Domestic Dates Produced or Packed in Riverside County, California; Decreased Assessment Rate, 65886-65889 [2015-27340]

Download as PDF Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES 65886 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 208 / Wednesday, October 28, 2015 / Rules and Regulations range of $1.52 to $1.86. Dividing these inshell per pound prices by the 0.45 conversion factor (inshell to kernelweight) established in the order yields a 2015–16 price range estimate of $3.38 to $4.13 per kernelweight pound of assessable walnuts. To calculate the percentage of grower revenue represented by the assessment rate, the assessment rate of $0.0379 per kernelweight pound is divided by the low and high estimates of the price range. The estimated assessment revenue for the 2015–16 marketing year as a percentage of total grower revenue will thus likely range between 0.92 and 1.11 percent. 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. These costs are offset by the benefits derived by the operation of the marketing order. In addition, the Board’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the California walnut industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and encouraged to participate in Board deliberations on all issues. Like all Board meetings, the June 4, 2015, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were free 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. 0581–0178 (Walnuts Grown in California). No changes in those requirements are necessary as a result of this action. 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 walnut 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 action. 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 August 18, 2015, (80 FR VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:03 Oct 27, 2015 Jkt 238001 49930). Copies of the proposed rule were also provided to all walnut handlers. Finally, the proposal was made available through the Internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 30-day comment period ending September 17, 2015, was provided for interested persons to respond to the proposal. No complete comments were received. Accordingly, no changes will be made to the rule as proposed. 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/ MarketingOrderSmallBusinessGuide. 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 Board 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 handlers are already receiving 2015–16 crop walnuts from growers, the marketing year began on September 1, 2015, and the assessment rate applies to all walnuts received during the 2015–16 and subsequent marketing years. Further, handlers are aware of this rule which was recommended at a public meeting. Also, a 30-day comment period was provided in the proposed rule. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 984 Marketing agreements, Nuts, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Walnuts. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 984 is amended as follows: PART 984—WALNUTS GROWN IN CALIFORNIA 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 984 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Section 984.347 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 984.347 Assessment rate. On and after September 1, 2015, an assessment rate of $0.0379 per kernelweight pound is established for California merchantable walnuts. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Dated: October 22, 2015. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2015–27359 Filed 10–27–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 987 [Docket No. AMS–FV–15–0034; FV15–987– 1 IR] Domestic Dates Produced or Packed in Riverside County, California; Decreased Assessment Rate Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments. AGENCY: This rule implements a recommendation from the California Date Administrative Committee (committee) for a decrease in the assessment rate established for the 2015–16 and subsequent crop years from $0.20 to $0.10 per hundredweight of dates handled. The committee locally administers the marketing order, which regulates the handling of dates grown or packed in Riverside County, California. Assessments upon date handlers are used by the committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The crop year begins October 1 and ends September 30. The new assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. DATES: Effective October 29, 2015. Comments received by December 28, 2015, 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, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Fax: (202) 720–8938; or Internet: http:// www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference the docket number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28OCR1.SGM 28OCR1 Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 208 / Wednesday, October 28, 2015 / Rules and Regulations individuals or entities submitting comments will be made public on the internet at the address provided above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Terry Vawter, Senior Marketing Specialist, or Martin Engeler, Regional Director, California Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487– 5901, Fax: (559) 487–5906, or Email: Terry.Vawter@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, Specialty Crops 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. 