Regulations Issued Under the Export Grape and Plum Act; Revision to the Minimum Requirements, 77561-77563 [2010-31197]

Download as PDF 77561 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 75, No. 238 Monday, December 13, 2010 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 35 [Doc. No. AMS–FV–10–0091; FV11–35–1 PR] Regulations Issued Under the Export Grape and Plum Act; Revision to the Minimum Requirements Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: This rule invites comments on proposed revisions to the requirements under the Export Grape and Plum Act. The proposed action would change the minimum bunch weight requirement for grapes exported to Japan, Europe, and Greenland from one-half pound to one-quarter pound. This rule would also update the list of European countries defined in the regulation and remove the additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks on the Exotic grape variety. This action was recommended by the California Grape and Tree Fruit League (League). DATES: Comments must be received by January 12, 2011. 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 document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: https:// www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the wwoods2 on DSK1DXX6B1PROD with PROPOSALS_PART 1 SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:05 Dec 10, 2010 Jkt 223001 individuals or entities submitting the comments will be made public on the Internet at the address provided above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dawana J. Clark, Marketing Specialist, or Kenneth G. Johnson, Regional Manager, DC Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (301) 734– 5243, Fax: (301) 734–5275, or E-mail: Dawana.Clark@ams.usda.gov or Kenneth.Johnson@ams.usda.gov. Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation 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 proposed rule is issued under authority of the Export Grape and Plum Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 591–599), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’ The Act promotes the foreign trade of U.S. grown grapes and plums by authorizing the implementation of regulations with minimum grade, quality, container, container marking, and inspection requirements. This proposed rule would amend ‘‘Regulations Issued Under Authority of the Export Grape and Plum Act’’ (regulations) (7 CFR part 35). The regulated entities are shippers, exporters, and carriers of table grapes for export. This rule has been determined not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This proposal has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. Section 35.11 of the regulations establishes minimum size and quality requirements for export shipments of any variety of vinifera species table grapes. Currently, such grapes shipped to Japan, Europe, or Greenland must meet a minimum grade of U.S. Fancy Table as specified in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Table Grapes (standards) (7 CFR part 51, sections 51.880–51.992), with the additional requirement that bunches must each weigh at least one- PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 half pound. Section 35.11 also defines the countries in Europe for which the export regulation applies. Finally, § 35.11 provides an additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks on both the Ribier and Exotic varieties, which must otherwise meet the minimum requirements for the U.S. No. 1 Table grade as contained in the standards. This proposed rule would revise § 35.11(a) of the order’s administrative rules and regulations by changing the minimum bunch weight requirement for grapes exported to Japan, Europe, and Greenland from one-half pound to onequarter pound. This rule would further revise § 35.11(a) by updating the list of European countries defined in the regulation. Finally, this rule would revise § 35.11(b) by removing the additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks on the Exotic grape variety. The Board of Directors of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League (League), which represents a substantial portion of the fresh table grape industry, unanimously recommended that the one-half pound bunch size minimum requirement be removed from § 35.11(a) of the regulations. This would make the minimum bunch size requirement onequarter pound as defined in the standards for U.S. Fancy Table grade. There has been an increasing retail demand for table grapes packaged in plastic clamshells, particularly for export markets. One of the most popular package sizes is the 500 gram (approximately 1.1 pounds) clamshell. However, handlers find it difficult to fit two larger (minimum one-half pound) grape bunches into the 500 gram clamshell. The recommended change would allow handlers to use smaller (minimum one-quarter pound) bunches to fill the smaller clamshell packages. This change would offer handlers greater flexibility in packaging and would allow them to pack a greater portion of the crop into the clamshell packages that are popular in the marketplace. The League believes this change would position shippers and exporters to better meet market demand while maintaining pack quality. The League further recommended that the list of countries used to define the term Europe in § 35.11(a) of the regulations be updated to include the current names of European countries for which the export regulations apply. Specifically, the names E:\FR\FM\13DEP1.SGM 13DEP1 77562 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 238 / Monday, December 13, 2010 / Proposed Rules wwoods2 on DSK1DXX6B1PROD with PROPOSALS_PART 1 ‘‘Czechoslovakia,’’ ‘‘East Germany,’’ ‘‘West Germany,’’ and ‘‘Yugoslavia’’ would be deleted, and the following countries would be added to the remaining list: Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. Such action would clarify the European destinations for which the export regulations are applicable. Finally, the League recommended that § 35.11(b) be revised by removing the additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks on Exotic variety grapes. This variety is no longer produced on a commercial basis and the additional tolerance is no longer warranted. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601–612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this action 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. Because California table grapes represent the bulk of U.S. production, it can be assumed that an analysis of the effects of the proposed rule upon members of the California table grape industry would be representative of the entire U.S. industry. According to industry statistics, at least 98 percent of U.S. table grapes are produced in California. Approximately 35 percent of the U.S. table grape crop is exported. There are approximately 550 table grape producers in California, and approximately 75 table grape shippers. The number of table grape exporters and carriers is unknown. Small agricultural producers are defined as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000; and small agricultural service firms, including shippers, exporters, and carriers, are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,000,000. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that California table grape production for 2008 was 724,000 tons, valued at $461 per ton or $333,764,000. Average receipts for California’s 550 producers would thus be approximately $606,844, which is lower than the SBA threshold of $750,000 for small producers. According to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, 367,643 tons of fresh grapes, valued at $608,757,000, were exported from the U.S. in 2008. VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:05 Dec 10, 2010 Jkt 223001 Assuming that 98 percent of exported grapes were produced in California, average 2008 receipts for California’s 75 shippers would have been $7,954,425, which is higher than the SBA threshold of $7,000,000 for small agricultural firms. Based upon the preceding calculations, it could be concluded that the majority of California (and therefore, U.S.) table grape producers would be classified as small entities, and that the majority of shippers would be classified as large entities, according to SBA definitions. However, the League believes that a small number of shippers ship a majority of the volume, and that the majority of California table grape shippers should be classified as small entities under SBA’s standards. No information regarding the receipts or size of U.S. table grape exporters and carriers is available. This proposed rule is issued under authority of the Export Grape and Plum Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 591–599). This rule would amend the ‘‘Regulations Issued Under Authority of the Export Grape and Plum Act’’(7 CFR part 35) by changing the minimum bunch weight requirement specified in § 35.11(a) for grapes exported to Japan, Europe, and Greenland from one-half pound to onequarter pound. This rule would further revise § 35.11(a) by updating the list of European countries defined in the regulation. Finally, this rule would revise § 35.11(b) by removing the additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks on the Exotic grape variety. The League met on June 24, 2010, and unanimously recommended revising the minimum size requirements to allow a one-quarter pound minimum bunch size, instead of the one-half pound minimum bunch size currently specified in the regulations. The onequarter pound minimum bunch size is specified in the standards for U.S. Fancy Table grade grapes, which are incorporated by reference in the regulations. The League also recommended updating the list of European countries defined in the regulation to reflect the currently recognized names of those countries. Finally, the League recommended removing the additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks in the Exotic grape variety. This variety is no longer in commercial production, and an additional tolerance for defects in that variety is no longer warranted. The League believes that adhering to the smaller bunch size requirement currently specified in the standards for U.S. Fancy Table grade would have a beneficial impact on the entire industry. It is difficult to fill the smaller PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 clamshells with the larger bunches of grapes, thus limiting the number of clamshells that can be shipped. It is easier to fill the clamshells with smaller bunches, which fit into the packages better. Therefore, the League believes that the industry will be able to ship a greater number of 500 gram clamshells to meet market demand. Although they did not identify any potential additional costs to making this change, the League believes that the impact of any additional costs would be outweighed by the advantage of presenting U.S. table grapes in packages most desirable in the retail market. The benefits of this action would be a gain in the overall amount of product sold and an increase in returns to producers, shippers, exporters, and carriers, regardless of size. Updating the list of European countries for which the export regulations apply and removing the additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks on the obsolete Exotic variety merely update the regulations to reflect current terminology and industry trends. These changes are not expected to have any economic impact on large or small entities. The League recommended that these changes be effective for the 2011 harvesting season, which begins approximately May 1, 2011. These changes would remain in effect on a continuing basis, beginning with the 2011 season. These actions would allow for more practical and efficient packaging while maintaining the overall quality of exported table grapes. These recommended actions are intended to allow shippers and exporters to be more competitive in the marketplace, thereby selling more product. This proposed rule would not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large table grape shippers, exporters, or carriers. As with all Federal regulatory marketing 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. USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this proposed rule. 