Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; Increased Assessment Rate, 27243-27245 [2015-11468]

Download as PDF 27243 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 80, No. 92 Wednesday, May 13, 2015 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. 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. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each week. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 925 [Doc. No. AMS–FV–14–0106; FV15–925–2 FR] Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; Increased Assessment Rate Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This rule implements a recommendation from the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee for an increase of the assessment rate established for the 2015 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0200 to $0.0250 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled under the marketing order. The Committee locally administers the order and is comprised of producers and handlers of grapes grown and handled in a designated area of southeastern California. Assessments upon grape handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period began on January 1 and ends December 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. DATES: Effective Date: May 14, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathie Notoro, Marketing Specialist, or Martin Engeler, Regional Director, California Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487– 5901, Fax: (559) 487–5906, or Email: Kathie.Notoro@ams.usda.gov or Martin.Engeler@ams.usda.gov. Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Jeffrey Smutny, Marketing Order and Agreement asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:51 May 12, 2015 Jkt 235001 This rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 925 (7 CFR part 925), regulating the handling of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California, hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘order.’’ The order is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’ The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13175. This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the marketing order now in effect, grape handlers in a designated area of southeastern California are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate as issued herein would be applicable to all assessable grapes beginning on January 1, 2015, and continue until amended, suspended, or terminated. The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. Such handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA’s ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling. This rule increases the assessment rate established for the Committee for the 2015 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0200 to $0.0250 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 The grape order provides authority for the Committee, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the program. The members of the Committee are producers and handlers of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California. They are familiar with the Committee’s needs and with the costs of goods and services in their local area and are thus in a position to formulate an appropriate budget and assessment rate. The assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a public meeting. Thus, all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate and provide input. For the 2014 and subsequent fiscal periods, the Committee recommended, and the USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue in effect from fiscal period to fiscal period unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA based upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other information available to USDA. The Committee met on October 30, 2014, and unanimously recommended 2015 expenditures of $135,500, a contingency reserve fund of $9,500, and an assessment rate of $0.0250 per 18pound lug of grapes handled. In comparison, last year’s budgeted expenditures were $110,000. The Committee recommended a crop estimate of 5,800,000 18-pound lugs, which is higher than the 5,500,000 18pound lugs handled last year. The Committee also recommended carrying over a financial reserve of $40,000, which would increase to $49,500 if the contingency fund is not expended. The assessment rate of $0.0250 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled recommended by the Committee is $0.0050 higher than the $0.0200 rate currently in effect. The higher assessment rate, applied to shipments of 5,800,000 18-pound lugs, is expected to generate $145,000 in revenue and be sufficient to cover the anticipated expenses. The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2015 fiscal period include $15,500 for research, $17,000 for general office expenses, $62,750 for management and compliance expenses, $25,000 for consultation services, and $9,500 for a contingency reserve. The $15,500 research project is a continuation of a E:\FR\FM\13MYR1.SGM 13MYR1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with RULES 27244 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 92 / Wednesday, May 13, 2015 / Rules and Regulations vine study in progress by the University of California, Riverside. In comparison, major expenditures for the 2014 fiscal period included $15,500 for research, $22,000 for general office expenses, and $62,500 for management and compliance expenses. Overall 2015 expenditures include an increase in management and compliance expenses and a decrease in general office expenses and additional funds for a contingency reserve. The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by evaluating several factors, including estimated shipments for the 2015 season, budgeted expenses, and the level of available financial reserves. The Committee determined that the $0.0250 assessment rate should generate $145,000 in revenue to cover the budgeted expenses of $135,500, and a contingency reserve fund of $9,500. Reserve funds by the end of 2015 are projected to be $40,000 if the $9,500 added to the contingency fund is expended or $49,500 if it is not expended. Both amounts are well within the amount authorized under the order. Section 925.41 of the order permits the Committee to maintain approximately one fiscal period’s expenses in reserve. The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA based upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other available information. Although this assessment rate will be in effect for an indefinite period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each fiscal period to recommend a budget of expenses and consider recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and times of Committee meetings are available from the Committee or USDA. Committee meetings are open to the public and interested persons may express their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate the Committee’s recommendations and other available information to determine whether modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking will be undertaken as necessary. The Committee’s 2015 budget and those for subsequent fiscal periods will be reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by USDA. Final 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:51 May 12, 2015 Jkt 235001 considered the economic impact of this rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 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. There are approximately 14 handlers of southeastern California grapes who are subject to regulation under the marketing order and about 41 grape producers in the production area. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,000,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $750,000. Eleven of the 14 handlers subject to regulation have annual grape sales of less than $7,000,000, according to USDA Market News Service and Committee data. In addition, information from the Committee and USDA’s Market News indicates that at least 10 of 41 producers have annual receipts of less than $750,000. Thus, it may be concluded that a majority of the grape handlers regulated under the order and about 10 of the producers could be classified as small entities under the Small Business Administration’s definitions. This rule increases the assessment rate established for the Committee and collected from handlers for the 2015 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0200 to $0.0250 per 18-pound lug of grapes. The Committee unanimously recommended 2015 expenditures of $135,500, a contingency reserve fund of $9,500, and an assessment rate of $0.0250 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled. The assessment rate of $0.0250 is $0.0050 higher than the 2014 rate. The quantity of assessable grapes for the 2015 season is estimated at 5,800,000 18-pound lugs. Thus, the $0.0250 rate should generate $145,000 in income. In addition, reserve funds at the end of the year are projected to be $49,500, which is well within the order’s limitation of approximately one fiscal period’s expenses. The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2015 fiscal period include $15,500 for research, $17,000 for general office expenses, $62,750 for management and compliance expenses, $25,000 for consultation services and $9,500 for the PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 contingency reserve. In comparison, major expenditures for the 2014 fiscal period included $15,500 for research, $22,000 for general office expenses, $62,500 for management and compliance expenses and $10,000 for the contingency reserve. Overall expenditures included an increase in management and compliance expenses, a decrease in general office expenses, and funding of a contingency reserve. Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Committee considered alternative expenditures and assessment rates to include not increasing the $0.0200 assessment rate. Based on a crop estimate of 5,800,000 18-pound lugs, the Committee ultimately determined that increasing the assessment rate to $0.0250 would generate sufficient funds to cover budgeted expenses. Reserve funds at the end of the 2015 fiscal period are projected to be $40,000 if the $9,500 contingency fund is expended or $49,500 if it is not expended. These amounts are well within the amount authorized under the order. A review of historical crop and price information, as well as preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming fiscal period, indicates that the producer price for the 2014 season averaged about $22.00 per 18-pound lug of California grapes handled. If the 2015 producer price is similar to the 2014 price, estimated assessment revenue as a percentage of total estimated producer revenue would be 0.11 percent for the 2015 season ($0.0250 divided by $22.00 per 18-pound lug). This action increases the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. While assessments impose some additional costs on handlers, the costs are minimal and uniform on all handlers. Some of the additional costs may be passed on to producers. However, these costs are offset by the benefits derived from the operation of the marketing order. In addition, the Executive Subcommittee and the Committee’s meetings were widely publicized throughout the grape production area and all interested persons were invited to attend and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the October 30, 2014, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. 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 E:\FR\FM\13MYR1.SGM 13MYR1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 92 / Wednesday, May 13, 2015 / Rules and Regulations requirements as a result of this action are necessary. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. This rule imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large California grape 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. As noted in the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this final 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. A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on March 31, 2015 (80 FR 16998). Copies of the proposed rule were also mailed or sent via facsimile to all grape handlers. Finally, the proposal was made available through the internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 15-day comment period ending April 15, 2015, was provided for interested persons to respond to the proposal. No comments were received. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/ 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. After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it is also found and determined 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 2015 fiscal period began on January 1, 2015, and the marketing order requires that the rate of assessment for each fiscal period apply to all assessable grapes 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:51 May 12, 2015 Jkt 235001 unanimously recommended by the Committee at a public meeting and is similar to other assessment rate actions issued in past years. Also, a 15-day comment period was provided for in the proposed rule and no comments were received. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 925 Grapes, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 925 is amended as follows: PART 925—GRAPES GROWN IN A DESIGNATED AREA OF SOUTHEASTERN CALIFORNIA 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 925 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Section 925.215 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 925.215 Assessment rate. On and after January 1, 2015, an assessment rate of $0.0250 per 18-pound lug is established for grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California. Dated: May 7, 2015. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2015–11468 Filed 5–12–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 985 [Doc. No. AMS–FV–14–0096; FV15–985–1 FR] Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West; Salable Quantities and Allotment Percentages for the 2015– 2016 Marketing Year Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This rule implements a recommendation from the Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee (Committee) to establish the quantity of spearmint oil produced in the Far West, by class, that handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during the 2015–2016 marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2015. The Committee locally administers the Far West spearmint marketing order (order) SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 27245 and is comprised of producers of spearmint oil operating in the Far West. The Far West includes the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, and designated parts of Nevada and Utah. This rule establishes salable quantities and allotment percentages for Class 1 (Scotch) spearmint oil of 1,265,853 pounds and 60 percent, respectively, and for Class 3 (Native) spearmint oil of 1,341,269 pounds and 56 percent, respectively. The Committee recommended these quantities to help maintain stability in the spearmint oil market. DATES: Effective Date: May 14, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barry Broadbent, Marketing Specialist, or Gary Olson, Regional Director, Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (503) 326– 2724, Fax: (503) 326–7440, or Email: Barry.Broadbent@ams.usda.gov or GaryD.Olson@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 final rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 985 (7 CFR part 985), as amended, regulating the handling of spearmint oil produced in the Far West (Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and designated parts of Nevada and Utah), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘order.’’ The order is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’ The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Orders 12866, 13175, and 13563. This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. Under the order now in effect, salable quantities and allotment percentages may be established for classes of spearmint oil produced in the Far West. This rule will establish the quantity of spearmint oil produced in the Far West, by class, which handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during the 2015–2016 marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2015. The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before E:\FR\FM\13MYR1.SGM 13MYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 92 (Wednesday, May 13, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 27243-27245]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-11468]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each 
week.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 92 / Wednesday, May 13, 2015 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 27243]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 925