987, both as amended (7 CFR part 987), regulating the handling of dates produced or packed in Riverside County, 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, Riverside County, California, date handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate as issued herein will be applicable to all assessable dates beginning October 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:03 Oct 27, 2015 Jkt 238001 place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA’s ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling. This rule decreases the assessment rate established by the committee for the 2015–16 and subsequent crop years from $0.20 to $0.10 per hundredweight of dates. The California date marketing order provides authority for the committee, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the program. The members of the committee are date producers and handlers from Riverside County, California. They are familiar with the committee’s needs and 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. The committee met on June 25, 2015, and unanimously recommended 2015– 16 expenditures of $59,250, and an assessment rate of $0.10 per hundredweight of Riverside County, California dates. In comparison, last year’s budgeted expenditures were $56,200. The assessment rate of $0.10 is $0.10 lower than the rate currently in effect. This year’s crop is estimated to be slightly larger than last year’s crop. Sufficient income is expected to be generated when applying the recommended lower assessment rate to the larger crop. When combined with carry-in funds from the 2014–15 crop year, funding should be sufficient to cover anticipated 2015–16 expenses. The financial reserve will also be maintained within the limit specified under the order. The major expenditure recommended by the committee for the 2015–16 crop year is $59,250 for general and administrative expenses. In comparison, the major expenditures recommended by the committee for the 2014–15 crop year included $56,200 for general and administrative expenses, and $2,800 for contingency funds. The assessment rate of $0.10 per hundredweight of dates handled was recommended by the committee after considering several factors: The anticipated size of the 2015–16 crop, the committee’s estimates of the incoming reserve, other income, and anticipated expenses. Date shipments for the year are estimated at 29,000,000 pounds (290,000 hundredweight) which should PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 65887 provide $29,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler assessments and funds from the committee’s authorized reserve, should be adequate to cover budgeted expenses for the crop year. Section 987.72(d) of the order states that the committee may maintain a monetary reserve not to exceed the average of one year’s expenses incurred during the most recent five preceding crop years, except that an established reserve need not be reduced to conform to any recomputed average. The committee expects to utilize $25,250 of the reserve during the year to cover expenses, leaving approximately $44,750 in the reserve account. The remaining reserve will be below the limit specified in the order. The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the committee or other available information. Although this assessment rate is effective for an indefinite period, the committee will continue to meet prior to or during each crop year to recommend a budget of expenses and consider recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and times of committee meetings are available from the committee or USDA. Committee meetings are open to the public and interested persons may express their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate committee recommendations and other available information to determine whether modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking will be undertaken as necessary. The committee’s 2015–16 budget and those for subsequent crop years will be reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by USDA. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601–612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 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 E:\FR\FM\28OCR1.SGM 28OCR1 Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES 65888 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 208 / Wednesday, October 28, 2015 / Rules and Regulations small entities acting on their own behalf. There are approximately 70 date producers in the production area and 11 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. The Small Business Administration defines small agricultural producers as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms as those whose annual receipts are less than $7,000,000. (13 CFR 121.201) According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), data for the most-recently completed crop year (2014) shows that about 3.54 tons, or 7,080 pounds, of dates were produced per acre. The 2014 producer price published by NASS was $1,190 per ton. Thus, the value of date production per acre in 2014–15 averaged about $4,213 (3.54 tons times $1,190 per ton). At that average price, a producer would have to farm over 178 acres to receive an annual income from dates of $750,000 ($750,000 divided by $4,213 per acre equals 178.02 acres). According to committee staff, the majority of California date producers farm less than 178 acres. Thus, it can be concluded that the majority of date producers could be considered small entities. In addition, according to data from the committee staff, the majority of California date handlers have receipts of less than $7,000,000 and may also be considered small entities. This rule decreases the assessment rate established by the committee and collected from handlers for the 2015–16 and subsequent crop years from $0.20 to $0.10 per hundredweight of dates handled. The committee unanimously recommended 2015–16 expenditures of $59,250 and an assessment rate of $0.10 per hundredweight of dates, which is $0.10 lower than the 2014–15 rate currently in effect. The