Oranges and Grapefruit Grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas and Imported Oranges; Change in Size Requirements for Oranges, 11297-11300 [2014-04603]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 40 / Friday, February 28, 2014 / Rules and Regulations After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the Committee’s recommendation, and other information, it is found that this interim 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 shipping season for grapefruit has already started; (2) this action relaxes current size and grade requirements; (3) the Committee unanimously recommended this change at a public meeting and interested parties had an opportunity to provide input; and (4) this rule provides a 60day comment period and any comments received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 906 Grapefruit, Marketing agreements, Oranges, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 906 is amended as follows: PART 906—ORANGES AND GRAPEFRUIT GROWN IN LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY IN TEXAS 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 906 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. In § 906.340, paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(A) and Table II—Grapefruit are revised to read as follows: ■ emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with RULES § 906.340 Container, pack, and container marking regulations. (a) * * * (2) * * * (ii) * * * (A) Grapefruit, when packed in any carton, bag, or other container, shall be sized in accordance with the sizes in the following Table II, except as otherwise provided in the regulations issued pursuant to this part, and meet the requirements of standard pack; and, when in containers not packed according to a definite pattern, shall be sized in accordance with the sizes in Table II: Provided, That the packing tolerances in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Grapefruit (Texas and States other than Florida, California, and Arizona), shall apply to fruit so packed. All fruit packed to size 64 in the VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:46 Feb 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 following Table II shall be sized in accordance with the sizes in Table II but need not otherwise meet the requirements of standard pack: Provided, That they meet the same tolerances for off-size and pack as defined in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Grapefruit (Texas and States other than Florida, California, and Arizona). 11297 Texas Valley Citrus Committee (Committee). The corresponding change in the orange import regulation is required under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. This rule relaxes the minimum size requirement for oranges from 2–6/ 16 inches to 2–3/16 inches in diameter. This rule will provide additional oranges to meet market demand, helping to maximize fresh shipments. TABLE II—GRAPEFRUIT DATES: Effective March 1, 2014; [7⁄10 Bushel carton] comments received by April 29, 2014 will be considered prior to issuance of Pack size/ Diameter in inches number of a final rule. grapefruit Minimum Maximum ADDRESSES: Interested persons are 18 ...................... 415⁄16 59⁄16 invited to submit written comments 23 ...................... 45⁄16 5 concerning this rule. Comments must be 27 ...................... 42⁄16 412⁄16 sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing 32 ...................... 315⁄16 48⁄16 Order and Agreement Division, Fruit 36 ...................... 313⁄16 45⁄16 and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 40 ...................... 310⁄16 42⁄16 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 48 ...................... 39⁄16 314⁄16 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Fax: 56 ...................... 35⁄16 310⁄16 (202) 720–8938; or Internet: http:// 64 ...................... 3 38⁄16 www.regulations.gov. All comments should reference the document number * * * * * and the date and page number of this ■ 3. In § 906.365, paragraph (a)(4) is issue of the Federal Register and will be revised to read as follows: made available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during § 906.365 Texas Orange and Grapefruit regular business hours, or can be viewed Regulation 34. at: http://www.regulations.gov. All (a) * * * comments submitted in response to this (4) Such grapefruit are at least pack rule will be included in the record and size 64 with a minimum diameter of 3 will be made available to the public. inches. Please be advised that the identity of the * * * * * individuals or entities submitting Dated: February 26, 2014. comments will be made public on the Rex A. Barnes, Internet at the address provided above. Associate Administrator, Agricultural FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marketing Service. Doris Jamieson, Marketing Specialist, or [FR Doc. 2014–04596 Filed 2–27–14; 8:45 am] Christian D. Nissen, Regional Director, BILLING CODE P Southeast Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324– 3375, Fax: (863) 325–8793, or Email: Agricultural Marketing Service Doris.Jamieson@ams.usda.gov or Christian.Nissen@ams.usda.gov. 7 CFR Parts 906 and 944 Small businesses may request information on complying with this [Doc. No. AMS–FV–14–0009; FV14–906–1 IR] regulation by contacting Jeffrey Smutny, Marketing Order and Agreement Oranges and Grapefruit Grown in Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas and AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Imported Oranges; Change in Size Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, Requirements for Oranges DC 20250–0237; Telephone: (202) 720– AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, 2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938, or Email: Jeffrey.Smutny@ams.usda.gov. USDA. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule ACTION: Interim rule with request for is issued under Marketing Agreement comments. and Order No. 906, as amended (7 CFR SUMMARY: This rule relaxes the Part 906), regulating the handling of minimum size currently prescribed for oranges and grapefruit grown in the oranges under the marketing order for Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, oranges and grapefruit grown in Lower hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘order.’’ Rio Grande Valley in Texas (order). The The order is effective under the order is administered locally by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\28FER1.SGM 28FER1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with RULES 11298 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 40 / Friday, February 28, 2014 / Rules and Regulations of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’ This rule is also issued under section 8e of the Act, which provides that whenever certain specified commodities, including oranges, are regulated under a Federal marketing order, imports of these commodities into the United States are prohibited unless they meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality, or maturity requirements as those in effect for the domestically produced commodities. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Orders 12866, 13175, and 13563. This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. 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. A 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. There are no administrative procedures which must be exhausted prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of import regulations issued under section 8e of the Act. This rule relaxes the minimum size requirement for oranges prescribed under the order. This rule relaxes the minimum size requirement for oranges from 2–6/16 inches to 2–3/16 inches in diameter. This rule will provide additional oranges to meet market demand and will help maximize fresh shipments. This change was unanimously recommended by the Committee at a meeting on December 11, 2013. Section 906.40 of the order provides, in part, authority to establish minimum size requirements for Texas citrus. Section 906.340 of the rules and regulations includes Table I that specifies the numerical size designations and diameters used to delineate the available pack sizes for VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:46 Feb 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 oranges. Section 906.365 specifies the minimum size requirement for fresh shipments of Texas oranges. Minimum grade and size requirements for oranges imported into the United States are currently in effect under § 944.312. At its meeting, the Committee discussed the impact the recent freeze in California had on the orange crop and agreed the freeze had reduced the amount of fruit available for shipment to the fresh market. They also discussed the decline in citrus production in Florida caused by citrus greening and other diseases. The Committee believes this creates a shortage of fruit available to supply the fresh fruit market, which the Texas citrus growers and handlers should fill. The Committee noted that additional fruit was available from the Texas citrus industry. However, the fruit is smaller in size and would not meet the order’s current size requirements. The Committee also recognized that consumers are now showing a preference for smaller-sized fruit. The Committee believes relaxing the requirements would make more fruit available to fill the market shortfall caused by the decline in production of oranges from other growing regions and provide smaller-sized fruit to meet consumer demand. Consequently, to make more fruit available for shipment to the fresh market and to meet consumer demand, the Committee recommended a relaxation of the size requirements for oranges. This rule changes the minimum size requirement for oranges from 2–6/16 inches (size 138) to 2–3/16 inches (size 163) in diameter. This rule also adds size 163 to the available pack sizes for oranges listed under Table I in § 906.340, as well as adding language concerning pack and sizing requirements as appropriate. The Committee believes relaxing the size requirement will make more fruit available to meet market demand, helping to maximize fresh shipments and increasing returns to growers and handlers. Section 8e of the Act provides that when certain domestically produced commodities, including oranges, are regulated under a Federal marketing order, imports of that commodity must meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements. Since this rule changes the minimum size requirement under the domestic handling regulations for oranges, a corresponding change to the import regulations must also be considered. Minimum grade and size requirements for oranges imported into the United States are currently in effect under § 944.312. Section 944.312(i) of PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 the Fruit Import Regulations specifies that oranges imported into the United States are in most direct competition with oranges produced in the area covered by Marketing Order No. 906. This change relaxes the minimum size requirement for imported oranges from 2–6/16 inches to 2–3/16 inches. The relaxation in the minimum size requirement also has a beneficial impact for importers of oranges. This change allows a smaller-sized orange to be shipped to the United States, thereby increasing the amount of fruit available for shipment to the fresh market, thus benefiting importers. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601–612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses 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. Import regulations issued under the Act are based on those established under Federal marketing orders. There are 13 registered handlers of Texas citrus who are subject to regulation under the marketing order and approximately 150 producers of oranges in the regulated area. There are approximately 220 importers of oranges. Small agricultural service firms, which include handlers and importers, are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,000,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000 (13 CFR 121.201). According to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service and the industry and Committee, the average f.o.b. price for Texas oranges during the 2012–13 season was $25.30 per box, and total fresh orange shipments were approximately 1.5 million boxes. Using the average f.o.b. price and shipment data, the majority of Texas orange handlers