Dried Prunes Produced in California; Decreased Assessment Rate, 53813-53816 [2011-22119]

Download as PDF srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 168 / Tuesday, August 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations A review of historical information and preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming fiscal period indicates that the Oregon-Washington grower price for the 2011–2012 fiscal period could range between $216 and $283 per ton of processed pears. Therefore, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2011–2012 fiscal period as a percentage of total grower revenue could range between 3.58 and 2.73 percent. This action decreases the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and some of the costs may be passed on to producers. However, decreasing the assessment rate reduces the burden on handlers, and may reduce the burden on producers. In addition, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the Oregon-Washington pear industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the June 2, 2011, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this interim rule, including the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small businesses. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1991 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the order’s information collection requirements have been previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and assigned OMB No. 0581–0189, Generic Fruit Crops. No changes in those requirements as a result of this action are anticipated. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. This action imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large OregonWashington processed pear 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. USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Aug 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/ MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Laurel May 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 is also found and determined upon good cause that it is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest to give preliminary notice prior to putting this rule into effect, and that good cause exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register because: (1) The 2011–2012 fiscal period began on July 1, 2011, and the marketing order requires that the rate of assessment for each fiscal period apply to all assessable pears handled during such fiscal period; (2) this action decreases the assessment rate for assessable processed pears beginning with the 2011–2012 fiscal period; (3) handlers are aware of this action which was unanimously recommended by the Committee at a public meeting and is similar to other assessment rate actions issued in past years; and (4) this interim rule provides a 60-day comment period, and all comments timely received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 927 Marketing agreements, Pears, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 927 is amended as follows: PART 927—PEARS GROWN IN OREGON AND WASHINGTON 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 927 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. In § 927.237, the introductory text and paragraph (a) are revised to read as follows: ■ § 927.237 rate. Processed pear assessment On and after July 1, 2011, the following base rates of assessment for pears for processing are established for the Processed Pear Committee: (a) $7.73 per ton for any or all varieties or subvarieties of pears for PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 53813 canning classified as ‘‘summer/fall’’ excluding pears for other methods of processing; * * * * * Dated: August 19, 2011. David R. Shipman, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2011–22115 Filed 8–29–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 993 [Doc. No. AMS–FV–11–0068; FV11–993–1 IR] Dried Prunes Produced in California; Decreased Assessment Rate Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments. AGENCY: This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the Prune Marketing Committee (Committee) for the 2011–12 and subsequent crop years from $0.27 to $0.22 per ton of salable dried prunes handled. The Committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of dried prunes produced in California. Assessments upon dried prune handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The crop year begins August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. DATES: Effective August 31, 2011. Comments received by October 31, 2011, will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this rule. 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: http:// www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule will be included in the record and SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30AUR1.SGM 30AUR1 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES 53814 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 168 / Tuesday, August 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations 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: Andrea Ricci or Kurt Kimmel, 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: Andrea.Ricci@ams.usda.gov or Kurt.Kimmel@ams.usda.gov. Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Laurel May, 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: Laurel.May@ams.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing Agreement No. 110 and Order No. 993, both as amended (7 CFR part 993), regulating the handling of dried prunes produced in California, hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘order.’’ The order is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601– 674), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’ The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 12866. This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the marketing order now in effect, California dried prune 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 dried prunes beginning August 1, 2011, and continue until amended, suspended, or terminated. 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 VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Aug 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 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 decreases the assessment rate established for the Committee for the 2011–12 and subsequent crop years from $0.27 per to $0.22 per ton of salable dried prunes. The California dried prune 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 California dried prunes. 