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-14-0106; FV15-925-2 FR]


Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; 
Increased Assessment Rate

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This rule implements a recommendation from the California 
Desert Grape Administrative Committee for an increase of the assessment 
rate established for the 2015 and subsequent fiscal periods from 
$0.0200 to $0.0250 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled under the 
marketing order. The Committee locally administers the order and is 
comprised of producers and handlers of grapes grown and handled in a 
designated area of southeastern California. Assessments upon grape 
handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary 
expenses of the program. The fiscal period began on January 1 and ends 
December 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely 
unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

DATES: Effective Date: May 14, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathie Notoro, Marketing Specialist, 
or Martin Engeler, Regional Director, California Marketing Field 
Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable 
Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 487-5906, or 
Email: Kathie.Notoro@ams.usda.gov or Martin.Engeler@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 Order 
No. 925 (7 CFR part 925), regulating the handling of grapes grown in a 
designated area of southeastern California, hereinafter referred to as 
the ``order.'' The order is effective under the Agricultural Marketing 
Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter 
referred to as the ``Act.''
    The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in 
conformance with Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13175.
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. Under the marketing order now in effect, grape handlers 
in a designated area of southeastern California are subject to 
assessments. Funds to administer the order are derived from such 
assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate as issued herein 
would be applicable to all assessable grapes beginning on January 1, 
2015, and continue until amended, suspended, or terminated.
    The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted 
before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the 
Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition 
stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation 
imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and 
request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. Such 
handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. 
After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides 
that the district court of the United States in any district in which 
the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of 
business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, 
provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of 
the entry of the ruling.
    This rule increases the assessment rate established for the 
Committee for the 2015 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0200 to 
$0.0250 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled.
    The grape order provides authority for the Committee, with the 
approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of expenses and collect 
assessments from handlers to administer the program. The members of the 
Committee are producers and handlers of grapes grown in a designated 
area of southeastern California. They are familiar with the Committee's 
needs and with the costs of goods and services in their local area and 
are thus in a position to formulate an appropriate budget and 
assessment rate. The assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a 
public meeting. Thus, all directly affected persons have an opportunity 
to participate and provide input.
    For the 2014 and subsequent fiscal periods, the Committee 
recommended, and the USDA approved, an assessment rate that would 
continue in effect from fiscal period to fiscal period unless modified, 
suspended, or terminated by USDA based upon recommendation and 
information submitted by the Committee or other information available 
to USDA.
    The Committee met on October 30, 2014, and unanimously recommended 
2015 expenditures of $135,500, a contingency reserve fund of $9,500, 
and an assessment rate of $0.0250 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled. 
In comparison, last year's budgeted expenditures were $110,000. The 
Committee recommended a crop estimate of 5,800,000 18-pound lugs, which 
is higher than the 5,500,000 18-pound lugs handled last year. The 
Committee also recommended carrying over a financial reserve of 
$40,000, which would increase to $49,500 if the contingency fund is not 
expended. The assessment rate of $0.0250 per 18-pound lug of grapes 
handled recommended by the Committee is $0.0050 higher than the $0.0200 
rate currently in effect. The higher assessment rate, applied to 
shipments of 5,800,000 18-pound lugs, is expected to generate $145,000 
in revenue and be sufficient to cover the anticipated expenses.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2015 
fiscal period include $15,500 for research, $17,000 for general office 
expenses, $62,750 for management and compliance expenses, $25,000 for 
consultation services, and $9,500 for a contingency reserve. The 
$15,500 research project is a continuation of a

[[Page 27244]]