could be considered small businesses under SBA’s definition. In addition, based on production data, grower prices, and the total number of Texas citrus growers, the average annual grower revenue is below $750,000. Information from the Foreign E:\FR\FM\28FER1.SGM 28FER1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 40 / Friday, February 28, 2014 / Rules and Regulations Agricultural Service, USDA, indicates that the dollar value of imported fresh oranges ranged from approximately $71.2 million in 2008 to $107.4 million in 2012. Using these values, most importers would have annual receipts of less than $7,000,000 for oranges. Thus, the majority of handlers, producers, and importers of oranges may be classified as small entities. Chile, South Africa, Mexico, and Australia are the major orangeproducing countries exporting oranges to the United States. In 2012, shipments of oranges imported into the United States totaled around 119,000 metric tons. Of that amount, 51,510 metric tons were imported from Chile, 35,960 metric tons were imported from South Africa, 17,421 metric tons were imported from Mexico, and 11,100 metric tons arrived from Australia. This rule relaxes the minimum size requirement for oranges covered under the order from 2–6/16 inches (size 138) to 2–3/16 inches (size 163) and makes a corresponding change to the orange import regulation. This change is expected to make additional fruit available for shipment to the fresh market, maximize shipments, provide additional returns to handlers and growers, and respond to consumer demand for small-sized fruit. Authority for this change is provided in § 906.40. This rule amends the provisions in §§ 906.340, 906.365, and 944.312. The Committee unanimously recommended this change at its December 11, 2013, meeting. The change in the import regulation is required under section 8e of the Act. This action is not expected to increase the costs associated with the order’s requirements or the orange import regulation. Rather, it is anticipated that this action will have a beneficial impact. Reducing the size requirement will make additional fruit available for shipment to the fresh market. The Committee believes that this will provide additional fruit to fill the shortage caused by the reduced amount of fruit available from other growing regions and will provide the opportunity to fulfill growing consumer demand for smaller sized fruit. This action will also provide an outlet for fruit that may otherwise go unharvested, maximizing fresh shipments and increasing returns to handlers and growers. The benefits of this rule are expected to be equally available to all fresh orange growers, handlers, and importers, regardless of their size. An alternative to this action would be to maintain the current minimum requirements for domestic shipments of oranges. However, leaving the VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:46 Feb 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 requirements unchanged would not make any additional fruit available nor would it provide smaller-sized fruit to meet consumer demand. Therefore, this alternative was rejected. 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. 0581–0189, Generic Fruit Crops. 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 rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large citrus 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. In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule. Further, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the Texas citrus industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all Committee meetings, the December 11, 2013, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express their 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. 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 Jeffrey Smutny at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. This rule invites comments on changes to the size requirements for oranges currently prescribed under the marketing order for oranges and grapefruit grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas and imported oranges. Any comments received will be PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11299 considered prior to finalization of this rule. After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the Committee’s recommendation, and other information, it is found that this interim rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. In accordance with section 8e of the Act, the United States Trade Representative has concurred with the issuance of this interim rule. 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 shipping season for oranges has already started; (2) this action relaxes current size requirements; (3) the Committee unanimously recommended this change at a public meeting and interested parties had an opportunity to provide input; and (4) this rule provides a 60-day comment period and any comments received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. List of Subjects 7 CFR Part 906 Grapefruit, Marketing agreements, Oranges, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. 7 CFR Part 944 Avocados, Food grades and standards, Grapefruit, Grapes, Imports, Kiwifruit, Limes, Olives, Oranges. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR Parts 906 and 944 are amended as follows: PART 906—ORANGES AND GRAPEFRUIT GROWN IN LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY IN TEXAS 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR Part 906 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. In § 906.340, paragraph (a)(2)(i)(A) and Table I—Oranges are revised to read as follows: ■ § 906.340 Container, pack, and container marking regulations. (a) * * * (2) * * * (i) * * * (A) Oranges, when packed in any carton, bag, or other container, shall be sized in accordance with the sizes in the following Table I, and meet the E:\FR\FM\28FER1.SGM 28FER1 11300 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 40 / Friday, February 28, 2014 / Rules and Regulations requirements of standard pack; and, when in containers not packed according to a definite pattern, shall be sized in accordance with the sizes in Table I and otherwise meet the requirements of standard sizing: Provided, That