quantity of assessable dates for the 2015–16 crop year is estimated at 29,000,000 pounds (290,000 hundredweight). Thus, the $0.10 rate should provide $29,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler’s assessments, and funds from the committee’s authorized reserve, and other funds should be adequate to cover expenses for the 2015–16 crop year. The major expenditure recommended by the committee for the 2015–16 crop year is $59,250 for general and administrative expenses. In comparison, the major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2014–15 crop year included $56,200 for general and administrative expenses and $2,800 for contingency funds. The committee recommended a lower assessment rate because income VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:03 Oct 27, 2015 Jkt 238001 generated from the lower assessment rate applied to the larger crop, combined with carry-in funds from the 2014–15 crop year, should be sufficient to cover anticipated 2015–16 expenses and to maintain a financial reserve within the limit specified under the order. Section 987.72(d) of the order states that the committee may maintain a monetary reserve not to exceed the average of one year’s expenses incurred during the most recent five preceding crop years, except that an established reserve need not be reduced to conform to any recomputed average. The committee estimated a $70,000 reserve carry-in for the 2015–16 crop year. It expects to utilize $25,250 of the reserve during the year, for a carry-out of approximately $44,750, which is below the limit specified in the order. The committee reviewed and unanimously recommended 2015–16 crop year expenditures of $59,250. Prior to arriving at this budget, the Committee considered alternative expenditure levels and assessment rates. The committee recommended an assessment rate of $0.10 per hundredweight of dates after considering several factors including the anticipated 2015–16 crop size, the committee’s estimates of the incoming reserve funds and other income, and its anticipated expenses. A review of historical and preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming crop year indicates that the producer price for the 2015–16 crop year could be approximately $60.00 per hundredweight of dates. Utilizing these estimates and the assessment rate of $0.10 per hundredweight, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2015–16 crop year as a percentage of total producer revenue is approximately 0.17 percent. This action decreases the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and decreasing the assessment rate reduces the burden on handlers. In addition, the committee meeting was widely publicized throughout the California date industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend the meetings and encouraged to participate in committee deliberations on all issues. Like all committee meetings, the June 25, 2015, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Industry members also discussed the various possible assessment rates, potential crop size, and estimated expenses at this meeting. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this interim rule, including the regulatory PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 and informational impacts of this action on small businesses. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the order’s information collection requirements have been previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and assigned OMB No. 0581–0178, ‘‘Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders.’’ No changes in those requirements as a result of this action are necessary. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. This action imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large Riverside County, California date handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/ MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to 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 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 2015–16 crop year began on October 1, 2015, and the marketing order requires that the rate of assessment for each crop year apply to all assessable dates handled during such crop year; (2) the action decreases the assessment rate for assessable dates E:\FR\FM\28OCR1.SGM 28OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 208 / Wednesday, October 28, 2015 / Rules and Regulations beginning with the 2015–16 crop year; (3) handlers are aware of this action which was unanimously recommended by the committee at a public meeting and is similar to other assessment rate actions issued in past years; and (4) this interim rule provides a 60-day comment period, and all comments timely received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 987 Dates, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 987 is amended as follows: PART 987—DATES PRODUCED OR PACKED IN RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 987 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Section 987.339 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 987.339 Assessment rate. On and after October 1, 2015, an assessment rate of $0.10 per hundredweight is established for Riverside County, California dates. Dated: October 22, 2015. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2015–27340 Filed 10–27–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION 12 CFR Parts 303 and 391 RIN 3064–AE24 Filing Requirements and Processing Procedures for Changes in Control With Respect to State Nonmember Banks and State Savings Associations Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: On November 25, 2014, the FDIC published a notice of proposed rulemaking (proposed rule or NPR) to amend its filing requirements and processing procedures for notices filed under the Change in Bank Control Act (Notices). The comment period closed January 26, 2015, and no comments were received. The FDIC is now adopting that proposed rule as final with one change (final rule). The final Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:19 Oct 27, 2015 Jkt 238001 rule accomplishes several objectives. First, the final rule consolidates into one subpart the current requirements and procedures for Notices filed with respect to State nonmember banks and certain parent companies thereof, and the requirements and procedures for Notices filed with respect to State savings associations and certain parent companies thereof. Second, the final rule rescinds the FDIC’s separate regulation governing the requirements and procedures for Notices filed with respect to State savings associations and certain parent companies thereof and rescinds any guidance issued by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) relating to changes in control of State savings associations that is inconsistent with the final rule. Third, the final rule adopts the best practices of the related regulations of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board of Governors). Finally, the final rule clarifies the FDIC’s requirements and procedures based on its experience interpreting and implementing the existing regulation. This final rule is also part of the FDIC’s continuing review of its regulations under the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996. DATES: The final rule is effective January 1, 2016. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ann Johnson Taylor, Supervisory Counsel, AJohnsonTaylor@fdic.gov; Gregory S. Feder, Counsel, GFeder@fdic.gov; Rachel J. Ackmann, Counsel, RAckmann@fdic.gov; Robert C. Fick, Senior Counsel, RFick@fdic.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background The Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDI Act) at section 7(j) (the Change in Bank Control Act) generally provides that no person may acquire control of an insured depository institution unless the person has provided the appropriate Federal banking agency prior written notice of the transaction and the banking agency has not objected to the proposed transaction.1 Subpart E of Part 303 of the FDIC’s rules and regulations 2 (Subpart E of Part 303) implements section 7(j) of the FDI Act and sets forth the filing requirements and processing procedures for Notices filed with respect to the proposed acquisition of State nonmember banks and certain parent companies thereof.3 1 12 U.S.C. 1817(j). CFR 303.80 et seq. 3 Certain industrial loan companies, trust companies, and credit card banks that are State 2 12 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 65889 The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 12 U.S.C. 5301, et seq. (Dodd-Frank Act), among other things, provided for a substantial reorganization of the regulation of State and Federal savings associations and their holding companies. On July 21, 2011, (the ‘‘transfer date’’ established by section 311 of the Dodd-Frank Act), the powers, duties, and functions formerly assigned to, or performed by, the OTS were transferred to (i) the FDIC, as to State savings associations; 4 (ii) the OCC, as to Federal savings associations; and (iii) the Board of Governors, as to savings and loan holding companies.5 Section 316(b) of the Dodd-Frank Act provides the manner of treatment for all orders, resolutions, determinations, regulations, and advisory materials that had been issued, made, prescribed, or allowed to become effective by the OTS.6 The section provides that if such materials were in effect on the day before the transfer date, they continue to be in effect and are enforceable by or against the appropriate successor agency until they are modified, terminated, set aside, or superseded in accordance with applicable law by such successor agency, by any court of competent jurisdiction, or by operation of law. Section 316(c) of the Dodd-Frank Act, further directed the FDIC and the OCC to consult with one another and to publish a list of the continued OTS regulations which would be enforced by each agency.7 On June 14, 2011, the Board of Directors of the FDIC (the Board) approved a ‘‘List of OTS Regulations to be Enforced by the OCC and the FDIC pursuant to the DoddFrank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’’. This list was published by the FDIC and the OCC as a Joint Notice in the Federal Register on July 6, 2011.8 Although section 312(b)(2)(B)(i)(II) of the Dodd-Frank Act granted the OCC rulemaking authority relating to savings associations, nothing in the Dodd-Frank Act affected the FDIC’s existing authority to issue regulations under the FDI Act and other laws as the nonmember banks under the FDI Act are not ‘‘banks’’ under the Bank Holding Company Act (‘‘BHC Act’’). 12 U.S.C. 1841(c)(2). Therefore, a company that seeks to control such an institution would not necessarily have to be a bank holding company under the BHC Act and would not have to be subject to supervision by the Board of Governors. However, such a company would have to file a Notice with, and obtain the approval of, the FDIC prior to acquiring such an institution. 4 As of June 2015, there are approximately 50 State savings associations insured by the FDIC. 5 12 U.S.C. 5411. 6 12 U.S.C. 5414(b). 7 12 U.S.C. 5414(c). 8 76 FR 39246 (July 6, 2011). E:\FR\FM\28OCR1.SGM 28OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 208 (Wednesday, October 28, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 65886-65889]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-27340]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 987

