2009–10 crop year for NS raisins. The volume regulation percentages are 85 percent free and 15 percent reserve. Free tonnage raisins may be sold by handlers to any market. Reserve raisins must be held in a pool for the account of the committee and are disposed of through certain programs authorized under the order. Volume regulation is warranted this season because the crop estimate of 275,000 tons is significantly higher than the 234,769 ton trade demand. The volume regulation procedures have helped the industry address its marketing problems by keeping supplies in balance with domestic and export market needs, and strengthening market conditions. The volume regulation procedures fully supply the domestic and export markets, provide for market expansion, and help reduce the burden of oversupplies in the domestic market. Raisin grapes are a perennial crop, so production in any year is dependent upon plantings made in earlier years. The sun-drying method of producing raisins involves considerable risk because of variable weather patterns. Even though the product and the industry are viewed as mature, the industry has experienced considerable change over the last several decades. Before the 1975–76 crop year, more than 50 percent of the raisins were packed and sold directly to consumers. Now, about 63 percent of the raisins are sold in bulk. This means that raisins are now sold to consumers mostly as an ingredient in another product such as cereal and baked goods. In addition, for a few years in the early 1970s, over 50 percent of the raisin grapes were sold fresh to the wine market for crushing. Since then, the percent of raisin-variety grapes sold to the wine industry has decreased. California’s grapes are classified into three groups—table grapes, wine grapes, and raisin-variety grapes. Raisin-variety grapes are the most versatile of the three types. They can be marketed as fresh grapes, crushed for juice in the production of wine or juice concentrate, or dried into raisins. Annual fluctuations in the fresh grape, wine, and concentrate markets, as well as weather-related factors, cause fluctuations in raisin supply. This type of situation introduces a certain amount of variability into the raisin market. These fluctuations can result in producer price instability and disorderly market conditions. Volume regulation is helpful to the raisin industry because it lessens the impact of such fluctuations and contributes to orderly marketing. For example, producer prices for NS raisins remained fairly steady between the 1993–94 and 1997–98 crop years, although production varied. As shown in the table below, during those years, production varied from a low of 272,063 tons in 1996–97 to a high of 387,007 tons in 1993–94. According to committee data, the total producer return per ton during those years, which includes proceeds from both free tonnage plus reserve pool raisins, has varied from a low of $904.60 in 1993–94 to a high of $1,049.20 in 1996–97. Producer prices for the 1998– 99 and 1999–2000 crop years increased significantly due to back-to-back short crops during those years. Record large crops followed, and producer prices dropped dramatically for the 2000–01 through 2003–04 crop years, as inventories grew while demand stagnated. However, as noted below, producer prices were higher for the 2004–05 through 2008–09 crop years: NATURAL SEEDLESS (NATURAL CONDITION) DELIVERIES, FIELD PRICES AND PRODUCER PRICES cprice-sewell on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with RULES Crop year Field prices (per ton)1 Deliveries (tons) 2008–09 ........................................................................................................................... 2007–08 ........................................................................................................................... 2006–07 ........................................................................................................................... 2005–06 ........................................................................................................................... 2004–05 ........................................................................................................................... 2003–04 ........................................................................................................................... 2002–03 ........................................................................................................................... 2001–02 ........................................................................................................................... 2000–01 ........................................................................................................................... 1999–2000 ....................................................................................................................... 1998–99 ........................................................................................................................... 1997–98 ........................................................................................................................... 1996–97 ........................................................................................................................... 1995–96 ........................................................................................................................... 1994–95 ........................................................................................................................... 1993–94 ........................................................................................................................... 