Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order; Referendum Procedures, 67979-67983 [2013-27107]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 13, 2013 / Proposed Rules Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Jeffrey Smutny at the previously-mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. A 15-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposed rule. Fifteen days is deemed appropriate because: (1) The 2013–14 fiscal period began on August 1, 2013, with shipments beginning in September, and the marketing order requires that the rate of assessment for each fiscal period apply to all assessable Florida citrus handled during such fiscal period; (2) the Committee needs to have sufficient funds to pay its expenses, which are incurred on a continuous basis; and (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. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 905 Grapefruit, Oranges, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Tangelos, Tangerines. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 905 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 905—ORANGES, GRAPEFRUIT, TANGERINES, AND TANGELOS GROWN IN FLORIDA 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 905 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Section 905.235 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 905.235 Assessment rate. On and after August 1, 2013, an assessment rate of $0.009 per 4/5 bushel carton or equivalent is established for Florida citrus covered under the order. Dated: November 5, 2013. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2013–27018 Filed 11–12–13; 8:45 am] emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3410–02–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:16 Nov 12, 2013 Jkt 232001 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 1211 [Document Number AMS–FV–11–0074; PR–B] RIN 0581–AD24 Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order; Referendum Procedures Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: This proposed rule invites comments on procedures for conducting a referendum to determine whether issuance of a proposed Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order (Order) is favored by domestic manufacturers of hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood. Hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood are used in products like flooring, furniture, moldings, doors, and kitchen cabinets. The procedures would also be used for any subsequent referendum under the Order. The proposed Order is being published separately in this issue of the Federal Register. This proposed rule also announces the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) intent to request approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of new information collection requirements to implement the program. DATES: Comments must be received by January 13, 2014. Pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), comments on the information collection burden that would result from this proposal must be received by January 13, 2014. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this rule. Comments may be submitted on the Internet at: https:// www.regulations.gov or to the Promotion and Economics Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1406–S, Stop 0244, Washington, DC 20250–0244; facsimile: (202) 205–2800. 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, including name and address, if provided, in the above office during regular business hours or it can be viewed at https://www.regulations.gov. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 67979 Pursuant to the PRA, comments regarding the accuracy of the burden estimate, ways to minimize the burden, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, or any other aspect of this collection of information, should be sent to the above address. In addition, comments concerning the information collection should also be sent to the Desk Office for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, New Executive Office Building, 725 17th Street NW., Room 725, Washington, DC 20503. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia A. Petrella, Marketing Specialist, Promotion and Economics Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1406, Stop 0244, Washington, DC 20250–0244; telephone: (301) 334–2891; facsimile (301) 334– 2896; or electronic mail: Patricia.Petrella@ams.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposed rule is issued pursuant to the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act) (7 U.S.C. 7411–7425). Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This action has been designated as ‘‘non-significant regulatory action’’ under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, OMB has waived the review process. Executive Order 13175 This action has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this regulation would not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal governments and would not have significant Tribal implications. Executive Order 12988 This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. It is not intended to have retroactive effect. Section 524 of the 1996 Act provides that it shall not E:\FR\FM\13NOP1.SGM 13NOP1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 67980 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 13, 2013 / Proposed Rules affect or preempt any other Federal or state law authorizing promotion or research relating to an agricultural commodity. Under section 519 of the 1996 Act, a person subject to an order may file a written petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stating that an order, any provision of an order, or any obligation imposed in connection with an order, is not established in accordance with the law, and request a modification of an order or an exemption from an order. Any petition filed challenging an order, any provision of an order, or any obligation imposed in connection with an order, shall be filed within two years after the effective date of an order, provision, or obligation subject to challenge in the petition. The petitioner will have the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. Thereafter, USDA will issue a ruling on the petition. The 1996 Act provides that the district court of the United States for any district in which the petitioner resides or conducts business shall have the jurisdiction to review a final ruling on the petition, if the petitioner files a complaint for that purpose not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of USDA’s final ruling. This proposed rule invites comments on procedures for conducting a referendum to determine whether manufacturers of hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood favor issuance of a proposed hardwood lumber and plywood Order. Hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood are used in products like flooring, furniture, moldings, doors, and kitchen cabinets. USDA would conduct the referendum. The program would be implemented if it is approved by a majority of the volume of covered hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood represented in the referendum by those who, during a representative period determined by the Secretary, were engaged in the manufacturing of covered hardwood lumber. Covered hardwood is defined in this proposed rule and includes hardwood lumber, hardwood lumber products, hardwood value-added lumber products, and hardwood plywood. The procedures would also be used for any subsequent referendum under the Order. The proposed Order is being published separately in this issue of the Federal Register. This proposal also announces AMS’s intent to request approval by the OMB of new information collection requirements to implement the program. The 1996 Act authorizes USDA to establish agricultural commodity research and promotion orders which may include a combination of promotion, research, industry VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:16 Nov 12, 2013 Jkt 232001 information, and consumer information activities funded by mandatory assessments. These programs are designed to maintain and expand markets and uses for agricultural commodities. As defined under Section 513(1)(D) of the 1996 Act, agricultural commodities