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. E:\FR\FM\13DEP1.SGM 13DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 238 / Monday, December 13, 2010 / Proposed Rules Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Antoinette Carter at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. A 30-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposal. Thirty days is deemed appropriate because this rule should be in place prior to the 2011 harvesting season, which begins approximately May 1, 2011. All written comments timely received will be considered before a final determination is made on this matter. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 35 Administrative practice and procedures, Exports, Grapes, Plums, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 35 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 35—EXPORT GRAPES AND PLUMS 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 35 continues to read as follows: 2. In § 35.11, paragraphs (a) and (b) are revised to read as follows: Minimum requirements. wwoods2 on DSK1DXX6B1PROD with PROPOSALS_PART 1 * * * * * (a) Any such variety for export to destinations in Japan, Europe (defined to mean the following countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Herzegovina, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales), or Greenland shall meet each applicable minimum requirement of the U.S. Fancy Table grape grade as specified in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Table Grapes (European or Vinifera Type) (§§ 51.880–51.912 of this title). The Black Corinth variety shall be exempt from bunch and berry size requirements. (b) Any such variety for export to any foreign destination, other than destinations in Japan, Europe, Greenland, Canada, or Mexico, shall meet each applicable minimum requirement of the U.S. No. 1 Table grape grade as specified in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Table Grapes (European or Vinifera Type) (§§ 51.880– 51.912 of this title), except that an additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks on the Ribier variety is VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:05 Dec 10, 2010 Jkt 223001 Dated: December 7, 2010. Craig Morris, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2010–31197 Filed 12–10–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Parts 916 and 917 [Doc. No. AMS–FV–10–0084; FV10–916/917– 3 CR] Nectarines, Pears, and Peaches Grown in California; Continuance Referenda Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Referenda order. AGENCY: This document directs that referenda be conducted among eligible California nectarine, pear, and peach growers to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing orders regulating the handling of nectarines, pears, and peaches grown in California. DATES: The referenda will be conducted from January 12 through February 2, 2011. To vote in these referenda, growers must have produced nectarines, pears, or peaches in California during the period April 1, 2010, through November 30, 2010. ADDRESSES: Copies of the marketing orders may be obtained from the California Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, United States Department of Agriculture, 2202 Monterey Street, Suite 102B, Fresno, California 93721–3129, or the Office of the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jerry L. Simmons, 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: Jerry.Simmons@ams.usda.gov or Kurt.Kimmel@ams.usda.gov. SUMMARY: Authority: 48 Stat. 734; 7 U.S.C. 591–599. § 35.11 allowed. The Black Corinth variety shall be exempt from bunch and berry size requirements. * * * * * Pursuant to Marketing Order Nos. 916 and 917 (7 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 77563 CFR parts 916 and 917), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘orders,’’ and the applicable provisions of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act,’’ it is hereby directed that referenda be conducted to ascertain whether continuance of the orders is favored by growers. The referenda shall be conducted from January 12 through February 2, 2011, among eligible California nectarine, pear, and peach growers. Only growers that were engaged in the production of nectarines, pears, or peaches in California during the period of April 1, 2010, through November 30, 2010, may participate in the continuance referenda. Although pears are included under the provisions of M.O. 917, those provisions have been suspended since April 1994. Since that time, the pear industry has been regulated by a State marketing order. If the results of the pear referendum do not favor continuance, the pear order will be terminated. Otherwise, this suspension will remain in effect unless the pear industry recommends reactivation or termination of the Federal program. Referendum requirements for the most recent cycle of continuance referenda were suspended by USDA because the orders were being amended at the time (72 FR 12038, March 15, 2007). USDA determined that it would be appropriate to allow the amended orders to operate for a period of time before asking growers to vote on continuance of the programs. The referenda ordered herein will thus be the first conducted since the orders were amended in 2006 (71 FR 41345, July 21, 2006). USDA has determined that continuance referenda are an effective means for determining whether growers favor the continuation of marketing order programs. USDA would consider terminating the orders if fewer than twothirds of the growers voting in the referenda or growers of less than twothirds of the volume of California nectarines, pears, and peaches represented in the referenda favor continuance of their programs. In evaluating the merits of continuance versus termination, USDA will consider the results of the continuance referenda and all other relevant information regarding operation of the orders. USDA will evaluate the orders’ relative benefits and disadvantages to growers, handlers, and consumers to determine whether continuing the orders would tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. E:\FR\FM\13DEP1.SGM 13DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 238 (Monday, December 13, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 77561-77563]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-31197]