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 2010–11 and subsequent crop years, the Committee recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue in effect from crop year to crop year 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 June 16, 2011, and unanimously recommended 2011– 12 expenditures of $46,497 and an assessment rate of $0.22 per ton of salable dried prunes. In comparison, last year’s budgeted expenditures were $55,548. The assessment rate of $0.22 is $0.05 lower than the rate currently in effect. The Committee unanimously recommended the lower assessment rate because of a substantial decrease in salaries and wages expense. The current excess funds carried forward and estimated interest income combined with the funds generated from the decreased assessment rate and decreased crop is expected to provide adequate income to cover anticipated 2011–12 year expenses. The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2011–12 year include $20,993 for salaries and wages expense, $9,783 for operating expenses, and $15,721 for contingences. Budgeted expenses for these items in 2010–11 were $31,781, $10,730, and $13,037, respectively. The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by considering the excess funds carried PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 forward into the 2011–12 crop year, the estimated interest income, the estimated salable tons of California dried prunes, and handler assessment revenue needed to meet anticipated expenses. Excess funds carried forward are expected to be about $19,650 and interest income is estimated at $7. Dried prune production for the year is estimated at 122,000 salable tons, which should provide $26,840 in assessment income. In addition, most of the Committee’s expenses reflect its portion of the joint administrative costs of the Committee and the California Dried Plum Board (CDPB). Based on the Committee’s reduced activities in the recent years, it is funding only 5 percent of the shared expenses of the two programs. This funding level is similar to that of last year. The Committee believes that the current excess funds carried forward from the 2010–11 crop year and estimated interest income combined with funds generated from the lower 2011–12 assessment rate and decreased crop will be adequate to cover its anticipated 2011–2012 expenses of $46,497. The Committee is authorized under § 993.81(c) of the order to use excess assessment funds from the 2010–11 crop year (currently estimated at $19,650) for up to 5 months beyond the end of the crop year to meet the 2011–12 crop year expenses. At the end of the 5 months, the Committee either refunds or credits excess funds to handlers. 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 is effective for an indefinite period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each crop year 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 2011–12 budget and those for subsequent crop years will be reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by USDA. E:\FR\FM\30AUR1.SGM 30AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 168 / Tuesday, August 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES 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 rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of business subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in that they are brought about through group action of essentially small entities acting on their own behalf. There are approximately 800 producers of dried prunes in the California area and approximately 21 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $7,000,000. Committee data indicates that about 64 percent of the handlers ship under $7,000,000 worth of dried prunes. Dividing the average dried prune crop value for 2010 reported by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of $149,860,000 by the number of producers (800) yields the average annual producer revenue estimate of about $187,325. Thus, the majority of handlers and California dried prune producers may be classified as small entities. This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the Committee and collected from handlers for the 2011–12 and subsequent crop years from $0.27 to $0.22 per ton of salable dried prunes. The Committee unanimously recommended 2011–12 estimated expenses of $46,497 and a decreased assessment rate of $0.22 per ton of salable dried prunes. The quantity of assessable dried prunes for the 2011–12 crop year is estimated at 122,000 tons. Thus, the $0.22 rate should provide $26,840 in assessment income. The current excess funds carried forward and estimated interest income combined with funds generated from the decreased assessment rate and decreased crop is expected to provide adequate income to cover anticipated 2011–12 crop year expenses. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Aug 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2011–12 crop year include $20,993 for salaries and wages expense, $9,783 for operating expenses, and $15,721 for contingences. Budgeted expenses for these items in 2010–11 were $31,781, $10,730, and $13,037, respectively. The Committee unanimously recommended the lower assessment rate because of a substantial decrease in salaries and wages expense. The current excess funds carried forward and estimated interest income combined with the funds generated from the decreased assessment rate and decreased crop are expected to provide adequate income to cover anticipated 2011–12 year expenses. The Committee discussed alternatives to this rule, including alternative expenditure levels, but determined that the recommended expenses were reasonable and necessary to adequately cover program operations. Prior to arriving at its budget of $46,497, the Committee considered information from various sources, including the Committee’s Executive Subcommittee. The Executive Subcommittee reviewed the administrative expenses shared between the Committee and the CDPB in recent years. According to NASS, the season average producer price was $1,230 in 2009 and $1,180 per ton of salable dried prunes in 2010. A review of this historical data and preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming crop year indicates that the producer prices for the 2011–12 crop year could range between $1,230 and $1,180. Therefore, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2011–12 crop year as a percentage of total producer prices during the 2011–12 crop year could range between 0.018 and 0.019 percent. This action decreases the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and some of the costs may be passed on to producers. However, decreasing the assessment rate reduces the burden on handlers, and may reduce the burden on producers. In addition, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the California dried prune industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the June 16, 2011, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this interim rule, including the regulatory and PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 53815 informational impacts of this action on small businesses. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the order’s information collection requirements have been previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and assigned OMB No. 0581–0178 Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders. No changes in those requirements as a result of this action are necessary. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. This action imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large California dried prune 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. USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule. 