include the products of forestry, which includes hardwood lumber. The 1996 Act provides for alternatives within the terms of a variety of provisions. Paragraph (e) of Section 518 of the 1996 Act provides three options for determining industry approval of a new research and promotion program: (1) By a majority of those persons voting; (2) by persons voting for approval who represent a majority of the volume of the agricultural commodity; or (3) by a majority of those persons voting for approval who also represent a majority of the volume of the agricultural commodity. In addition, Section 518 of the 1996 Act provides for referenda to ascertain approval of an order to be conducted either prior to its going into effect or within three years after assessments first begin under an order. USDA received a proposal for a national research and promotion program for hardwood lumber from the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC). The BRC is a committee of 14 industry leaders that manufacture covered hardwood lumber. Hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood are used in products like flooring, furniture, moldings, doors, and kitchen cabinets. The program would be financed by an assessment on hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers and would be administered by a board of industry members selected by the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary). The initial assessment rate would be: (1) $1.00 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood lumber and hardwood lumber products; (2) $.75 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood lumber value added products; and (3) $3.00 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood plywood. These assessments should generate about $10 million annually. The program would exempt those hardwood lumber manufacturers with annual sales of less than $2 million and hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of less than $10 million. Exports from the United States would also be exempt from assessments. The purpose of the program would be to strengthen the position of hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood in the marketplace, maintain and expand markets for hardwood lumber and plywood. The BRC proposed that a referendum be held among eligible manufacturers to determine whether they favor PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 implementation of the program prior to it going into effect. The BRC recommended that the program would be implemented if it is approved by a majority of the volume of covered hardwood lumber represented in the referendum by those who, during a representative period determined by the Secretary, were engaged in the manufacturing of covered hardwood lumber. Hardwood lumber manufacturers with annual sales of $2 million or more and hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of $10 million or more annually would be eligible to vote in the referendum. Accordingly, this rule would add subpart B to part 1211 that would establish procedures for conducting the referendum. The procedures would cover definitions, voting instructions, use of subagents, ballots, the referendum report, and confidentiality of information. The procedures would be applicable for the initial referendum and future referenda. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601– 612), AMS is required to examine the impact of the proposed rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions so that small businesses will not be disproportionately burdened. The Small Business Administration defines, in 13 CFR Part 121, small agricultural producers as those having annual receipts of no more than $750,000 and small agricultural service firms (manufacturers) as those having annual receipts of no more than $7.0 million. According to information submitted by the proponents, it is estimated that there are 2,804 hardwood lumber manufacturers and 36 hardwood plywood manufacturers in the United States annually. This number represents separate business entities and includes exempted and assessed entities under the Order; one business entity may include multiple sawmills. It is estimated that 85 to 90 percent of the manufacturers are small businesses. Regarding the economic impact of the proposed Order on affected entities, hardwood lumber domestic manufacturers and hardwood plywood manufacturers would be required to pay assessments to the Board. As previously mentioned, the initial assessment rate would be: (1) $1.00 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood lumber and hardwood E:\FR\FM\13NOP1.SGM 13NOP1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 13, 2013 / Proposed Rules lumber products; (2) $.75 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood lumber value added products; and (3) $3.00 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood plywood. The percentage of revenue represented by the assessment rate would be 0.01 percent for sales of hardwood lumber and hardwood lumber products, 0.0075 percent for sales of hardwood lumber value added products, and 0.03 percent for sales of hardwood plywood. Thus, the percentage revenue represented by the assessment rate would be well under one percent of sales. Any change in the assessment rate may be changed only upon approval of the Board and only after the Secretary has conducted notice and comment rulemaking. The Order would provide for an exemption for hardwood lumber, products, value-added products manufacturers for the U.S. market with annual sales less than $2 million of any assessed product combined during a fiscal year. In addition, hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of less than $10 million during a fiscal year are exempt from paying assessments. Regarding the impact on the industry as a whole, the proposed program is expected to grow markets for hardwood lumber and plywood by increasing the market share in residential, commercial and industrial product areas. While the benefits of the proposed program are difficult to quantify, the benefits are expected to outweigh the program’s costs of approximately $10 million per year, which is less than one percent of sales. Academic researchers have estimated benefit-to-cost ratios for promotion programs across a broad range of commodities in the range of 4:1 to 6:1, indicating that for each dollar of promotion at least 4 to 6 times that amount is generated in new revenues, profit, or ‘‘economic surplus’’ to the industry.1 This proposed rule invites comments on procedures for conducting a referendum to determine whether hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers favor issuance of a proposed hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood Order. Hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood are used in products like flooring, furniture, moldings, doors and kitchen cabinets. USDA would conduct the referendum. The program would be implemented if it is approved by a majority of the volume of covered hardwood lumber represented in the referendum by those 1 Ward, Ronald, Commodity Checkoff Programs and Generic Advertising Choices, 2nd Quarter 2006, 21(2). VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:16 Nov 12, 2013 Jkt 232001 who, during a representative period determined by the Secretary, were engaged in the manufacturing of covered hardwood lumber. The procedures would also be used for any subsequent referendum under the Order. The procedures are authorized under paragraph (e) of Section 518 the 1996 Act. Regarding the economic impact of this rule on affected entities, eligible hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers would have the opportunity to participate in the referendum. The Order would provide for an exemption for hardwood lumber, products, value-added products manufacturers for the U.S. market with annual sales less than $2 million of any assessed product combined during a fiscal year. In addition, hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of less than $10 million during a fiscal year are exempt from paying assessments. Exempt manufacturers would not be eligible to participate in the referendum. It is estimated that 1,340 hardwood lumber manufacturers and 10 hardwood plywood manufacturers would pay assessments under the Order and thus be