364,268 329,288 282,999 319,126 265,262 296,864 388,010 377,328 432,616 299,910 240,469 382,448 272,063 325,911 378,427 387,007 $1,310.00 1,210.00 1,210.00 1,210.00 1,210.00 810.00 745.00 880.00 877.50 1,425.00 1,290.00 1,250.00 1,220.00 1,160.00 1,160.00 1,155.00 Producer prices (per ton) 2 $1,139.70 2 1,028.50 1 1,089.00 1 998.25 3 1,210.00 567.00 491.20 650.94 603.36 1,211.25 3 1,290.00 946.52 1,049.20 1,007.19 928.27 904.60 1 Field prices for NS raisins are established by the Raisin Bargaining Association, and are also referred to in the industry as the ‘‘free tonnage price’’ for raisins. VerDate Mar<15>2010 12:53 Jun 23, 2010 Jkt 220001 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\24JNR1.SGM 24JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 121 / Thursday, June 24, 2010 / Rules and Regulations 35961 2 Return-to-date, cprice-sewell on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with RULES 3 No reserve pool still open. volume regulation. There are essentially two broad markets for raisins—domestic and export. Domestic shipments generally increased over the years. Although domestic shipments decreased from a high of 204,805 packed tons during the 1990–91 crop year to a low of 156,325 packed tons in 1999–2000, they increased from 174,117 packed tons during the 2000–01 crop year to 193,609 packed tons during the 2007–08 crop year and decreased to 191,929 packed tons during the 2008–09 crop year. Export shipments ranged from a high of 107,931 packed tons in the 1991–92 crop year to a low of 91,599 packed tons in the 1999–2000 crop year. Since that time, export shipments increased to 106,755 tons of raisins during the 2004– 05 crop year, fell to 101,684 tons in the 2006–07 crop year, and again increased to 142,541 tons in the 2007–08 crop year. This significant increase was due to a short crop in Turkey. Export shipments remained relatively high in 2008–09 at 125,789 tons. The per capita consumption of raisins has declined from 2.07 pounds in 1988 to 1.46 pounds in 2007. This decrease is consistent with the decrease in the per capita consumption of dried fruits in general, which may be due to the increasing year-round availability of most types of fresh fruit. While the overall demand for raisins has increased in four of the last five years (as reflected in increased commercial shipments), production has been decreasing. Deliveries of NS dried raisins from producers to handlers reached an all-time high of 432,616 tons in the 2000–01 crop year. This large crop was preceded by two short crop years; deliveries were 240,469 tons in the 1998–99 crop year and 299,910 tons in the 1999–2000 crop year. Deliveries for the 2000–01 crop year soared to a record level because of increased bearing acreage and yields. Deliveries for the 2001–02 crop year were at 377,328 tons, 388,010 tons for the 2002– 03 crop year, 296,864 tons for the 2003– 04 crop year, and 265,262 tons for the 2004–05 crop year. After three crop years of high production and a large 2001–02 carry-in inventory, the industry diverted raisin production to other uses or removed bearing vines. Diversions/removals totaled 38,000 acres in 2001; 27,000 acres in 2002; and 8,000 acres of vines in 2003. These actions resulted in declining deliveries of 296,864 tons for the 2003–04 crop year and 265,262 tons for the 2004–05 crop year. Although VerDate Mar<15>2010 12:53 Jun 23, 2010 Jkt 220001 deliveries increased in 2005–06 crop year to 319,126 tons, this may have been because fewer growers opted to contract with wineries, as raisin variety grapes crushed in 2005–06 crop year decreased by 161,000 green tons, the equivalent of over 40,000 tons of raisins. In the 2006– 07 crop year, raisin deliveries were again less than 300,000 tons at 282,999 tons and increased to 329,288 tons in 2007–08 crop year. The 2008–09 crop year was considered to be a good crop and the quality of the crop has a direct bearing on the overall production with 364,268 tons of NS raisins delivered. The order permits the industry to exercise volume regulation provisions, which allow for the establishment of free and reserve percentages, and establishment of a reserve pool. One of the primary purposes of establishing free and reserve percentages is to balance supply and demand. If raisin markets are over-supplied with product, producer prices will decline. Raisins are generally marketed at relatively lower price levels in the more elastic export market than in the more inelastic domestic market. This results in a larger volume of raisins being marketed and enhances producer returns. In addition, this system allows the U.S. raisin industry to be more competitive in export markets. The reserve percentage limits provides for raisins that handlers can market as free tonnage. Based on the 2009–10 crop year estimate of 275,000 tons, the 15 percent reserve would limit the total free tonnage to 233,750 natural condition tons (0.85 x the 275,000 ton crop). Adding the estimated figure of 41,250 tons of raisins offered to handlers through the 10 + 10 program to the 233,750 tons of free tonnage, plus 126,824 tons of carry-in inventory, plus 12,137 tons of 2008–09 NS reserve pool raisins released during the 2009–10 crop year, results in a total supply of 413,961 tons of natural condition raisins. With volume regulation, producer prices are expected to be higher than without volume regulation. This price increase is beneficial to all producers regardless of size, and enhances producers’ total revenues in comparison to no volume regulation. Establishing a reserve allows the industry to help stabilize supplies in both domestic and export markets, while improving returns to producers. Free and reserve percentages are established by varietal type; and are generally established in years when the supply exceeds the trade demand by a PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 large enough margin that the committee believes volume regulation is necessary to maintain market stability. Accordingly, in assessing whether to apply volume regulation or, as an alternative, not to apply such regulation, the committee determined that volume regulation was warranted for the 2009– 10 crop for only one of the nine raisin varietal types defined under the order. The free and reserve percentages established in the interim rule release the full trade demand and apply uniformly to all handlers in the industry, regardless of size. For NS raisins, with the exception of the 1998– 99 and 2004–05 crop years, small and large raisin producers and handlers have been operating under volume regulation percentages every year since the 1983–84 crop year. There are no known additional costs incurred by small handlers that are not incurred by large handlers. While the level of benefits of this rulemaking are difficult to quantify, the stabilizing effects of the volume regulations impact small and large handlers positively by helping them maintain and expand markets even though raisin supplies fluctuate widely from season to season. Likewise, price stability positively impacts small and large producers by allowing them to better anticipate the revenues their raisins will generate. This rule continues in effect the action that established final volume regulation percentages for the 2009–10 crop year for NS raisins at 85 percent free and 15 percent reserve. The volume regulation percentages are intended to help stabilize raisin supplies and prices, meet the needs of the domestic and export markets, strengthen market conditions, and expand marketing opportunities. This rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large raisin 