========================================================================
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. 75, No. 238 / Monday, December 13, 2010 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 77561]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 35

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-10-0091; FV11-35-1 PR]


Regulations Issued Under the Export Grape and Plum Act; Revision 
to the Minimum Requirements

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: This rule invites comments on proposed revisions to the 
requirements under the Export Grape and Plum Act. The proposed action 
would change the minimum bunch weight requirement for grapes exported 
to Japan, Europe, and Greenland from one-half pound to one-quarter 
pound. This rule would also update the list of European countries 
defined in the regulation and remove the additional 2 percent tolerance 
for sealed berry cracks on the Exotic grape variety. This action was 
recommended by the California Grape and Tree Fruit League (League).

DATES: Comments must be received by January 12, 2011.

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 document number 
and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and 
will be made available for public inspection in the Office of the 
Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: https://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule 
will be included in the record and will be made available to the 
public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or 
entities submitting the comments will be made public on the Internet at 
the address provided above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dawana J. Clark, Marketing Specialist, 
or Kenneth G. Johnson, Regional Manager, DC Marketing Field Office, 
Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, 
AMS, USDA; Telephone: (301) 734-5243, Fax: (301) 734-5275, or E-mail: 
Dawana.Clark@ams.usda.gov or Kenneth.Johnson@ams.usda.gov.
    Small businesses may request information on complying with this 
regulation 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 proposed rule is issued under authority 
of the Export Grape and Plum Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 591-599), 
hereinafter referred to as the ``Act.'' The Act promotes the foreign 
trade of U.S. grown grapes and plums by authorizing the implementation 
of regulations with minimum grade, quality, container, container 
marking, and inspection requirements.
    This proposed rule would amend ``Regulations Issued Under Authority 
of the Export Grape and Plum Act'' (regulations) (7 CFR part 35). The 
regulated entities are shippers, exporters, and carriers of table 
grapes for export.
    This rule has been determined not significant for purposes of 
Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed by the 
Office of Management and Budget.
    This proposal has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect.
    Section 35.11 of the regulations establishes minimum size and 
quality requirements for export shipments of any variety of vinifera 
species table grapes. Currently, such grapes shipped to Japan, Europe, 
or Greenland must meet a minimum grade of U.S. Fancy Table as specified 
in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Table Grapes (standards) (7 CFR 
part 51, sections 51.880-51.992), with the additional requirement that 
bunches must each weigh at least one-half pound. Section 35.11 also 
defines the countries in Europe for which the export regulation 
applies. Finally, Sec.  35.11 provides an additional 2 percent 
tolerance for sealed berry cracks on both the Ribier and Exotic 
varieties, which must otherwise meet the minimum requirements for the 
U.S. No. 1 Table grade as contained in the standards.
    This proposed rule would revise Sec.  35.11(a) of the order's 
administrative rules and regulations by changing the minimum bunch 
weight requirement for grapes exported to Japan, Europe, and Greenland 
from one-half pound to one-quarter pound. This rule would further 
revise Sec.  35.11(a) by updating the list of European countries 
defined in the regulation. Finally, this rule would revise Sec.  
35.11(b) by removing the additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed 
berry cracks on the Exotic grape variety.
    The Board of Directors of the California Grape and Tree Fruit 
League (League), which represents a substantial portion of the fresh 
table grape industry, unanimously recommended that the one-half pound 
bunch size minimum requirement be removed from Sec.  35.11(a) of the 
regulations. This would make the minimum bunch size requirement one-
quarter pound as defined in the standards for U.S. Fancy Table grade.
    There has been an increasing retail demand for table grapes 
packaged in plastic clamshells, particularly for export markets. One of 
the most popular package sizes is the 500 gram (approximately 1.1 
pounds) clamshell. However, handlers find it difficult to fit two 
larger (minimum one-half pound) grape bunches into the 500 gram 
clamshell. The recommended change would allow handlers to use smaller 
(minimum one-quarter pound) bunches to fill the smaller clamshell 
packages. This change would offer handlers greater flexibility in 
packaging and would allow them to pack a greater portion of the crop 
into the clamshell packages that are popular in the marketplace. The 
League believes this change would position shippers and exporters to 
better meet market demand while maintaining pack quality.
    The League further recommended that the list of countries used to 
define the term Europe in Sec.  35.11(a) of the regulations be updated 
to include the current names of European countries for which the export 
regulations apply. Specifically, the names