eligible to vote in the referendum. Voting in the referendum is optional. If hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers chose to vote, the burden of voting would be offset by the benefits of having the opportunity to vote on whether or not they want to be covered by the program. Regarding alternatives, USDA considered requiring eligible voters to vote in person at various USDA offices across the country. USDA also considered electronic voting, but the use of computers is not universal. Conducting the referendum from one central location by mail ballot would be more cost effective and reliable. USDA would provide easy access to information for potential voters through a toll free telephone line. This action would impose an additional reporting burden on eligible hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers. Eligible manufacturers would have the opportunity to complete and submit a ballot to USDA indicating whether or not they favor implementation of the proposed Order. The specific burden for the ballot is detailed later in this document in the section titled Paperwork Reduction Act. As with all Federal promotion programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. Finally, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 67981 that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule. 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. Regarding outreach efforts, USDA would keep these individuals informed throughout the program implementation and referendum process to ensure that they are aware of and are able to participate in the program implementation process. USDA would also publicize information regarding the referendum process so that trade associations and related industry media can be kept informed. USDA has performed this initial RFA analysis regarding the impact of this proposed rule on small businesses. Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the referendum ballot, which represents the information collection and recordkeeping requirements that may be imposed by this rule, has been submitted to OMB for approval. Title: Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Program (Referendum Ballot). OMB Number: 0581–NEW. Expiration Date of Approval: 3 years from OMB date of approval. Type of Request: New information collection for research and promotion programs. Abstract: The information collection requirements in the request are essential to carry out the intent of the 1996 Act. The information collection concerns a proposal received by USDA for a national research and promotion program for hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood. The program would be financed by an assessment on hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers. The program would exempt those hardwood lumber manufacturers with annual sales of less than $2 million and hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of less than $10 million. Exports from the United States would also be exempt from assessments. A referendum would be held among eligible manufacturers to determine whether they favor implementation of the program prior to it going into effect. The purpose of the program would be to strengthen the position of hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood in the marketplace, E:\FR\FM\13NOP1.SGM 13NOP1 67982 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 13, 2013 / Proposed Rules emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS maintain and expand markets for hardwood lumber and plywood. The information collection requirements in this proposed rule concern the referendum that would be held to determine whether the program is favored by the industry. Hardwood lumber manufacturers with annual sales of $2 million or more and hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of $10 million or more annually would be eligible to vote in the referendum. The ballot would be completed by eligible manufacturers who want to indicate whether or not they support implementation of the program. Referendum Ballot Estimate of Burden: Public recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.25 hour per application. Respondents: Hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers. Estimated Number of Respondents: 1350 (1340 hardwood lumber manufacturers and 10 hardwood plywood manufacturers). Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1 every 5 years (0.2). Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 67.50 hours. The ballot would be added to the other information collections approved under OMB No. 0581–NEW. An estimated 1350 respondents would provide information to the Board (1340 hardwood lumber manufacturers and 10 hardwood plywood manufacturers). The estimated cost of providing the information to the Board by respondents would be $2,227.50. This total has been estimated by multiplying 67.50 total hours required for reporting and recordkeeping by $38, the average mean hourly earnings of various occupations involved in keeping this information. Data for computation of this hourly wage were obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, publication, ‘‘May 2011 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates in the United States’’, updated March 29, 2012. The proposed Order’s provisions have been carefully reviewed, and every effort has been made to minimize any unnecessary recordkeeping costs or requirements. Request for Public Comment Under the Paperwork Reduction Act Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the proposed Order and USDA’s oversight of the proposed Order, including whether the VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:16 Nov 12, 2013 Jkt 232001 information would have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of USDA’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) the accuracy of USDA’s estimate of the principal manufacturing areas in the United States for hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood lumber; (d) the accuracy of USDA’s estimate of the number of hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers that would be covered under the program; (e) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (f) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments concerning the information collection requirements contained in this action should reference OMB No. 0581–NEW. In addition, the document number, date, and page number of this issue of the Federal Register also should be referenced. Comments should be sent to the same addresses referenced in the ADDRESSES section of this proposed rule. A 60-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to comment on this proposed information collection. All written comments received will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1211 Administrative practice and procedure, Advertising, Consumer information, Marketing agreements, Hardwood lumber, Hardwood plywood, Promotion, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, it is proposed that Title 7, Chapter XI of the Code of Federal Regulations, as proposed to be amended elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, be further amended as follows: PART 1211—HARDWOOD LUMBER AND HARDWOOD PLYWOOD PROMOTION, RESEARCH AND INFORMATION ORDER 1. The authority citation for part 1211 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7411–7425; 7 U.S.C. 7401. 2. Subpart B of 7 CFR part 1211 is added to read as follows: ■ Subpart B—Referendum Procedures Sec. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 1211.100 1211.101 1211.102 1211.103 1211.104 1211.105 1211.106 1211.107 1211.108 General. Definitions. Voting. Instructions. Subagents. Ballots. Referendum report. Confidential information. OMB Control number. Subpart B—Referendum Procedures § 1211.100 General. Referenda to determine whether eligible hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers favor the issuance, continuance, amendment, suspension, or termination of the Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order shall be conducted in accordance with this subpart. § 1211.101 Definitions. For the purposes of this subpart: (a) Administrator means the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service, with power to delegate, or any officer or employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to whom authority has been delegated or may hereafter be delegated to act in the Administrator’s stead. (b) Department or USDA means the U.S. Department of Agriculture or any officer or employee of the Department to whom authority has heretofore been delegated, or to whom authority may hereafter be delegated, to act in the Secretary’s stead. (c) Covered hardwood means hardwood lumber, hardwood lumber products, hardwood value-added lumber products, and hardwood plywood to which an assessment has been or may be levied pursuant to the Order. (d) Eligible hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturer means any current hardwood lumber manufacturer with annual sales of $2 million or more and current hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of $10 million or more in the United States during the representative period. (e) Hardwood lumber means timber from the wood of a cypress tree or a deciduous, broad-leafed tree (including but not limited to aspen, birch, cypress, poplar, maple, cherry, walnut, and oak) that has been sawn into boards or blocks by a sawmill in the United States. (f) Hardwood plywood means a panel product, the decorative face of which is made from hardwood veneer intended for interior use composed of an assembly of layers or plies of veneer or veneers in combination with lumber core, particleboard, medium density E:\FR\FM\13NOP1.SGM 13NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 13, 2013 / Proposed Rules fiberboard core, hardboard core, or special core or special back material joined with an adhesive. (g) Manufacturing means the process of transforming logs into hardwood lumber, or the process of creating hardwood lumber products, valueadded hardwood lumber products, or hardwood plywood. (h) Order means the Hardwood Lumber Promotion, Research and Information Order. (i) Person means any individual, group of individuals, partnership, corporation, association, cooperative, or any other legal entity. For the purpose of this definition, the term ‘‘partnership’’ includes, but is not limited to: (1) A spouse who has title to, or leasehold interest in, a hardwood lumber manufacturing entity as tenants in common, joint tenants, tenants by the entirety, or, under community property laws, as community property; and (2) So called ‘‘joint ventures’’ wherein one or more parties to an agreement, informal or otherwise, contributed land, facilities, capital, labor, management, equipment, or other services, or any variation of such contributions by two or more parties, so that it results in the manufacturing of covered hardwood lumber and the authority to transfer title to the hardwood lumber so manufactured. (j) Referendum agent or agent means the individual or individuals designated by the Secretary to conduct the referendum. (k) Representative period means the period designated by the Department. (l) United States means collectively the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories and possessions of the United States. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS § 1211.102 Voting. (a) Each eligible manufacturer of covered hardwood lumber shall be entitled to cast only one ballot in the referendum. However, each manufacturer in a landlord/tenant relationship or a divided ownership arrangement involving totally independent entities cooperating only to manufacture covered hardwood lumber, in which more than one of the parties is a manufacturer, shall be entitled to cast one ballot in the referendum covering only such manufacturer’s share of ownership. (b) Proxy voting is not authorized, but an officer or employee of an eligible corporate manufacturer, or an administrator, executor or trustee of an eligible entity may cast a ballot on behalf of such entity. Any individual so VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:16 Nov 12, 2013 Jkt 232001 voting in a referendum shall certify that such individual is an officer or employee of the eligible entity, or an administrator, executive, or trustee of an eligible entity and that such individual has the authority to take such action. Upon request of the referendum agent, the individual shall submit adequate evidence of such authority. (c) A single entity who manufactures covered hardwood lumber may cast one vote in the referendum. (d) All ballots are to be cast by mail or other means, as instructed by the Department. § 1211.103 Instructions. The referendum agent shall conduct the referendum, in the manner provided in this subpart, under the supervision of the Administrator. The Administrator may prescribe additional instructions, consistent with the provisions of this subpart, to govern the procedure to be followed by the referendum agent. Such agent shall: (a) Determine the period during which ballots may be cast; (b) Provide ballots and related material to be used in the referendum. The ballot shall provide for recording essential information, including that needed for ascertaining whether the person voting, or on whose behalf the vote is cast, is an eligible voter; (c) Give reasonable public notice of the referendum: (1) By using available media or public information sources, without incurring advertising expense, to publicize the dates, places, method of voting, eligibility requirements, and other pertinent information. Such sources of publicity may include, but are not limited to, print and radio; and (2) By such other means as the agent may deem advisable. (d) Mail to eligible manufacturers whose names and addresses are known to the referendum agent, the instructions on voting, a ballot, and a summary of the terms and conditions of the proposed Order. No person who claims to be eligible to vote shall be refused a ballot; (e) At the end of the voting period, collect, open, number, and review the ballots and tabulate the results in the presence of an agent of a third party authorized to monitor the referendum process; (f) Prepare a report on the referendum; and (g) Announce the results to the public. § 1211.104 Subagents. The referendum agent may appoint any individual or individuals necessary or desirable to assist the agent in PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 67983 performing such agent’s functions of this subpart. Each individual so appointed may be authorized by the agent to perform any or all of the functions which, in the absence of such appointment, shall be performed by the agent. § 1211.105 Ballots. The referendum agent and subagents shall accept all ballots cast. However, if an agent or subagent deems that a ballot should be challenged for any reason, the agent or subagent shall endorse above their signature, on the ballot, a statement to the effect that such ballot was challenged, by whom challenged, the reasons therefore, the results of any investigations made with respect thereto, and the disposition thereof. Ballots invalid under this subpart shall not be counted. § 1211.106 Referendum report. Except as otherwise directed, the referendum agent shall prepare and submit to the Administrator a report on the results of the referendum, the manner in which it was conducted, the extent and kind of public notice given, and other information pertinent to the analysis of the referendum and its results. § 1211.107 Confidential information. The ballots and other information or reports that reveal, or tend to reveal, the vote of any person covered under the Order and the voter list shall be strictly confidential and shall not be disclosed. § 1211.108 OMB control number. The control number assigned to the information collection requirement in this subpart by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. is OMB control number 0581– NEW. Dated: November 6, 2013. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator. [FR Doc. 2013–27107 Filed 11–12–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 121 [Docket No. FAA–2013–0944] Proposed Legal Interpretation Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ACTION: Proposed legal interpretation. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\13NOP1.SGM 13NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 219 (Wednesday, November 13, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 67979-67983]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-27107]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 1211