the packing tolerances in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Oranges (Texas and States other than Florida, California, and Arizona), shall apply to fruit so packed. All fruit packed to size 163 in the following Table I shall be sized in accordance with the sizes in Table I but need not otherwise meet the requirements of standard sizing or standard pack: Provided, That they meet the same tolerances for off-size and pack as defined in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Oranges (Texas and States other than Florida, California, and Arizona): DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Comptroller of the Currency 12 CFR Parts 1, 4, 5, 16, 23, 24, 28, 32, 34, 46, 116, 143, 145, 159, 160, 161, 163 and 192 [Docket ID OCC–2014–0004] RIN 1557–AD73 Basel III Conforming Amendments Related to Cross-References, Subordinated Debt and Limits Based on Regulatory Capital Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Treasury. ACTION: Interim final rule and request for comments. AGENCY: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is making technical and conforming amendments [7⁄10 bushel carton] to its regulations governing national banks and Federal savings associations Rack size/ Diameter in inches to make those regulations consistent number of with the recently adopted Basel III oranges Minimum Maximum Capital Framework. As part of these ...................... 312⁄16 51⁄16 technical amendments, the OCC is ...................... 36⁄16 49⁄16 revising and clarifying its regulations ...................... 34⁄16 46⁄16 governing subordinated debt applicable ...................... 32⁄16 44⁄16 to national banks and Federal savings ...................... 215⁄16 4 associations. SUMMARY: TABLE I—ORANGES 24 32 36 40 48 56 ...................... 64 ...................... 72 ...................... 88 ...................... 113 .................... 138 .................... 163 .................... * * * 213⁄16 211⁄16 29⁄16 28⁄16 27⁄16 26⁄16 23⁄16 * 313⁄16 310⁄16 38⁄16 34⁄16 3 212⁄16 28⁄16 * 3. In § 906.365, paragraph (a)(2) is revised to read as follows: ■ § 906.365 Texas Orange and Grapefruit Regulation 34. (a) * * * (2) Such oranges are at least pack size 163 with a minimum diameter of 2–3/ 16 inches; * * * * * PART 944—FRUITS; IMPORT REGULATIONS 4. In § 944.312 paragraph (a), remove the number ‘‘2–6/16’’ and add in its place ‘‘2–3/16.’’ emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with RULES ■ Dated: February 26, 2014. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2014–04603 Filed 2–27–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:37 Feb 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 This interim final rule is effective March 31, 2014. Comments must be received by March 31, 2014. ADDRESSES: Because paper mail in the Washington, DC area and at the OCC is subject to delay, commenters are encouraged to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or email, if possible. Please use the title ‘‘Basel III Conforming Amendments Related to Cross-References, Subordinated Debt and Limits Based on Regulatory Capital’’ to facilitate the organization and distribution of the comments. You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal— ‘‘regulations.gov’’: Go to http:// www.regulations.gov. Enter ‘‘Docket ID OCC–2014–0004’’ in the Search Box and click ‘‘Search.’’ Results can be filtered using the filtering tools on the left side of the screen. Click on ‘‘Comment Now’’ to submit public comments. • Click on the ‘‘Help’’ tab on the Regulations.gov home page to get information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for submitting public comments. • Email: regs.comments@ occ.treas.gov. • Mail: Legislative and Regulatory Activities Division, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 400 7th DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Street SW., Suite 3E–218, Mail Stop 9W–11, Washington, DC 20219. • Hand Delivery/Courier: 400 7th Street SW., Suite 3E–218, Mail Stop 9W–11, Washington, DC 20219. • Fax: (571) 465–4326. Instructions: You must include ‘‘OCC’’ as the agency name and ‘‘Docket ID OCC–2014–0004’’ in your comment. In general, OCC will enter all comments received into the docket and publish them on the Regulations.gov Web site without change, including any business or personal information that you provide such as name and address information, email addresses, or phone numbers. Comments received, including attachments and other supporting materials, are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Do not enclose any information in your comment or supporting materials that you consider confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure. You may review comments and other related materials that pertain to this rulemaking action by any of the following methods: • Viewing Comments Electronically: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Enter ‘‘Docket ID OCC–2014–0004’’ in the Search box and click ‘‘Search.’’ Comments can be filtered by Agency using the filtering tools on the left side of the screen. • Click on the ‘‘Help’’ tab on the Regulations.gov home page to get information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for viewing public comments, viewing other supporting and related materials, and viewing the docket after the close of the comment period. • Viewing Comments Personally: You may personally inspect and photocopy comments at the OCC, 400 7th Street SW., Washington, DC. For security reasons, the OCC requires that visitors make an appointment to inspect comments. You may do so by calling (202) 649–6700. Upon arrival, visitors will be required to present valid government-issued photo identification and to submit to security screening in order to inspect and photocopy comments. • Docket: You may also view or request available background documents and project summaries using the methods described above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jean Campbell, Senior Attorney, Legislative and Regulatory Activities Division, (202) 649–5490; and Patricia D. Goings, Senior Licensing Analyst, or Patricia Roberts, Senior Licensing Analyst, Licensing Division, (202) 649–6260. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\28FER1.SGM 28FER1