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. In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule. Further, the committee meeting on October 6, 2009, at which this recommendation was made, was widely publicized throughout the raisin industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and encouraged to participate in the E:\FR\FM\24JNR1.SGM 24JNR1 35962 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 121 / Thursday, June 24, 2010 / Rules and Regulations committee’s deliberations. Like all committee meetings, the meeting was a public meeting; and all entities, both large and small, were able to express their views on this issue. Comments on the interim rule were required to be received by May 24, 2010. One comment supporting the rule was received. Therefore, for the reasons given in the interim rule, we are adopting the interim rule as a final rule, without change. To view the interim rule, go to: http://www.regulations.gov/search/ Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R= 0900006480add0ad. This action also affirms information contained in the interim rule concerning Executive Orders 12866 and 12988, the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), and the E–Gov Act (44 U.S.C. 101). After consideration of all relevant material presented, it is found that finalizing the interim rule without change, as published in the Federal Register (75 FR 20897, April 22, 2010), will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. Farm and Rural Development Act (CONACT) (7 U.S.C. 1926(a)(2)). The amendment added the new SEARCH grant program under which the Secretary is authorized to make predevelopment planning grants for feasibility studies, design assistance, and technical assistance to financially distressed communities in rural areas with populations of 2,500 or fewer inhabitants for water and waste disposal projects. DATES: This rule is effective June 24, 2010. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 989 Grapes, Marketing agreements, Raisins, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). PART 989—[AMENDED] Executive Order 12988 Accordingly, the interim rule that amended 7 CFR part 989 and that was published at 75 FR 20897 on April 22, 2010, is adopted as a final rule, without change. This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. RUS has determined that this final rule meets the applicable standards provided in section 3 of the Executive Order. In addition, all State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule will be pre-empted; no retroactive effect will be given to the rule; and in accordance with sec. 212(e) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. sec. 6912(e)), appeal procedures must be exhausted before an action against the Department or its agencies may be initiated. ■ Dated: June 18, 2010. Robert C. Keeney, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2010–15298 Filed 6–23–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anita O’Brien, Loan Specialist, Water and Environmental Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service, Room 2230 South Building, Stop 1570, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250–1570. Telephone: (202) 690– 3789, FAX: (202) 690–0649, E-mail: anita.obrien@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Classification Executive Order 12866 7 CFR Part 1774 Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification RIN 0572–AC14 RUS has determined that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, as defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). The RUS Water and Environmental Programs provide loans to borrowers at interest rates and terms that are more favorable than those generally available from the private sector. RUS borrowers, as a result of obtaining Federal financing, receive economic benefits that exceed any cprice-sewell on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with RULES Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households Program ACTION: Final rule. SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is issuing a regulation to establish the Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households (SEARCH) Program as authorized by Section 306(a)(2) of the Consolidated VerDate Mar<15>2010 12:53 Jun 23, 2010 Jkt 220001 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 direct economic costs associated with complying with RUS regulations and requirements. Information Collection and Recordkeeping Requirements The information collection and recordkeeping requirements contained in this final rule are pending approval by OMB pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35) under control number 0572—New. The paperwork contained in this rule will not be effective until approved by OMB. E-Government Act Compliance The Rural Utilities Service is committed to the E-Government Act, which requires Government agencies in general to provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting business electronically to the maximum extent possible. National Environmental Policy Act Certification The Administrator of RUS has determined that this final rule will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment as defined by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). Therefore, this action does not require an environmental impact statement or assessment. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance The program described by this final rule is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Programs under number 10.759—Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households Program (SEARCH). This catalog is available on a subscription basis from the Superintendent of Documents, the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 20402–9325, telephone number (202) 512–1800 and at https:// www.cfda.gov. Executive Order 12372 This program is not subject to the requirements of Executive Order 12372, ‘‘Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,’’ as implemented under USDA’s regulations at 7 CFR part 3015. Unfunded Mandates This final rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory provision of title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995) for State, local, and Tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, this final rule is not subject to the requirements of section 202 and 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. E:\FR\FM\24JNR1.SGM 24JNR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 121 (Thursday, June 24, 2010)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 35959-35962]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-15298]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 989