[Document Number AMS-FV-11-0074; PR-B]
RIN 0581-AD24


Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and 
Information Order; Referendum Procedures

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: This proposed rule invites comments on procedures for 
conducting a referendum to determine whether issuance of a proposed 
Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and 
Information Order (Order) is favored by domestic manufacturers of 
hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood. Hardwood lumber and hardwood 
plywood are used in products like flooring, furniture, moldings, doors, 
and kitchen cabinets. The procedures would also be used for any 
subsequent referendum under the Order. The proposed Order is being 
published separately in this issue of the Federal Register. This 
proposed rule also announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) 
intent to request approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
of new information collection requirements to implement the program.

DATES: Comments must be received by January 13, 2014. Pursuant to the 
Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), comments on the information collection 
burden that would result from this proposal must be received by January 
13, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments 
concerning this rule. Comments may be submitted on the Internet at: 
https://www.regulations.gov or to the Promotion and Economics Division, 
Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
Room 1406-S, Stop 0244, Washington, DC 20250-0244; facsimile: (202) 
205-2800. 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, including name and address, if 
provided, in the above office during regular business hours or it can 
be viewed at https://www.regulations.gov.
    Pursuant to the PRA, comments regarding the accuracy of the burden 
estimate, ways to minimize the burden, including the use of automated 
collection techniques or other forms of information technology, or any 
other aspect of this collection of information, should be sent to the 
above address. In addition, comments concerning the information 
collection should also be sent to the Desk Office for Agriculture, 
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, New Executive Office 
Building, 725 17th Street NW., Room 725, Washington, DC 20503.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia A. Petrella, Marketing 
Specialist, Promotion and Economics Division, Fruit and Vegetable 
Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1406, Stop 0244, 
Washington, DC 20250-0244; telephone: (301) 334-2891; facsimile (301) 
334-2896; or electronic mail: Patricia.Petrella@ams.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposed rule is issued pursuant to the 
Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act) (7 
U.S.C. 7411-7425).

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive 
Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting 
flexibility. This action has been designated as ``non-significant 
regulatory action'' under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. 
Accordingly, OMB has waived the review process.

Executive Order 13175

    This action has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements 
of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian 
Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this regulation would not 
have substantial and direct effects on Tribal governments and would not 
have significant Tribal implications.

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. It is not intended to have retroactive effect. 
Section 524 of the 1996 Act provides that it shall not

[[Page 67980]]

affect or preempt any other Federal or state law authorizing promotion 
or research relating to an agricultural commodity.
    Under section 519 of the 1996 Act, a person subject to an order may 
file a written petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
stating that an order, any provision of an order, or any obligation 
imposed in connection with an order, is not established in accordance 
with the law, and request a modification of an order or an exemption 
from an order. Any petition filed challenging an order, any provision 
of an order, or any obligation imposed in connection with an order, 
shall be filed within two years after the effective date of an order, 
provision, or obligation subject to challenge in the petition. The 
petitioner will have the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. 
Thereafter, USDA will issue a ruling on the petition. The 1996 Act 
provides that the district court of the United States for any district 
in which the petitioner resides or conducts business shall have the 
jurisdiction to review a final ruling on the petition, if the 
petitioner files a complaint for that purpose not later than 20 days 
after the date of the entry of USDA's final ruling.
    This proposed rule invites comments on procedures for conducting a 
referendum to determine whether manufacturers of hardwood lumber and 
hardwood plywood favor issuance of a proposed hardwood lumber and 
plywood Order. Hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood are used in 
products like flooring, furniture, moldings, doors, and kitchen 
cabinets. USDA would conduct the referendum. The program would be 
implemented if it is approved by a majority of the volume of covered 
hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood represented in the referendum by 
those who, during a representative period determined by the Secretary, 
were engaged in the manufacturing of covered hardwood lumber. Covered 
hardwood is defined in this proposed rule and includes hardwood lumber, 
hardwood lumber products, hardwood value-added lumber products, and 
hardwood plywood. The procedures would also be used for any subsequent 
referendum under the Order. The proposed Order is being published 
separately in this issue of the Federal Register. This proposal also 
announces AMS's intent to request approval by the OMB of new 
information collection requirements to implement the program.
    The 1996 Act authorizes USDA to establish agricultural commodity 
research and promotion orders which may include a combination of 
promotion, research, industry information, and consumer information 
activities funded by mandatory assessments. These programs are designed 
to maintain and expand markets and uses for agricultural commodities. 
As defined under Section 513(1)(D) of the 1996 Act, agricultural 
commodities include the products of forestry, which includes hardwood 
lumber.
    The 1996 Act provides for alternatives within the terms of a 
variety of provisions. Paragraph (e) of Section 518 of the 1996 Act 
provides three options for determining industry approval of a new 
research and promotion program: (1) By a majority of those persons 
voting; (2) by persons voting for approval who represent a majority of 
the volume of the agricultural commodity; or (3) by a majority of those 
persons voting for approval who also represent a majority of the volume 
of the agricultural commodity. In addition, Section 518 of the 1996 Act 
provides for referenda to ascertain approval of an order to be 
conducted either prior to its going into effect or within three years 
after assessments first begin under an order.
    USDA received a proposal for a national research and promotion 
program for hardwood lumber from the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC). The 
BRC is a committee of 14 industry leaders that manufacture covered 
hardwood lumber. Hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood are used in 
products like flooring, furniture, moldings, doors, and kitchen 
cabinets. The program would be financed by an assessment on hardwood 
lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers and would be administered by 
a board of industry members selected by the Secretary of Agriculture 
(Secretary). The initial assessment rate would be: (1) $1.00 per $1,000 
in sales of hardwood lumber and hardwood lumber products; (2) $.75 per 
$1,000 in sales of hardwood lumber value added products; and (3) $3.00 
per $1,000 in sales of hardwood plywood. These assessments should 
generate about $10 million annually. The program would exempt those 
hardwood lumber manufacturers with annual sales of less than $2 million 
and hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of less than $10 
million. Exports from the United States would also be exempt from 
assessments. The purpose of the program would be to strengthen the 
position of hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood in the marketplace, 
maintain and expand markets for hardwood lumber and plywood.
    The BRC proposed that a referendum be held among eligible 
manufacturers to determine whether they favor implementation of the 
program prior to it going into effect. The BRC recommended that the 
program would be implemented if it is approved by a majority of the 
volume of covered hardwood lumber represented in the referendum by 
those who, during a representative period determined by the Secretary, 
were engaged in the manufacturing of covered hardwood lumber. Hardwood 
lumber manufacturers with annual sales of $2 million or more and 
hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of $10 million or more 
annually would be eligible to vote in the referendum.
    Accordingly, this rule would add subpart B to part 1211 that would 
establish procedures for conducting the referendum. The procedures 
would cover definitions, voting instructions, use of subagents, 
ballots, the referendum report, and confidentiality of information. The 
procedures would be applicable for the initial referendum and future 
referenda.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 
601-612), AMS is required to examine the impact of the proposed rule on 
small entities. Accordingly, AMS has considered the economic impact of 
this action on small entities.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses subject to such actions so that small businesses will not be 
disproportionately burdened. The Small Business Administration defines, 
in 13 CFR Part 121, small agricultural producers as those having annual 
receipts of no more than $750,000 and small agricultural service firms 
(manufacturers) as those having annual receipts of no more than $7.0 
million.
    According to information submitted by the proponents, it is 
estimated that there are 2,804 hardwood lumber manufacturers and 36 
hardwood plywood manufacturers in the United States annually. This 
number represents separate business entities and includes exempted and 
assessed entities under the Order; one business entity may include 
multiple sawmills. It is estimated that 85 to 90 percent of the 
manufacturers are small businesses.
    Regarding the economic impact of the proposed Order on affected 
entities, hardwood lumber domestic manufacturers and hardwood plywood 
manufacturers would be required to pay assessments to the Board. As 
previously mentioned, the initial assessment rate would be: (1) $1.00 
per $1,000 in sales of hardwood lumber and hardwood