[Docket No. AMS-FV-15-0034; FV15-987-1 IR]


Domestic Dates Produced or Packed in Riverside County, 
California; Decreased Assessment Rate

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This rule implements a recommendation from the California Date 
Administrative Committee (committee) for a decrease in the assessment 
rate established for the 2015-16 and subsequent crop years from $0.20 
to $0.10 per hundredweight of dates handled. The committee locally 
administers the marketing order, which regulates the handling of dates 
grown or packed in Riverside County, California. Assessments upon date 
handlers are used by the committee to fund reasonable and necessary 
expenses of the program. The crop year begins October 1 and ends 
September 30. The new assessment rate will remain in effect 
indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

DATES: Effective October 29, 2015. Comments received by December 28, 
2015, 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, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, 
USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-
0237; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Comments should reference the docket number and the date and page 
number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be available for 
public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular 
business hours, or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All 
comments submitted in response to this rule will be included in the 
record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that 
the identity of the

[[Page 65887]]

individuals or entities submitting comments will be made public on the 
internet at the address provided above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Terry Vawter, Senior Marketing 
Specialist, or Martin Engeler, Regional Director, California Marketing 
Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops 
Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 487-5906, or 
Email: Terry.Vawter@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, Specialty Crops 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. 987, both as amended (7 CFR part 987), 
regulating the handling of dates produced or packed in Riverside 
County, 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, Riverside 
County, California, date handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to 
administer the order are derived from such assessments. It is intended 
that the assessment rate as issued herein will be applicable to all 
assessable dates beginning October 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 decreases the assessment rate established by the 
committee for the 2015-16 and subsequent crop years from $0.20 to $0.10 
per hundredweight of dates.
    The California date marketing order provides authority for the 
committee, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of 
expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the 
program. The members of the committee are date producers and handlers 
from Riverside County, California. They are familiar with the 
committee's needs and 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.
    The committee met on June 25, 2015, and unanimously recommended 
2015-16 expenditures of $59,250, and an assessment rate of $0.10 per 
hundredweight of Riverside County, California dates. In comparison, 
last year's budgeted expenditures were $56,200. The assessment rate of 
$0.10 is $0.10 lower than the rate currently in effect.
    This year's crop is estimated to be slightly larger than last 
year's crop. Sufficient income is expected to be generated when 
applying the recommended lower assessment rate to the larger crop. When 
combined with carry-in funds from the 2014-15 crop year, funding should 
be sufficient to cover anticipated 2015-16 expenses. The financial 
reserve will also be maintained within the limit specified under the 
order.
    The major expenditure recommended by the committee for the 2015-16 
crop year is $59,250 for general and administrative expenses. In 
comparison, the major expenditures recommended by the committee for the 
2014-15 crop year included $56,200 for general and administrative 
expenses, and $2,800 for contingency funds.
    The assessment rate of $0.10 per hundredweight of dates handled was 
recommended by the committee after considering several factors: The 
anticipated size of the 2015-16 crop, the committee's estimates of the 
incoming reserve, other income, and anticipated expenses. Date 
shipments for the year are estimated at 29,000,000 pounds (290,000 
hundredweight) which should provide $29,000 in assessment income. 
Income derived from handler assessments and funds from the committee's 
authorized reserve, should be adequate to cover budgeted expenses for 
the crop year.
    Section 987.72(d) of the order states that the committee may 
maintain a monetary reserve not to exceed the average of one year's 
expenses incurred during the most recent five preceding crop years, 
except that an established reserve need not be reduced to conform to 
any recomputed average. The committee expects to utilize $25,250 of the 
reserve during the year to cover expenses, leaving approximately 
$44,750 in the reserve account. The remaining reserve will be below the 
limit specified in the order.
    The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in 
effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA 
upon recommendation and information submitted by the committee or other 
available information.
    Although this assessment rate is effective for an indefinite 
period, the committee will continue to meet prior to or during each 
crop year to recommend a budget of expenses and consider 
recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and 
times of committee meetings are available from the committee or USDA. 
Committee meetings are open to the public and interested persons may 
express their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate committee 
recommendations and other available information to determine whether 
modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking will 
be undertaken as necessary. The committee's 2015-16 budget and those 
for subsequent crop years will be reviewed and, as appropriate, 
approved by USDA.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 
has considered the economic impact of this rule on small entities. 
Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
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

[[Page 65888]]