[[Page 77562]]

``Czechoslovakia,'' ``East Germany,'' ``West Germany,'' and 
``Yugoslavia'' would be deleted, and the following countries would be 
added to the remaining list: Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, 
Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. Such action 
would clarify the European destinations for which the export 
regulations are applicable.
    Finally, the League recommended that Sec.  35.11(b) be revised by 
removing the additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks on 
Exotic variety grapes. This variety is no longer produced on a 
commercial basis and the additional tolerance is no longer warranted.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 
has considered the economic impact of this action 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.
    Because California table grapes represent the bulk of U.S. 
production, it can be assumed that an analysis of the effects of the 
proposed rule upon members of the California table grape industry would 
be representative of the entire U.S. industry. According to industry 
statistics, at least 98 percent of U.S. table grapes are produced in 
California. Approximately 35 percent of the U.S. table grape crop is 
exported. There are approximately 550 table grape producers in 
California, and approximately 75 table grape shippers. The number of 
table grape exporters and carriers is unknown.
    Small agricultural producers are defined as those having annual 
receipts of less than $750,000; and small agricultural service firms, 
including shippers, exporters, and carriers, are defined by the Small 
Business Administration (SBA) (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual 
receipts of less than $7,000,000. USDA's National Agricultural 
Statistics Service reports that California table grape production for 
2008 was 724,000 tons, valued at $461 per ton or $333,764,000. Average 
receipts for California's 550 producers would thus be approximately 
$606,844, which is lower than the SBA threshold of $750,000 for small 
producers. According to USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, 367,643 
tons of fresh grapes, valued at $608,757,000, were exported from the 
U.S. in 2008. Assuming that 98 percent of exported grapes were produced 
in California, average 2008 receipts for California's 75 shippers would 
have been $7,954,425, which is higher than the SBA threshold of 
$7,000,000 for small agricultural firms.
    Based upon the preceding calculations, it could be concluded that 
the majority of California (and therefore, U.S.) table grape producers 
would be classified as small entities, and that the majority of 
shippers would be classified as large entities, according to SBA 
definitions. However, the League believes that a small number of 
shippers ship a majority of the volume, and that the majority of 
California table grape shippers should be classified as small entities 
under SBA's standards. No information regarding the receipts or size of 
U.S. table grape exporters and carriers is available.
    This proposed rule is issued under authority of the Export Grape 
and Plum Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 591-599). This rule would amend the 
``Regulations Issued Under Authority of the Export Grape and Plum 
Act''(7 CFR part 35) by changing the minimum bunch weight requirement 
specified in Sec.  35.11(a) for grapes exported to Japan, Europe, and 
Greenland from one-half pound to one-quarter pound. This rule would 
further revise Sec.  35.11(a) by updating the list of European 
countries defined in the regulation. Finally, this rule would revise 
Sec.  35.11(b) by removing the additional 2 percent tolerance for 
sealed berry cracks on the Exotic grape variety.
    The League met on June 24, 2010, and unanimously recommended 
revising the minimum size requirements to allow a one-quarter pound 
minimum bunch size, instead of the one-half pound minimum bunch size 
currently specified in the regulations. The one-quarter pound minimum 
bunch size is specified in the standards for U.S. Fancy Table grade 
grapes, which are incorporated by reference in the regulations. The 
League also recommended updating the list of European countries defined 
in the regulation to reflect the currently recognized names of those 
countries. Finally, the League recommended removing the additional 2 
percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks in the Exotic grape variety. 
This variety is no longer in commercial production, and an additional 
tolerance for defects in that variety is no longer warranted.
    The League believes that adhering to the smaller bunch size 
requirement currently specified in the standards for U.S. Fancy Table 
grade would have a beneficial impact on the entire industry. It is 
difficult to fill the smaller clamshells with the larger bunches of 
grapes, thus limiting the number of clamshells that can be shipped. It 
is easier to fill the clamshells with smaller bunches, which fit into 
the packages better. Therefore, the League believes that the industry 
will be able to ship a greater number of 500 gram clamshells to meet 
market demand. Although they did not identify any potential additional 
costs to making this change, the League believes that the impact of any 
additional costs would be outweighed by the advantage of presenting 
U.S. table grapes in packages most desirable in the retail market. The 
benefits of this action would be a gain in the overall amount of 
product sold and an increase in returns to producers, shippers, 
exporters, and carriers, regardless of size.
    Updating the list of European countries for which the export 
regulations apply and removing the additional 2 percent tolerance for 
sealed berry cracks on the obsolete Exotic variety merely update the 
regulations to reflect current terminology and industry trends. These 
changes are not expected to have any economic impact on large or small 
entities.
    The League recommended that these changes be effective for the 2011 
harvesting season, which begins approximately May 1, 2011. These 
changes would remain in effect on a continuing basis, beginning with 
the 2011 season. These actions would allow for more practical and 
efficient packaging while maintaining the overall quality of exported 
table grapes. These recommended actions are intended to allow shippers 
and exporters to be more competitive in the marketplace, thereby 
selling more product.
    This proposed rule would not impose any additional reporting or 
recordkeeping requirements on either small or large table grape 
shippers, exporters, or carriers. As with all Federal regulatory 
marketing 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.
    USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, 
overlap or conflict with this proposed rule.
    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.