[[Page 67981]]

lumber products; (2) $.75 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood lumber value 
added products; and (3) $3.00 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood plywood. 
The percentage of revenue represented by the assessment rate would be 
0.01 percent for sales of hardwood lumber and hardwood lumber products, 
0.0075 percent for sales of hardwood lumber value added products, and 
0.03 percent for sales of hardwood plywood. Thus, the percentage 
revenue represented by the assessment rate would be well under one 
percent of sales. Any change in the assessment rate may be changed only 
upon approval of the Board and only after the Secretary has conducted 
notice and comment rulemaking.
    The Order would provide for an exemption for hardwood lumber, 
products, value-added products manufacturers for the U.S. market with 
annual sales less than $2 million of any assessed product combined 
during a fiscal year. In addition, hardwood plywood manufacturers with 
annual sales of less than $10 million during a fiscal year are exempt 
from paying assessments.
    Regarding the impact on the industry as a whole, the proposed 
program is expected to grow markets for hardwood lumber and plywood by 
increasing the market share in residential, commercial and industrial 
product areas. While the benefits of the proposed program are difficult 
to quantify, the benefits are expected to outweigh the program's costs 
of approximately $10 million per year, which is less than one percent 
of sales.
    Academic researchers have estimated benefit-to-cost ratios for 
promotion programs across a broad range of commodities in the range of 
4:1 to 6:1, indicating that for each dollar of promotion at least 4 to 
6 times that amount is generated in new revenues, profit, or ``economic 
surplus'' to the industry.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Ward, Ronald, Commodity Checkoff Programs and Generic 
Advertising Choices, 2nd Quarter 2006, 21(2).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This proposed rule invites comments on procedures for conducting a 
referendum to determine whether hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood 
manufacturers favor issuance of a proposed hardwood lumber and hardwood 
plywood Order. Hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood are used in 
products like flooring, furniture, moldings, doors and kitchen 
cabinets. USDA would conduct the referendum. The program would be 
implemented if it is approved by a majority of the volume of covered 
hardwood lumber represented in the referendum by those who, during a 
representative period determined by the Secretary, were engaged in the 
manufacturing of covered hardwood lumber. The procedures would also be 
used for any subsequent referendum under the Order. The procedures are 
authorized under paragraph (e) of Section 518 the 1996 Act.
    Regarding the economic impact of this rule on affected entities, 
eligible hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers would have 
the opportunity to participate in the referendum. The Order would 
provide for an exemption for hardwood lumber, products, value-added 
products manufacturers for the U.S. market with annual sales less than 
$2 million of any assessed product combined during a fiscal year. In 
addition, hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of less than 
$10 million during a fiscal year are exempt from paying assessments. 
Exempt manufacturers would not be eligible to participate in the 
referendum. It is estimated that 1,340 hardwood lumber manufacturers 
and 10 hardwood plywood manufacturers would pay assessments under the 
Order and thus be eligible to vote in the referendum. Voting in the 
referendum is optional. If hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood 
manufacturers chose to vote, the burden of voting would be offset by 
the benefits of having the opportunity to vote on whether or not they 
want to be covered by the program.
    Regarding alternatives, USDA considered requiring eligible voters 
to vote in person at various USDA offices across the country. USDA also 
considered electronic voting, but the use of computers is not 
universal. Conducting the referendum from one central location by mail 
ballot would be more cost effective and reliable. USDA would provide 
easy access to information for potential voters through a toll free 
telephone line.
    This action would impose an additional reporting burden on eligible 
hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers. Eligible 
manufacturers would have the opportunity to complete and submit a 
ballot to USDA indicating whether or not they favor implementation of 
the proposed Order. The specific burden for the ballot is detailed 
later in this document in the section titled Paperwork Reduction Act. 
As with all Federal promotion programs, reports and forms are 
periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and 
duplication by industry and public sector agencies. Finally, USDA has 
not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or 
conflict with this rule.
    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.
    Regarding outreach efforts, USDA would keep these individuals 
informed throughout the program implementation and referendum process 
to ensure that they are aware of and are able to participate in the 
program implementation process. USDA would also publicize information 
regarding the referendum process so that trade associations and related 
industry media can be kept informed.
    USDA has performed this initial RFA analysis regarding the impact 
of this proposed rule on small businesses.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the referendum ballot, which represents the information 
collection and recordkeeping requirements that may be imposed by this 
rule, has been submitted to OMB for approval.
    Title: Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and 
Information Program (Referendum Ballot).
    OMB Number: 0581-NEW.
    Expiration Date of Approval: 3 years from OMB date of approval.
    Type of Request: New information collection for research and 
promotion programs.
    Abstract: The information collection requirements in the request 
are essential to carry out the intent of the 1996 Act. The information 
collection concerns a proposal received by USDA for a national research 
and promotion program for hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood. The 
program would be financed by an assessment on hardwood lumber and 
hardwood plywood manufacturers. The program would exempt those hardwood 
lumber manufacturers with annual sales of less than $2 million and 
hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of less than $10 
million. Exports from the United States would also be exempt from 
assessments. A referendum would be held among eligible manufacturers to 
determine whether they favor implementation of the program prior to it 
going into effect. The purpose of the program would be to strengthen 
the position of hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood in the 
marketplace,