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-09-0075; FV10-989-1 FIR]


Raisins Produced From Grapes Grown in California; Final Free and 
Reserve Percentages for 2009-10 Crop Natural (Sun-Dried) Seedless 
Raisins

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Affirmation of interim rule as final rule.

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

SUMMARY: The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final 
rule, without change, an interim rule that established final volume 
regulation percentages of 85 percent free and 15 percent reserve for 
the 2009-10 crop of Natural (sun-dried) Seedless (NS) raisins covered 
under the Federal marketing order for California raisins (order). The 
percentages are intended to help stabilize raisin supplies and prices, 
and strengthen market conditions.

DATES: Effective June 25, 2010. The volume regulation percentages apply 
to acquisitions of NS raisins from the 2009-10 crop until the reserve 
raisins from that crop are disposed of under the marketing order.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Terry Vawter, Senior 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: Terry.Vawter@ams.usda.gov or 
Kurt.Kimmel@ams.usda.gov.
    Small businesses may obtain information on complying with this and 
other marketing order regulations by viewing a guide at the following 
Web site: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateN&page=MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide; or by contacting Antoinette Carter, 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: 
Antoinette.Carter@ams.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing 
Agreement and Order No. 989, both as amended (7 CFR part 989), 
regulating the handling of raisins produced from grapes 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.
    The handling of California raisins is regulated by 7 CFR part 989. 
The order authorizes the establishment of volume regulations, when 
warranted, for each crop. Volume regulations: (1) Help the industry 
address its marketing problems by keeping supplies in balance with 
demand; (2) strengthen market conditions; (3) fully supply both the 
domestic and export markets without overburdening them; and (4) provide 
for market expansion.
    Volume regulation is warranted for the 2009-10 crop of NS raisins 
because the crop estimate (supply) exceeded the trade demand (demand). 
In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on April 22, 2010, 
and effective on April 23, 2010 (75 FR 20897; Doc No. AMS-FV-09-0075, 
FV10-989-1 IFR), Sec.  989.257 was amended by incorporating the 2009-10 
crop year final free and reserve percentages. This rule continues in 
effect the rule that established a final free percentage of 85 percent, 
and a final reserve percentage of 15 percent, of NS raisins acquired by 
handlers during the crop year, which began August 1, 2009, and ends 
July 31, 2010.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural

[[Page 35960]]

Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this 
action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final 
regulatory flexibility analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
business subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued 
pursuant to the Act, and 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 26 handlers of California raisins who are 
subject to regulation under the order and approximately 3,000 raisin 
producers in the regulated area. Small agricultural service firms are 
defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) (13 CFR 121.201) as 
those having annual receipts of less than $7,000,000, and small 
agricultural producers as those having annual receipts of less than 
$750,000. Approximately 18 handlers and a majority of producers of 
California raisins may be classified as small entities.
    Since 1949, the California raisin industry has operated under a 
Federal marketing order. The order contains authority to limit the 
portion of a given year's crop that can be marketed freely in any 
outlet by raisin handlers. This volume regulation mechanism is used to 
stabilize supplies and prices, and to strengthen market conditions. If 
the primary market (the normal domestic market) is over-supplied with 
raisins, grower prices decline substantially.
    Pursuant to Sec.  989.54(d) of the order, this rule establishes 
final volume regulation percentages for the 2009-10 crop year for NS 
raisins. The volume regulation percentages are 85 percent free and 15 
percent reserve. Free tonnage raisins may be sold by handlers to any 
market. Reserve raisins must be held in a pool for the account of the 
committee and are disposed of through certain programs authorized under 
the order. Volume regulation is warranted this season because the crop 
estimate of 275,000 tons is significantly higher than the 234,769 ton 
trade demand.
    The volume regulation procedures have helped the industry address 
its marketing problems by keeping supplies in balance with domestic and 
export market needs, and strengthening market conditions. The volume 
regulation procedures fully supply the domestic and export markets, 
provide for market expansion, and help reduce the burden of 
oversupplies in the domestic market.
    Raisin grapes are a perennial crop, so production in any year is 
dependent upon plantings made in earlier years. The sun-drying method 
of producing raisins involves considerable risk because of variable 
weather patterns.
    Even though the product and the industry are viewed as mature, the 
industry has experienced considerable change over the last several 
decades. Before the 1975-76 crop year, more than 50 percent of the 
raisins were packed and sold directly to consumers. Now, about 63 
percent of the raisins are sold in bulk. This means that raisins are 
now sold to consumers mostly as an ingredient in another product such 
as cereal and baked goods. In addition, for a few years in the early 
1970s, over 50 percent of the raisin grapes were sold fresh to the wine 
market for crushing. Since then, the percent of raisin-variety grapes 
sold to the wine industry has decreased.
    California's grapes are classified into three groups--table grapes, 
wine grapes, and raisin-variety grapes. Raisin-variety grapes are the 
most versatile of the three types. They can be marketed as fresh 
grapes, crushed for juice in the production of wine or juice 
concentrate, or dried into raisins. Annual fluctuations in the fresh 
grape, wine, and concentrate markets, as well as weather-related 
factors, cause fluctuations in raisin supply. This type of situation 
introduces a certain amount of variability into the raisin market. 
These fluctuations can result in producer price instability and 
disorderly market conditions.
    Volume regulation is helpful to the raisin industry because it 
lessens the impact of such fluctuations and contributes to orderly 
marketing. For example, producer prices for NS raisins remained fairly 
steady between the 1993-94 and 1997-98 crop years, although production 
varied. As shown in the table below, during those years, production 
varied from a low of 272,063 tons in 1996-97 to a high of 387,007 tons 
in 1993-94.
    According to committee data, the total producer return per ton 
during those years, which includes proceeds from both free tonnage plus 
reserve pool raisins, has varied from a low of $904.60 in 1993-94 to a 
high of $1,049.20 in 1996-97. Producer prices for the 1998-99 and 1999-
2000 crop years increased significantly due to back-to-back short crops 
during those years. Record large crops followed, and producer prices 
dropped dramatically for the 2000-01 through 2003-04 crop years, as 
inventories grew while demand stagnated. However, as noted below, 
producer prices were higher for the 2004-05 through 2008-09 crop years:

                Natural Seedless (Natural Condition) Deliveries, Field Prices and Producer Prices
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Deliveries       Field prices     Producer prices
                 Crop year                       (tons)         (per ton)\1\        (per ton)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2008-09...................................           364,268         $1,310.00     \2\ $1,139.70
2007-08...................................           329,288          1,210.00      \2\ 1,028.50
2006-07...................................           282,999          1,210.00      \1\ 1,089.00
2005-06...................................           319,126          1,210.00        \1\ 998.25
2004-05...................................           265,262          1,210.00      \3\ 1,210.00
2003-04...................................           296,864            810.00            567.00
2002-03...................................           388,010            745.00            491.20
2001-02...................................           377,328            880.00            650.94
2000-01...................................           432,616            877.50            603.36
1999-2000.................................           299,910          1,425.00          1,211.25
1998-99...................................           240,469          1,290.00      \3\ 1,290.00
1997-98...................................           382,448          1,250.00            946.52
1996-97...................................           272,063          1,220.00          1,049.20
1995-96...................................           325,911          1,160.00          1,007.19
1994-95...................................           378,427          1,160.00            928.27
1993-94...................................           387,007          1,155.00            904.60
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Field prices for NS raisins are established by the Raisin Bargaining Association, and are also referred to
  in the industry as the ``free tonnage price'' for raisins.

[[Page 35961]]

 
\2\ Return-to-date, reserve pool still open.
\3\ No volume regulation.

    There are essentially two broad markets for raisins--domestic and 
export. Domestic shipments generally increased over the years. Although 
domestic shipments decreased from a high of 204,805 packed tons during 
the 1990-91 crop year to a low of 156,325 packed tons in 1999-2000, 
they increased from 174,117 packed tons during the 2000-01 crop year to 
193,609 packed tons during the 2007-08 crop year and decreased to 
191,929 packed tons during the 2008-09 crop year. Export shipments 
ranged from a high of 107,931 packed tons in the 1991-92 crop year to a 
low of 91,599 packed tons in the 1999-2000 crop year. Since that time, 
export shipments increased to 106,755 tons of raisins during the 2004-
05 crop year, fell to 101,684 tons in the 2006-07 crop year, and again 
increased to 142,541 tons in the 2007-08 crop year. This significant 
increase was due to a short crop in Turkey. Export shipments remained 
relatively high in 2008-09 at 125,789 tons.
    The per capita consumption of raisins has declined from 2.07 pounds 
in 1988 to 1.46 pounds in 2007. This decrease is consistent with the 
decrease in the per capita consumption of dried fruits in general, 
which may be due to the increasing year-round availability of most 
types of fresh fruit.
    While the overall demand for raisins has increased in four of the 
last five years (as reflected in increased commercial shipments), 
production has been decreasing. Deliveries of NS dried raisins from 
producers to handlers reached an all-time high of 432,616 tons in the 
2000-01 crop year. This large crop was preceded by two short crop 
years; deliveries were 240,469 tons in the 1998-99 crop year and 
299,910 tons in the 1999-2000 crop year. Deliveries for the 2000-01 
crop year soared to a record level because of increased bearing acreage 
and yields. Deliveries for the 2001-02 crop year were at 377,328 tons, 
388,010 tons for the 2002-03 crop year, 296,864 tons for the 2003-04 
crop year, and 265,262 tons for the 2004-05 crop year.
    After three crop years of high production and a large 2001-02 
carry-in inventory, the industry diverted raisin production to other 
uses or removed bearing vines. Diversions/removals totaled 38,000 acres 
in 2001; 27,000 acres in 2002; and 8,000 acres of vines in 2003. These 
actions resulted in declining deliveries of 296,864 tons for the 2003-
04 crop year and 265,262 tons for the 2004-05 crop year. Although 
deliveries increased in 2005-06 crop year to 319,126 tons, this may 
have been because fewer growers opted to contract with wineries, as 
raisin variety grapes crushed in 2005-06 crop year decreased by 161,000 
green tons, the equivalent of over 40,000 tons of raisins. In the 2006-
07 crop year, raisin deliveries were again less than 300,000 tons at 
282,999 tons and increased to 329,288 tons in 2007-08 crop year. The 
2008-09 crop year was considered to be a good crop and the quality of 
the crop has a direct bearing on the overall production with 364,268 
tons of NS raisins delivered.
    The order permits the industry to exercise volume regulation 
provisions, which allow for the establishment of free and reserve 
percentages, and establishment of a reserve pool. One of the primary 