vine study in progress by the University of California, Riverside. In 
comparison, major expenditures for the 2014 fiscal period included 
$15,500 for research, $22,000 for general office expenses, and $62,500 
for management and compliance expenses. Overall 2015 expenditures 
include an increase in management and compliance expenses and a 
decrease in general office expenses and additional funds for a 
contingency reserve.
    The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by 
evaluating several factors, including estimated shipments for the 2015 
season, budgeted expenses, and the level of available financial 
reserves. The Committee determined that the $0.0250 assessment rate 
should generate $145,000 in revenue to cover the budgeted expenses of 
$135,500, and a contingency reserve fund of $9,500.
    Reserve funds by the end of 2015 are projected to be $40,000 if the 
$9,500 added to the contingency fund is expended or $49,500 if it is 
not expended. Both amounts are well within the amount authorized under 
the order. Section 925.41 of the order permits the Committee to 
maintain approximately one fiscal period's expenses in reserve.
    The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in 
effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA 
based upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or 
other available information.
    Although this assessment rate will be in effect for an indefinite 
period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each 
fiscal period to recommend a budget of expenses and consider 
recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and 
times of Committee meetings are available from the Committee or USDA. 
Committee meetings are open to the public and interested persons may 
express their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate the 
Committee's recommendations and other available information to 
determine whether modification of the assessment rate is needed. 
Further rulemaking will be undertaken as necessary. The Committee's 
2015 budget and those for subsequent fiscal periods will be reviewed 
and, as appropriate, approved by USDA.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 
has considered the economic impact of this rule on small entities. 
Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final 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.
    There are approximately 14 handlers of southeastern California 
grapes who are subject to regulation under the marketing order and 
about 41 grape producers in the production area. Small agricultural 
service firms are defined by the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 
121.201) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,000,000, and 
small agricultural producers are defined as those whose annual receipts 
are less than $750,000. Eleven of the 14 handlers subject to regulation 
have annual grape sales of less than $7,000,000, according to USDA 
Market News Service and Committee data. In addition, information from 
the Committee and USDA's Market News indicates that at least 10 of 41 
producers have annual receipts of less than $750,000. Thus, it may be 
concluded that a majority of the grape handlers regulated under the 
order and about 10 of the producers could be classified as small 
entities under the Small Business Administration's definitions.
    This rule increases the assessment rate established for the 
Committee and collected from handlers for the 2015 and subsequent 
fiscal periods from $0.0200 to $0.0250 per 18-pound lug of grapes. The 
Committee unanimously recommended 2015 expenditures of $135,500, a 
contingency reserve fund of $9,500, and an assessment rate of $0.0250 
per 18-pound lug of grapes handled. The assessment rate of $0.0250 is 
$0.0050 higher than the 2014 rate. The quantity of assessable grapes 
for the 2015 season is estimated at 5,800,000 18-pound lugs. Thus, the 
$0.0250 rate should generate $145,000 in income. In addition, reserve 
funds at the end of the year are projected to be $49,500, which is well 
within the order's limitation of approximately one fiscal period's 
expenses.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2015 
fiscal period include $15,500 for research, $17,000 for general office 
expenses, $62,750 for management and compliance expenses, $25,000 for 
consultation services and $9,500 for the contingency reserve. In 
comparison, major expenditures for the 2014 fiscal period included 
$15,500 for research, $22,000 for general office expenses, $62,500 for 
management and compliance expenses and $10,000 for the contingency 