[[Page 67982]]

maintain and expand markets for hardwood lumber and plywood.
    The information collection requirements in this proposed rule 
concern the referendum that would be held to determine whether the 
program is favored by the industry. Hardwood lumber manufacturers with 
annual sales of $2 million or more and hardwood plywood manufacturers 
with annual sales of $10 million or more annually would be eligible to 
vote in the referendum. The ballot would be completed by eligible 
manufacturers who want to indicate whether or not they support 
implementation of the program.

Referendum Ballot

    Estimate of Burden: Public recordkeeping burden for this collection 
of information is estimated to average 0.25 hour per application.
    Respondents: Hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1350 (1340 hardwood lumber 
manufacturers and 10 hardwood plywood manufacturers).
    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1 every 5 years 
(0.2).
    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 67.50 hours.
    The ballot would be added to the other information collections 
approved under OMB No. 0581-NEW.
    An estimated 1350 respondents would provide information to the 
Board (1340 hardwood lumber manufacturers and 10 hardwood plywood 
manufacturers). The estimated cost of providing the information to the 
Board by respondents would be $2,227.50. This total has been estimated 
by multiplying 67.50 total hours required for reporting and 
recordkeeping by $38, the average mean hourly earnings of various 
occupations involved in keeping this information. Data for computation 
of this hourly wage were obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor, 
Bureau of Labor Statistics, publication, ``May 2011 National 
Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates in the United States'', 
updated March 29, 2012.
    The proposed Order's provisions have been carefully reviewed, and 
every effort has been made to minimize any unnecessary recordkeeping 
costs or requirements.

Request for Public Comment Under the Paperwork Reduction Act

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the 
proposed Order and USDA's oversight of the proposed Order, including 
whether the information would have practical utility; (b) the accuracy 
of USDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of 
information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions 
used; (c) the accuracy of USDA's estimate of the principal 
manufacturing areas in the United States for hardwood lumber and 
hardwood plywood lumber; (d) the accuracy of USDA's estimate of the 
number of hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturers that would 
be covered under the program; (e) ways to enhance the quality, utility, 
and clarity of the information to be collected; and (f) ways to 
minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are 
to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, 
mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms 
of information technology.
    Comments concerning the information collection requirements 
contained in this action should reference OMB No. 0581-NEW. In 
addition, the document number, date, and page number of this issue of 
the Federal Register also should be referenced. Comments should be sent 
to the same addresses referenced in the ADDRESSES section of this 
proposed rule.
    A 60-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to 
comment on this proposed information collection. All written comments 
received will be summarized and included in the request for OMB 
approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1211

    Administrative practice and procedure, Advertising, Consumer 
information, Marketing agreements, Hardwood lumber, Hardwood plywood, 
Promotion, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, it is proposed that 
Title 7, Chapter XI of the Code of Federal Regulations, as proposed to 
be amended elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, be further 
amended as follows:

PART 1211--HARDWOOD LUMBER AND HARDWOOD PLYWOOD PROMOTION, RESEARCH 
AND INFORMATION ORDER

0
1. The authority citation for part 1211 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 7411-7425; 7 U.S.C. 7401.

0
2. Subpart B of 7 CFR part 1211 is added to read as follows:
Subpart B--Referendum Procedures
Sec.
1211.100 General.
1211.101 Definitions.
1211.102 Voting.
1211.103 Instructions.
1211.104 Subagents.
1211.105 Ballots.
1211.106 Referendum report.
1211.107 Confidential information.
1211.108 OMB Control number.

Subpart B--Referendum Procedures


Sec.  1211.100  General.

    Referenda to determine whether eligible hardwood lumber and 
hardwood plywood manufacturers favor the issuance, continuance, 
amendment, suspension, or termination of the Hardwood Lumber and 
Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order shall be 
conducted in accordance with this subpart.


Sec.  1211.101  Definitions.