purposes of establishing free and reserve percentages is to balance 
supply and demand. If raisin markets are over-supplied with product, 
producer prices will decline.
    Raisins are generally marketed at relatively lower price levels in 
the more elastic export market than in the more inelastic domestic 
market. This results in a larger volume of raisins being marketed and 
enhances producer returns. In addition, this system allows the U.S. 
raisin industry to be more competitive in export markets.
    The reserve percentage limits provides for raisins that handlers 
can market as free tonnage. Based on the 2009-10 crop year estimate of 
275,000 tons, the 15 percent reserve would limit the total free tonnage 
to 233,750 natural condition tons (0.85 x the 275,000 ton crop). Adding 
the estimated figure of 41,250 tons of raisins offered to handlers 
through the 10 + 10 program to the 233,750 tons of free tonnage, plus 
126,824 tons of carry-in inventory, plus 12,137 tons of 2008-09 NS 
reserve pool raisins released during the 2009-10 crop year, results in 
a total supply of 413,961 tons of natural condition raisins.
    With volume regulation, producer prices are expected to be higher 
than without volume regulation. This price increase is beneficial to 
all producers regardless of size, and enhances producers' total 
revenues in comparison to no volume regulation. Establishing a reserve 
allows the industry to help stabilize supplies in both domestic and 
export markets, while improving returns to producers.
    Free and reserve percentages are established by varietal type; and 
are generally established in years when the supply exceeds the trade 
demand by a large enough margin that the committee believes volume 
regulation is necessary to maintain market stability. Accordingly, in 
assessing whether to apply volume regulation or, as an alternative, not 
to apply such regulation, the committee determined that volume 
regulation was warranted for the 2009-10 crop for only one of the nine 
raisin varietal types defined under the order.
    The free and reserve percentages established in the interim rule 
release the full trade demand and apply uniformly to all handlers in 
the industry, regardless of size. For NS raisins, with the exception of 
the 1998-99 and 2004-05 crop years, small and large raisin producers 
and handlers have been operating under volume regulation percentages 
every year since the 1983-84 crop year. There are no known additional 
costs incurred by small handlers that are not incurred by large 
handlers. While the level of benefits of this rulemaking are difficult 
to quantify, the stabilizing effects of the volume regulations impact 
small and large handlers positively by helping them maintain and expand 
markets even though raisin supplies fluctuate widely from season to 
season. Likewise, price stability positively impacts small and large 
producers by allowing them to better anticipate the revenues their 
raisins will generate.
    This rule continues in effect the action that established final 
volume regulation percentages for the 2009-10 crop year for NS raisins 
at 85 percent free and 15 percent reserve. The volume regulation 
percentages are intended to help stabilize raisin supplies and prices, 
meet the needs of the domestic and export markets, strengthen market 
conditions, and expand marketing opportunities.
    This rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large raisin 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. In addition, USDA has not identified any 
relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this 
rule.
    Further, the committee meeting on October 6, 2009, at which this 
recommendation was made, was widely publicized throughout the raisin 
industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting 
and encouraged to participate in the

[[Page 35962]]

committee's deliberations. Like all committee meetings, the meeting was 
a public meeting; and all entities, both large and small, were able to 
express their views on this issue.
    Comments on the interim rule were required to be received by May 
24, 2010. One comment supporting the rule was received. Therefore, for 
the reasons given in the interim rule, we are adopting the interim rule 
as a final rule, without change.
    To view the interim rule, go to: http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480add0ad.
    This action also affirms information contained in the interim rule 
concerning Executive Orders 12866 and 12988, the Paperwork Reduction 
Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), and the E-Gov Act (44 U.S.C. 101).
    After consideration of all relevant material presented, it is found 
that finalizing the interim rule without change, as published in the 
Federal Register (75 FR 20897, April 22, 2010), will tend to effectuate 
the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 989

    Grapes, Marketing agreements, Raisins, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

PART 989--[AMENDED]

0
Accordingly, the interim rule that amended 7 CFR part 989 and that was 
published at 75 FR 20897 on April 22, 2010, is adopted as a final rule, 
without change.

    Dated: June 18, 2010.
Robert C. Keeney,
Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-15298 Filed 6-23-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P