reserve. Overall expenditures included an increase in management and 
compliance expenses, a decrease in general office expenses, and funding 
of a contingency reserve.
    Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Committee 
considered alternative expenditures and assessment rates to include not 
increasing the $0.0200 assessment rate. Based on a crop estimate of 
5,800,000 18-pound lugs, the Committee ultimately determined that 
increasing the assessment rate to $0.0250 would generate sufficient 
funds to cover budgeted expenses. Reserve funds at the end of the 2015 
fiscal period are projected to be $40,000 if the $9,500 contingency 
fund is expended or $49,500 if it is not expended. These amounts are 
well within the amount authorized under the order.
    A review of historical crop and price information, as well as 
preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming fiscal period, 
indicates that the producer price for the 2014 season averaged about 
$22.00 per 18-pound lug of California grapes handled. If the 2015 
producer price is similar to the 2014 price, estimated assessment 
revenue as a percentage of total estimated producer revenue would be 
0.11 percent for the 2015 season ($0.0250 divided by $22.00 per 18-
pound lug).
    This action increases the assessment obligation imposed on 
handlers. While assessments impose some additional costs on handlers, 
the costs are minimal and uniform on all handlers. Some of the 
additional costs may be passed on to producers. However, these costs 
are offset by the benefits derived from the operation of the marketing 
order. In addition, the Executive Subcommittee and the Committee's 
meetings were widely publicized throughout the grape production area 
and all interested persons were invited to attend and participate in 
Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the 
October 30, 2014, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both 
large and small, were able to express views on this issue.
    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

[[Page 27245]]

requirements as a result of this action are necessary. Should any 
changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval.
    This rule imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large California grape 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. As noted in the 
initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has not identified any 
relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this 
final 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.
    A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal 
Register on March 31, 2015 (80 FR 16998). Copies of the proposed rule 
were also mailed or sent via facsimile to all grape handlers. Finally, 
the proposal was made available through the internet by USDA and the 
Office of the Federal Register. A 15-day comment period ending April 
15, 2015, was provided for interested persons to respond to the 
proposal. No comments were received.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/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.
    After consideration of all relevant material presented, including 
the information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other 
available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as 
hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of 
the Act.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it is also found and determined 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 2015 
fiscal period began on January 1, 2015, and the marketing order 
requires that the rate of assessment for each fiscal period apply to 
all assessable grapes 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. Also, a 15-day comment period was provided for in the proposed 
rule and no comments were received.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 925

    Grapes, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 925 is 
amended as follows:

PART 925--GRAPES GROWN IN A DESIGNATED AREA OF SOUTHEASTERN 
CALIFORNIA

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 925 continues to read as 
follows:

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

0
2. Section 925.215 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  925.215  Assessment rate.

    On and after January 1, 2015, an assessment rate of $0.0250 per 18-
pound lug is established for grapes grown in a designated area of 
southeastern California.

    Dated: May 7, 2015.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-11468 Filed 5-12-15; 8:45 am]
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