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[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 40 (Friday, February 28, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11297-11300]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04603]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Parts 906 and 944

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-14-0009; FV14-906-1 IR]


Oranges and Grapefruit Grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas 
and Imported Oranges; Change in Size Requirements for Oranges

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This rule relaxes the minimum size currently prescribed for 
oranges under the marketing order for oranges and grapefruit grown in 
Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas (order). The order is administered 
locally by the Texas Valley Citrus Committee (Committee). The 
corresponding change in the orange import regulation is required under 
section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. This 
rule relaxes the minimum size requirement for oranges from 2-6/16 
inches to 2-3/16 inches in diameter. This rule will provide additional 
oranges to meet market demand, helping to maximize fresh shipments.

DATES: Effective March 1, 2014; comments received by April 29, 2014 
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 and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, 
AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 
20250-0237; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should reference the document number 
and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and 
will be made available for public inspection in the Office of the 
Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule 
will be included in the record and will be made available to the 
public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or 
entities submitting comments will be made public on the Internet at the 
address provided above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doris Jamieson, Marketing Specialist, 
or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Director, Southeast Marketing Field 
Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable 
Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324-3375, Fax: (863) 325-8793, or 
Email: Doris.Jamieson@ams.usda.gov or Christian.Nissen@ams.usda.gov.
    Small businesses may request information on complying with this 
regulation by contacting Jeffrey Smutny, Marketing Order and Agreement 
Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence 
Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-
2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: Jeffrey.Smutny@ams.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing 
Agreement and Order No. 906, as amended (7 CFR Part 906), regulating 
the handling of oranges and grapefruit grown in the Lower Rio Grande 
Valley in Texas, hereinafter referred to as the ``order.'' The order is 
effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act

[[Page 11298]]