[[Page 77563]]

Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Antoinette 
Carter at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section.
    A 30-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to 
respond to this proposal. Thirty days is deemed appropriate because 
this rule should be in place prior to the 2011 harvesting season, which 
begins approximately May 1, 2011. All written comments timely received 
will be considered before a final determination is made on this matter.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 35

    Administrative practice and procedures, Exports, Grapes, Plums, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 35 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 35--EXPORT GRAPES AND PLUMS

    1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 35 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 48 Stat. 734; 7 U.S.C. 591-599.

    2. In Sec.  35.11, paragraphs (a) and (b) are revised to read as 
follows:


Sec.  35.11  Minimum requirements.

* * * * *
    (a) Any such variety for export to destinations in Japan, Europe 
(defined to mean the following countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, 
Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, 
France, Germany, Greece, Herzegovina, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, 
Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Northern 
Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Slovenia, 
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales), or Greenland shall meet each 
applicable minimum requirement of the U.S. Fancy Table grape grade as 
specified in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Table Grapes (European or 
Vinifera Type) (Sec. Sec.  51.880-51.912 of this title). The Black 
Corinth variety shall be exempt from bunch and berry size requirements.
    (b) Any such variety for export to any foreign destination, other 
than destinations in Japan, Europe, Greenland, Canada, or Mexico, shall 
meet each applicable minimum requirement of the U.S. No. 1 Table grape 
grade as specified in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Table Grapes 
(European or Vinifera Type) (Sec. Sec.  51.880-51.912 of this title), 
except that an additional 2 percent tolerance for sealed berry cracks 
on the Ribier variety is allowed. The Black Corinth variety shall be 
exempt from bunch and berry size requirements.
* * * * *

    Dated: December 7, 2010.
Craig Morris,
Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-31197 Filed 12-10-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P