small entities acting on their own behalf.
    There are approximately 70 date producers in the production area 
and 11 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. The 
Small Business Administration defines small agricultural producers as 
those having annual receipts of less than $750,000, and small 
agricultural service firms as those whose annual receipts are less than 
$7,000,000. (13 CFR 121.201)
    According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), 
data for the most-recently completed crop year (2014) shows that about 
3.54 tons, or 7,080 pounds, of dates were produced per acre. The 2014 
producer price published by NASS was $1,190 per ton. Thus, the value of 
date production per acre in 2014-15 averaged about $4,213 (3.54 tons 
times $1,190 per ton). At that average price, a producer would have to 
farm over 178 acres to receive an annual income from dates of $750,000 
($750,000 divided by $4,213 per acre equals 178.02 acres). According to 
committee staff, the majority of California date producers farm less 
than 178 acres. Thus, it can be concluded that the majority of date 
producers could be considered small entities. In addition, according to 
data from the committee staff, the majority of California date handlers 
have receipts of less than $7,000,000 and may also be considered small 
entities.
    This rule decreases the assessment rate established by the 
committee and collected from handlers for the 2015-16 and subsequent 
crop years from $0.20 to $0.10 per hundredweight of dates handled. The 
committee unanimously recommended 2015-16 expenditures of $59,250 and 
an assessment rate of $0.10 per hundredweight of dates, which is $0.10 
lower than the 2014-15 rate currently in effect. The quantity of 
assessable dates for the 2015-16 crop year is estimated at 29,000,000 
pounds (290,000 hundredweight). Thus, the $0.10 rate should provide 
$29,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler's 
assessments, and funds from the committee's authorized reserve, and 
other funds should be adequate to cover expenses for the 2015-16 crop 
year.
    The major expenditure recommended by the committee for the 2015-16 
crop year is $59,250 for general and administrative expenses. In 
comparison, the major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 
2014-15 crop year included $56,200 for general and administrative 
expenses and $2,800 for contingency funds.
    The committee recommended a lower assessment rate because income 
generated from the lower assessment rate applied to the larger crop, 
combined with carry-in funds from the 2014-15 crop year, should be 
sufficient to cover anticipated 2015-16 expenses and to maintain a 
financial reserve within the limit specified under the order.
    Section 987.72(d) of the order states that the committee may 
maintain a monetary reserve not to exceed the average of one year's 
expenses incurred during the most recent five preceding crop years, 
except that an established reserve need not be reduced to conform to 
any recomputed average. The committee estimated a $70,000 reserve 
carry-in for the 2015-16 crop year. It expects to utilize $25,250 of 
the reserve during the year, for a carry-out of approximately $44,750, 
which is below the limit specified in the order.
    The committee reviewed and unanimously recommended 2015-16 crop 
year expenditures of $59,250. Prior to arriving at this budget, the 
Committee considered alternative expenditure levels and assessment 
rates. The committee recommended an assessment rate of $0.10 per 
hundredweight of dates after considering several factors including the 
anticipated 2015-16 crop size, the committee's estimates of the 
incoming reserve funds and other income, and its anticipated expenses.
    A review of historical and preliminary information pertaining to 
the upcoming crop year indicates that the producer price for the 2015-
16 crop year could be approximately $60.00 per hundredweight of dates. 
Utilizing these estimates and the assessment rate of $0.10 per 
hundredweight, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2015-16 crop 
year as a percentage of total producer revenue is approximately 0.17 
percent.
    This action decreases the assessment obligation imposed on 
handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and 
decreasing the assessment rate reduces the burden on handlers. In 
addition, the committee meeting was widely publicized throughout the 
California date industry, and all interested persons were invited to 
attend the meetings and encouraged to participate in committee 
deliberations on all issues. Like all committee meetings, the June 25, 
2015, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and 
small, were able to express views on this issue. Industry members also 
discussed the various possible assessment rates, potential crop size, 
and estimated expenses at this meeting. Finally, interested persons are 
invited to submit comments on this interim rule, including the 
regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small 
businesses.
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the order's information collection requirements have been 
previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and 
assigned OMB No. 0581-0178, ``Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing 
Orders.'' No changes in those requirements as a result of this action 
are necessary. Should any changes become necessary, they would be 
submitted to OMB for approval.
    This action imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large Riverside County, California date 
handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and 
forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and 
duplication by industry and public sector agencies.
    AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote 
the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide 
increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.
    USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, 
overlap, or conflict with this rule.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide. Any questions 
about the compliance guide should be sent to 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 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 2015-16 crop year began on October 1, 2015, 
and the marketing order requires that the rate of assessment for each 
crop year apply to all assessable dates handled during such crop year; 
(2) the action decreases the assessment rate for assessable dates

[[Page 65889]]

beginning with the 2015-16 crop year; (3) handlers are aware of this 
action which was unanimously recommended by the committee at a public 
meeting and is similar to other assessment rate actions issued in past 
years; and (4) this interim rule provides a 60-day comment period, and 
all comments timely received will be considered prior to finalization 
of this rule.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 987

    Dates, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 987 is 
amended as follows:

PART 987--DATES PRODUCED OR PACKED IN RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 987 continues to read as 
follows:

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


0
2. Section 987.339 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  987.339  Assessment rate.

    On and after October 1, 2015, an assessment rate of $0.10 per 
hundredweight is established for Riverside County, California dates.

    Dated: October 22, 2015.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-27340 Filed 10-27-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P