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/ MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Laurel May 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 is also found and determined upon good cause that it is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest to give preliminary notice prior to putting this rule into effect, and that good cause exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register because: (1) The 2011–12 crop year begins on August 1, 2011, and the marketing order requires that the rate of assessment for each crop year apply to all assessable dried prunes handled during such crop year; (2) this action decreases the assessment rate for assessable dried prunes beginning with E:\FR\FM\30AUR1.SGM 30AUR1 53816 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 168 / Tuesday, August 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations the 2011–12 crop year; (3) handlers are aware of this action which was unanimously recommended by the Committee at a public meeting and is similar to other assessment rate actions issued in past years; and (4) this interim rule provides a 60-day comment period, and all comments timely received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 993 Marketing agreements, Plums, Prunes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 993 is amended as follows: PART 993—DRIED PRUNES PRODUCED IN CALIFORNIA 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 993 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Section 993.347 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 993.347 Assessment rate. On and after August 1, 2011, an assessment rate of $0.22 per ton is established for California dried prunes. Dated: August 19, 2011. David R. Shipman, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2011–22119 Filed 8–29–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, P.O. Box 831, Beavercreek, Oregon 97004; telephone: (503) 632–8848; facsimile (503) 632–8852; or electronic mail: Maureen.Pello@ams.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background This rule establishes a Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order (Order). The purpose of the Order is to strengthen the position of softwood lumber in the marketplace, maintain and expand markets for softwood lumber, and develop new uses for softwood lumber within the United States. The Order is issued pursuant to the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7411–7425). Corrections In FR Doc. 2011–19491, published August 2, 2011 (76 FR 46185), make the following corrections. 1. On page 46193, in column 2, the words of issuance are corrected to read as follows: For the reasons set forth in the preamble, Title 7, Chapter XI of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended by adding subpart A to part 1217 to read as follows: 2. On page 46194, column 1, the words ‘‘Subpart B—[Reserved]’’ are removed. 3. On page 46202 in column 1, § 1217.88 is revised to read as follows: § 1217.88 OMB Control numbers. The control numbers assigned to the information collection requirements by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, are OMB control number 0505–0001 (Board nominee background statement) and OMB control number 0581–0264. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 1217 [Document Number AMS–FV–10–0015C; FR] RIN 0581–AD03 Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order; Correction Agricultural Marketing Service. ACTION: Corrections to final rule. Dated: August 22, 2011. David R. Shipman, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2011–22150 Filed 8–29–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P AGENCY: This document contains corrections to the final rule published on August 2, 2011 (76 FR 46185), regarding softwood lumber. Corrections are made in the amendatory instruction section and in § 1217.88 of the final rule. srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: Effective Date: August 31, 2011. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maureen T. Pello, Marketing Specialist, Research and Promotion Division, Fruit DATES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Aug 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 14 [Docket No. FDA–2011–N–0002] Advisory Committee; Change of Name and Function; Technical Amendment AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 ACTION: Final rule. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is amending the standing advisory committees’ regulations to change the name and function of the Anesthetic and Life Support Drugs Advisory Committee. This action is being taken to reflect changes made to the charter for this advisory committee. DATES: Effective September 6, 2011. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Philip Bautista, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 31, Rm. 2417, Silver Spring, MD 20993–0002, 301– 796–9001. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FDA is announcing that the name of the Anesthetic and Life Support Drugs Advisory Committee, which was established on May 1, 1978, has been changed. The Agency decided that the name ‘‘Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee’’ would more accurately describe the subject areas for which the committee is responsible. The mandate of the committee is being expanded to include analgesics, e.g., abuse-deterrent opioids, novel analgesics, and opioid abuse. The Committee reviews and evaluates available data concerning the safety and effectiveness of marketed and investigational human drug products including analgesics, e.g., abusedeterrent opioids, novel analgesics, and issues related to opioid abuse, and those for use in anesthesiology. The Anesthetic and Life Support Drugs Advisory Committee name was changed and its functions expanded in the charter renewal dated June 9, 2011. FDA is hereby revising 21 CFR 14.100 (c)(1) to reflect these changes. Publication of this final rule constitutes a final action on this change under the Administrative Procedure Act. Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) and (d) and 21 CFR 10.40(d) and (e), the Agency finds good cause to dispense with notice and public procedure and to proceed to an immediately effective regulation. Such notice and procedures are unnecessary and are not in the public interest, because the final rule is merely codifying the new name and the expanded function of the advisory committee to reflect the current committee charter. SUMMARY: List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 14 Administrative practice and procedure, Advisory committees, Color additives, Drugs, Radiation protection. Therefore, under the Federal Food and Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under E:\FR\FM\30AUR1.SGM 30AUR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 168 (Tuesday, August 30, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 53813-53816]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-22119]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 993