of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the 
``Act.''
    This rule is also issued under section 8e of the Act, which 
provides that whenever certain specified commodities, including 
oranges, are regulated under a Federal marketing order, imports of 
these commodities into the United States are prohibited unless they 
meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality, or maturity 
requirements as those in effect for the domestically produced 
commodities.
    The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in 
conformance with Executive Orders 12866, 13175, and 13563.
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect.
    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. A 
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.
    There are no administrative procedures which must be exhausted 
prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of import regulations 
issued under section 8e of the Act.
    This rule relaxes the minimum size requirement for oranges 
prescribed under the order. This rule relaxes the minimum size 
requirement for oranges from 2-6/16 inches to 2-3/16 inches in 
diameter. This rule will provide additional oranges to meet market 
demand and will help maximize fresh shipments. This change was 
unanimously recommended by the Committee at a meeting on December 11, 
2013.
    Section 906.40 of the order provides, in part, authority to 
establish minimum size requirements for Texas citrus. Section 906.340 
of the rules and regulations includes Table I that specifies the 
numerical size designations and diameters used to delineate the 
available pack sizes for oranges. Section 906.365 specifies the minimum 
size requirement for fresh shipments of Texas oranges. Minimum grade 
and size requirements for oranges imported into the United States are 
currently in effect under Sec.  944.312.
    At its meeting, the Committee discussed the impact the recent 
freeze in California had on the orange crop and agreed the freeze had 
reduced the amount of fruit available for shipment to the fresh market. 
They also discussed the decline in citrus production in Florida caused 
by citrus greening and other diseases. The Committee believes this 
creates a shortage of fruit available to supply the fresh fruit market, 
which the Texas citrus growers and handlers should fill. The Committee 
noted that additional fruit was available from the Texas citrus 
industry. However, the fruit is smaller in size and would not meet the 
order's current size requirements. The Committee also recognized that 
consumers are now showing a preference for smaller-sized fruit. The 
Committee believes relaxing the requirements would make more fruit 
available to fill the market shortfall caused by the decline in 
production of oranges from other growing regions and provide smaller-
sized fruit to meet consumer demand.
    Consequently, to make more fruit available for shipment to the 
fresh market and to meet consumer demand, the Committee recommended a 
relaxation of the size requirements for oranges. This rule changes the 
minimum size requirement for oranges from 2-6/16 inches (size 138) to 
2-3/16 inches (size 163) in diameter. This rule also adds size 163 to 
the available pack sizes for oranges listed under Table I in Sec.  
906.340, as well as adding language concerning pack and sizing 
requirements as appropriate.
    The Committee believes relaxing the size requirement will make more 
fruit available to meet market demand, helping to maximize fresh 
shipments and increasing returns to growers and handlers.
    Section 8e of the Act provides that when certain domestically 
produced commodities, including oranges, are regulated under a Federal 
marketing order, imports of that commodity must meet the same or 
comparable grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements. Since this 
rule changes the minimum size requirement under the domestic handling 
regulations for oranges, a corresponding change to the import 
regulations must also be considered.
    Minimum grade and size requirements for oranges imported into the 
United States are currently in effect under Sec.  944.312. Section 
944.312(i) of the Fruit Import Regulations specifies that oranges 
imported into the United States are in most direct competition with 
oranges produced in the area covered by Marketing Order No. 906. This 
change relaxes the minimum size requirement for imported oranges from 
2-6/16 inches to 2-3/16 inches. The relaxation in the minimum size 
requirement also has a beneficial impact for importers of oranges. This 
change allows a smaller-sized orange to be shipped to the United 
States, thereby increasing the amount of fruit available for shipment 
to the fresh market, thus benefiting importers.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 
has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. 
Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses 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. Import regulations issued under 
the Act are based on those established under Federal marketing orders.
    There are 13 registered handlers of Texas citrus who are subject to 
regulation under the marketing order and approximately 150 producers of 
oranges in the regulated area. There are approximately 220 importers of 
oranges. Small agricultural service firms, which include handlers and 
importers, are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as 
those having annual receipts of less than $7,000,000, and small 
agricultural producers are defined as those having annual receipts of 
less than $750,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    According to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service 
and the industry and Committee, the average f.o.b. price for Texas 
oranges during the 2012-13 season was $25.30 per box, and total fresh 
orange shipments were approximately 1.5 million boxes. Using the 
average f.o.b. price and shipment data, the majority of Texas orange 
handlers could be considered small businesses under SBA's definition. 
In addition, based on production data, grower prices, and the total 
number of Texas citrus growers, the average annual grower revenue is 
below $750,000. Information from the Foreign

[[Page 11299]]

Agricultural Service, USDA, indicates that the dollar value of imported 
fresh oranges ranged from approximately $71.2 million in 2008 to $107.4 
million in 2012. Using these values, most importers would have annual 
receipts of less than $7,000,000 for oranges. Thus, the majority of 
handlers, producers, and importers of oranges may be classified as 
small entities.
    Chile, South Africa, Mexico, and Australia are the major orange-
producing countries exporting oranges to the United States. In 2012, 
shipments of oranges imported into the United States totaled around 
119,000 metric tons. Of that amount, 51,510 metric tons were imported 
from Chile, 35,960 metric tons were imported from South Africa, 17,421 
metric tons were imported from Mexico, and 11,100 metric tons arrived 
from Australia.
    This rule relaxes the minimum size requirement for oranges covered 
under the order from 2-6/16 inches (size 138) to 2-3/16 inches (size 
163) and makes a corresponding change to the orange import regulation. 
This change is expected to make additional fruit available for shipment 
to the fresh market, maximize shipments, provide additional returns to 
handlers and growers, and respond to consumer demand for small-sized 
fruit. Authority for this change is provided in Sec.  906.40. This rule 
amends the provisions in Sec. Sec.  906.340, 906.365, and 944.312. The 
Committee unanimously recommended this change at its December 11, 2013, 
meeting. The change in the import regulation is required under section 
8e of the Act.
    This action is not expected to increase the costs associated with 
the order's requirements or the orange import regulation. Rather, it is 
anticipated that this action will have a beneficial impact. Reducing 
the size requirement will make additional fruit available for shipment 
to the fresh market. The Committee believes that this will provide 
additional fruit to fill the shortage caused by the reduced amount of 
fruit available from other growing regions and will provide the 
opportunity to fulfill growing consumer demand for smaller sized fruit. 
This action will also provide an outlet for fruit that may otherwise go 
unharvested, maximizing fresh shipments and increasing returns to 
handlers and growers. The benefits of this rule are expected to be 
equally available to all fresh orange growers, handlers, and importers, 
regardless of their size.
    An alternative to this action would be to maintain the current 
minimum requirements for domestic shipments of oranges. However, 
leaving the requirements unchanged would not make any additional fruit 
available nor would it provide smaller-sized fruit to meet consumer 
demand. Therefore, this alternative was rejected.
    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. 0581-0189, Generic Fruit Crops. 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 rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large citrus 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.
    In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules 
that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule.
    Further, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized throughout 
the Texas citrus industry and all interested persons were invited to 
attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all 
Committee meetings, the December 11, 2013, meeting was a public meeting 
and all entities, both large and small, were able to express their 
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.
    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 Jeffrey Smutny at the 
previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section.
    This rule invites comments on changes to the size requirements for 
oranges currently prescribed under the marketing order for oranges and 
grapefruit grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas and imported 
oranges. Any comments received will be considered prior to finalization 
of this rule.
    After consideration of all relevant material presented, including 
the Committee's recommendation, and other information, it is found that 
this interim rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate 
the declared policy of the Act.
    In accordance with section 8e of the Act, the United States Trade 
Representative has concurred with the issuance of this interim rule.
    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 shipping season for oranges has already started; (2) 
this action relaxes current size requirements; (3) the Committee 
unanimously recommended this change at a public meeting and interested 
parties had an opportunity to provide input; and (4) this rule provides 
a 60-day comment period and any comments received will be considered 
prior to finalization of this rule.