    For the purposes of this subpart:
    (a) Administrator means the Administrator of the Agricultural 
Marketing Service, with power to delegate, or any officer or employee 
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to whom authority has been 
delegated or may hereafter be delegated to act in the Administrator's 
stead.
    (b) Department or USDA means the U.S. Department of Agriculture or 
any officer or employee of the Department to whom authority has 
heretofore been delegated, or to whom authority may hereafter be 
delegated, to act in the Secretary's stead.
    (c) Covered hardwood means hardwood lumber, hardwood lumber 
products, hardwood value-added lumber products, and hardwood plywood to 
which an assessment has been or may be levied pursuant to the Order.
    (d) Eligible hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood manufacturer 
means any current hardwood lumber manufacturer with annual sales of $2 
million or more and current hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual 
sales of $10 million or more in the United States during the 
representative period.
    (e) Hardwood lumber means timber from the wood of a cypress tree or 
a deciduous, broad-leafed tree (including but not limited to aspen, 
birch, cypress, poplar, maple, cherry, walnut, and oak) that has been 
sawn into boards or blocks by a sawmill in the United States.
    (f) Hardwood plywood means a panel product, the decorative face of 
which is made from hardwood veneer intended for interior use composed 
of an assembly of layers or plies of veneer or veneers in combination 
with lumber core, particleboard, medium density

[[Page 67983]]

fiberboard core, hardboard core, or special core or special back 
material joined with an adhesive.
    (g) Manufacturing means the process of transforming logs into 
hardwood lumber, or the process of creating hardwood lumber products, 
value-added hardwood lumber products, or hardwood plywood.
    (h) Order means the Hardwood Lumber Promotion, Research and 
Information Order.
    (i) Person means any individual, group of individuals, partnership, 
corporation, association, cooperative, or any other legal entity. For 
the purpose of this definition, the term ``partnership'' includes, but 
is not limited to:
    (1) A spouse who has title to, or leasehold interest in, a hardwood 
lumber manufacturing entity as tenants in common, joint tenants, 
tenants by the entirety, or, under community property laws, as 
community property; and
    (2) So called ``joint ventures'' wherein one or more parties to an 
agreement, informal or otherwise, contributed land, facilities, 
capital, labor, management, equipment, or other services, or any 
variation of such contributions by two or more parties, so that it 
results in the manufacturing of covered hardwood lumber and the 
authority to transfer title to the hardwood lumber so manufactured.
    (j) Referendum agent or agent means the individual or individuals 
designated by the Secretary to conduct the referendum.
    (k) Representative period means the period designated by the 
Department.
    (l) United States means collectively the 50 states, the District of 
Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories and 
possessions of the United States.


Sec.  1211.102  Voting.

    (a) Each eligible manufacturer of covered hardwood lumber shall be 
entitled to cast only one ballot in the referendum. However, each 
manufacturer in a landlord/tenant relationship or a divided ownership 
arrangement involving totally independent entities cooperating only to 
manufacture covered hardwood lumber, in which more than one of the 
parties is a manufacturer, shall be entitled to cast one ballot in the 
referendum covering only such manufacturer's share of ownership.
    (b) Proxy voting is not authorized, but an officer or employee of 
an eligible corporate manufacturer, or an administrator, executor or 
trustee of an eligible entity may cast a ballot on behalf of such 
entity. Any individual so voting in a referendum shall certify that 
such individual is an officer or employee of the eligible entity, or an 
administrator, executive, or trustee of an eligible entity and that 
such individual has the authority to take such action. Upon request of 
the referendum agent, the individual shall submit adequate evidence of 
such authority.
    (c) A single entity who manufactures covered hardwood lumber may 
cast one vote in the referendum.
    (d) All ballots are to be cast by mail or other means, as 
instructed by the Department.


Sec.  1211.103  Instructions.

    The referendum agent shall conduct the referendum, in the manner 
provided in this subpart, under the supervision of the Administrator. 
The Administrator may prescribe additional instructions, consistent 
with the provisions of this subpart, to govern the procedure to be 
followed by the referendum agent. Such agent shall:
    (a) Determine the period during which ballots may be cast;
    (b) Provide ballots and related material to be used in the 
referendum. The ballot shall provide for recording essential 
information, including that needed for ascertaining whether the person 
voting, or on whose behalf the vote is cast, is an eligible voter;
    (c) Give reasonable public notice of the referendum:
    (1) By using available media or public information sources, without 
incurring advertising expense, to publicize the dates, places, method 
of voting, eligibility requirements, and other pertinent information. 
Such sources of publicity may include, but are not limited to, print 
and radio; and
    (2) By such other means as the agent may deem advisable.
    (d) Mail to eligible manufacturers whose names and addresses are 
known to the referendum agent, the instructions on voting, a ballot, 
and a summary of the terms and conditions of the proposed Order. No 
person who claims to be eligible to vote shall be refused a ballot;
    (e) At the end of the voting period, collect, open, number, and 
review the ballots and tabulate the results in the presence of an agent 
of a third party authorized to monitor the referendum process;
    (f) Prepare a report on the referendum; and
    (g) Announce the results to the public.


Sec.  1211.104  Subagents.

    The referendum agent may appoint any individual or individuals 
necessary or desirable to assist the agent in performing such agent's 
functions of this subpart. Each individual so appointed may be 
authorized by the agent to perform any or all of the functions which, 
in the absence of such appointment, shall be performed by the agent.


Sec.  1211.105  Ballots.

    The referendum agent and subagents shall accept all ballots cast. 
However, if an agent or subagent deems that a ballot should be 
challenged for any reason, the agent or subagent shall endorse above 
their signature, on the ballot, a statement to the effect that such 
ballot was challenged, by whom challenged, the reasons therefore, the 
results of any investigations made with respect thereto, and the 
disposition thereof. Ballots invalid under this subpart shall not be 
counted.


Sec.  1211.106  Referendum report.

    Except as otherwise directed, the referendum agent shall prepare 
and submit to the Administrator a report on the results of the 
referendum, the manner in which it was conducted, the extent and kind 
of public notice given, and other information pertinent to the analysis 
of the referendum and its results.


Sec.  1211.107  Confidential information.

    The ballots and other information or reports that reveal, or tend 
to reveal, the vote of any person covered under the Order and the voter 
list shall be strictly confidential and shall not be disclosed.


Sec.  1211.108  OMB control number.

    The control number assigned to the information collection 
requirement in this subpart by the Office of Management and Budget 
pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. is OMB 
control number 0581-NEW.

    Dated: November 6, 2013.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-27107 Filed 11-12-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P