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-11-0068; FV11-993-1 IR]


Dried Prunes Produced in California; Decreased Assessment Rate

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the 
Prune Marketing Committee (Committee) for the 2011-12 and subsequent 
crop years from $0.27 to $0.22 per ton of salable dried prunes handled. 
The Committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates 
the handling of dried prunes produced in California. Assessments upon 
dried prune handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and 
necessary expenses of the program. The crop year begins August 1 and 
ends July 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely 
unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

DATES: Effective August 31, 2011. Comments received by October 31, 
2011, will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments 
concerning this rule. 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: http://www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference the document number and 
the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will 
be available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk 
during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule 
will be included in the record and

[[Page 53814]]

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: Andrea Ricci or Kurt Kimmel, 
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: Andrea.Ricci@ams.usda.gov or 
Kurt.Kimmel@ams.usda.gov.
    Small businesses may request information on complying with this 
regulation by contacting Laurel May, 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: Laurel.May@ams.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing 
Agreement No. 110 and Order No. 993, both as amended (7 CFR part 993), 
regulating the handling of dried prunes produced in California, 
hereinafter referred to as the ``order.'' The order is effective under 
the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 
601-674), hereinafter referred to as the ``Act.''
    The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in 
conformance with Executive Order 12866.
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. Under the marketing order now in effect, California 
dried prune 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 
dried prunes beginning August 1, 2011, and continue until amended, 
suspended, or terminated.
    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 decreases the assessment rate established for the 
Committee for the 2011-12 and subsequent crop years from $0.27 per to 
$0.22 per ton of salable dried prunes.
    The California dried prune 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 
California dried prunes. 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 2010-11 and subsequent crop years, the Committee 
recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue 
in effect from crop year to crop year 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 June 16, 2011, and unanimously recommended 
2011-12 expenditures of $46,497 and an assessment rate of $0.22 per ton 
of salable dried prunes. In comparison, last year's budgeted 
expenditures were $55,548. The assessment rate of $0.22 is $0.05 lower 
than the rate currently in effect.
    The Committee unanimously recommended the lower assessment rate 
because of a substantial decrease in salaries and wages expense. The 
current excess funds carried forward and estimated interest income 
combined with the funds generated from the decreased assessment rate 
and decreased crop is expected to provide adequate income to cover 
anticipated 2011-12 year expenses.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2011-12 
year include $20,993 for salaries and wages expense, $9,783 for 
operating expenses, and $15,721 for contingences. Budgeted expenses for 
these items in 2010-11 were $31,781, $10,730, and $13,037, 
respectively.
    The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by 
considering the excess funds carried forward into the 2011-12 crop 
year, the estimated interest income, the estimated salable tons of 
California dried prunes, and handler assessment revenue needed to meet 
anticipated expenses. Excess funds carried forward are expected to be 
about $19,650 and interest income is estimated at $7. Dried prune 
production for the year is estimated at 122,000 salable tons, which 
should provide $26,840 in assessment income. In addition, most of the 
Committee's expenses reflect its portion of the joint administrative 
costs of the Committee and the California Dried Plum Board (CDPB). 
Based on the Committee's reduced activities in the recent years, it is 
funding only 5 percent of the shared expenses of the two programs. This 
funding level is similar to that of last year. The Committee believes 
that the current excess funds carried forward from the 2010-11 crop 
year and estimated interest income combined with funds generated from 
the lower 2011-12 assessment rate and decreased crop will be adequate 
to cover its anticipated 2011-2012 expenses of $46,497.
    The Committee is authorized under Sec.  993.81(c) of the order to 
use excess assessment funds from the 2010-11 crop year (currently 
estimated at $19,650) for up to 5 months beyond the end of the crop 
year to meet the 2011-12 crop year expenses. At the end of the 5 
months, the Committee either refunds or credits excess funds to 
handlers.
    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 is effective for an indefinite 
period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each 
crop year 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 2011-12 budget and those 
for subsequent crop years will be reviewed and, as appropriate, 
approved by USDA.