List of Subjects

7 CFR Part 906

    Grapefruit, Marketing agreements, Oranges, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

7 CFR Part 944

    Avocados, Food grades and standards, Grapefruit, Grapes, Imports, 
Kiwifruit, Limes, Olives, Oranges.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR Parts 906 and 944 
are amended as follows:

PART 906--ORANGES AND GRAPEFRUIT GROWN IN LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY 
IN TEXAS

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR Part 906 continues to read as 
follows:

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

0
2. In Sec.  906.340, paragraph (a)(2)(i)(A) and Table I--Oranges are 
revised to read as follows:


Sec.  906.340  Container, pack, and container marking regulations.

    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (A) Oranges, when packed in any carton, bag, or other container, 
shall be sized in accordance with the sizes in the following Table I, 
and meet the

[[Page 11300]]

requirements of standard pack; and, when in containers not packed 
according to a definite pattern, shall be sized in accordance with the 
sizes in Table I and otherwise meet the requirements of standard 
sizing: Provided, That the packing tolerances in the U.S. Standards for 
Grades of Oranges (Texas and States other than Florida, California, and 
Arizona), shall apply to fruit so packed. All fruit packed to size 163 
in the following Table I shall be sized in accordance with the sizes in 
Table I but need not otherwise meet the requirements of standard sizing 
or standard pack: Provided, That they meet the same tolerances for off-
size and pack as defined in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Oranges 
(Texas and States other than Florida, California, and Arizona):

                            Table I--Oranges
                         [\7/10\ bushel carton]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Diameter in inches
         Rack size/ number of oranges          -------------------------
                                                  Minimum      Maximum
------------------------------------------------------------------------
24............................................     3\12/16\      5\1/16\
32............................................      3\6/16\      4\9/16\
36............................................      3\4/16\      4\6/16\
40............................................      3\2/16\      4\4/16\
48............................................     2\15/16\            4
56............................................     2\13/16\     3\13/16\
64............................................     2\11/16\     3\10/16\
72............................................      2\9/16\      3\8/16\
88............................................      2\8/16\      3\4/16\
113...........................................      2\7/16\            3
138...........................................      2\6/16\     2\12/16\
163...........................................      2\3/16\      2\8/16\
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *


0
3. In Sec.  906.365, paragraph (a)(2) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  906.365  Texas Orange and Grapefruit Regulation 34.

    (a) * * *
    (2) Such oranges are at least pack size 163 with a minimum diameter 
of 2-3/16 inches;
* * * * *

PART 944--FRUITS; IMPORT REGULATIONS

0
4. In Sec.  944.312 paragraph (a), remove the number ``2-6/16'' and add 
in its place ``2-3/16.''

    Dated: February 26, 2014.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-04603 Filed 2-27-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P