[[Page 53815]]

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 rule on small entities. 
Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
business subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued 
pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in 
that they are brought about through group action of essentially small 
entities acting on their own behalf.
    There are approximately 800 producers of dried prunes in the 
California area and approximately 21 handlers subject to regulation 
under the marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by 
the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 121.201) as those having 
annual receipts less than $750,000, and small agricultural service 
firms are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than 
$7,000,000.
    Committee data indicates that about 64 percent of the handlers ship 
under $7,000,000 worth of dried prunes. Dividing the average dried 
prune crop value for 2010 reported by the National Agricultural 
Statistics Service (NASS) of $149,860,000 by the number of producers 
(800) yields the average annual producer revenue estimate of about 
$187,325. Thus, the majority of handlers and California dried prune 
producers may be classified as small entities.
    This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the 
Committee and collected from handlers for the 2011-12 and subsequent 
crop years from $0.27 to $0.22 per ton of salable dried prunes. The 
Committee unanimously recommended 2011-12 estimated expenses of $46,497 
and a decreased assessment rate of $0.22 per ton of salable dried 
prunes.
    The quantity of assessable dried prunes for the 2011-12 crop year 
is estimated at 122,000 tons. Thus, the $0.22 rate should provide 
$26,840 in assessment income. The current excess funds carried forward 
and estimated interest income combined with funds generated from the 
decreased assessment rate and decreased crop is expected to provide 
adequate income to cover anticipated 2011-12 crop year expenses.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2011-12 
crop year include $20,993 for salaries and wages expense, $9,783 for 
operating expenses, and $15,721 for contingences. Budgeted expenses for 
these items in 2010-11 were $31,781, $10,730, and $13,037, 
respectively.
    The Committee unanimously recommended the lower assessment rate 
because of a substantial decrease in salaries and wages expense. The 
current excess funds carried forward and estimated interest income 
combined with the funds generated from the decreased assessment rate 
and decreased crop are expected to provide adequate income to cover 
anticipated 2011-12 year expenses.
    The Committee discussed alternatives to this rule, including 
alternative expenditure levels, but determined that the recommended 
expenses were reasonable and necessary to adequately cover program 
operations. Prior to arriving at its budget of $46,497, the Committee 
considered information from various sources, including the Committee's 
Executive Subcommittee. The Executive Subcommittee reviewed the 
administrative expenses shared between the Committee and the CDPB in 
recent years.
    According to NASS, the season average producer price was $1,230 in 
2009 and $1,180 per ton of salable dried prunes in 2010. A review of 
this historical data and preliminary information pertaining to the 
upcoming crop year indicates that the producer prices for the 2011-12 
crop year could range between $1,230 and $1,180. Therefore, the 
estimated assessment revenue for the 2011-12 crop year as a percentage 
of total producer prices during the 2011-12 crop year could range 
between 0.018 and 0.019 percent.
    This action decreases the assessment obligation imposed on 
handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and some 
of the costs may be passed on to producers. However, decreasing the 
assessment rate reduces the burden on handlers, and may reduce the 
burden on producers. In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely 
publicized throughout the California dried prune industry and all 
interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate 
in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, 
the June 16, 2011, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both 
large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Finally, 
interested persons are invited to submit comments on this interim rule, 
including the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on 
small businesses.
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the order's information collection requirements have been 
previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and 
assigned OMB No. 0581-0178 Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing 
Orders. No changes in those requirements as a result of this action are 
necessary. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted 
to OMB for approval.
    This action imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large California dried prune 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.
    USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, 
overlap, or conflict with this rule.
    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/MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide. Any questions 
about the compliance guide should be sent to Laurel May 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 is also found and determined upon good 
cause that it is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public 
interest to give preliminary notice prior to putting this rule into 
effect, and that good cause exists for not postponing the effective 
date of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal 
Register because: (1) The 2011-12 crop year begins on August 1, 2011, 
and the marketing order requires that the rate of assessment for each 
crop year apply to all assessable dried prunes handled during such crop 
year; (2) this action decreases the assessment rate for assessable 
dried prunes beginning with

[[Page 53816]]

the 2011-12 crop year; (3) handlers are aware of this action which was 
unanimously recommended by the Committee at a public meeting and is 
similar to other assessment rate actions issued in past years; and (4) 
this interim rule provides a 60-day comment period, and all comments 
timely received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 993

    Marketing agreements, Plums, Prunes, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 993 is 
amended as follows:

PART 993--DRIED PRUNES PRODUCED IN CALIFORNIA

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 993 continues to read as 
follows:


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


0
2. Section 993.347 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  993.347  Assessment rate.

    On and after August 1, 2011, an assessment rate of $0.22 per ton is 
established for California dried prunes.

    Dated: August 19, 2011.
David R. Shipman,
Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-22119 Filed 8-29-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P