Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan; Redistricting and Importer Representation, 44966-44971 [2017-20610]

Download as PDF 44966 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 82, No. 186 Wednesday, September 27, 2017 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 1210 [Document Number AMS–SC–16–0097] Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan; Redistricting and Importer Representation Agricultural Marketing Service. Proposed rule. AGENCY: ACTION: This proposal invites comments on realigning the production districts under the Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan (Plan) for producer and handler membership on the National Watermelon Promotion Board (Board), and adding four importer seats to the Board. The Board administers the Plan with oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These changes were recommended by the Board after a review of the production volume in each district as well as assessments paid by importers. This action is necessary to provide for the equitable representation of producers, handlers and importers on the Board. The Plan requires that such a review be conducted every 5 years. This action would increase the number of importer seats from 8 to 12, thereby increasing the number of Board members from 37 to a total of 41: 14 producers, 14 handlers, 12 importers, and one public member. DATES: Comments must be received by October 27, 2017. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this proposal. Comments may be submitted on the internet at: http://www.regulations.gov or to the Promotion and Economics Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1406–S, Stop 0244, Washington, DC 20250–0244; facsimile: (202) 205–2800. All comments should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Sep 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 Register and will be made available for public inspection, including name and address, if provided, in the above office during regular business hours or it can be viewed at http:// www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stacy Jones King, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, Promotion and Economics Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1406–S, Stop 0244, Washington, DC 20250–0244; telephone: (202) 731–2117; facsimile: (202) 205–2800; or electronic mail: Stacy.JonesKing@ams.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposed rule is issued under the Plan (7 CFR part 1210). The Plan is authorized under the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act (Act) (7 U.S.C. 4901–4916). Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules and promoting flexibility. This action falls within a category of regulatory actions that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) exempted from Executive Order 12866 review. Additionally, because this proposed rule does not meet the definition of a significant regulatory action it does not trigger the requirements contained in Executive Order 13771. See OMB’s Memorandum titled ‘‘Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017, titled ‘Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs’ ’’ (February 2, 2017). Executive Order 13175 This action has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this regulation would not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 governments and would not have significant Tribal implications. Executive Order 12988 In addition, this proposal has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. It is not intended to have retroactive effect. The Act provides that it shall not affect or preempt any other State or Federal law authorizing promotion or research relating to an agricultural commodity. Under section 1650 of the Act (7 U.S.C. 4909), a person may file a written petition with USDA if they believe that the Plan, any provision of the Plan, or any obligation imposed in connection with the Plan, is not in accordance with the law. In any petition, the person may request a modification of the Plan or an exemption from the Plan. The petitioner will have the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. Afterwards, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will issue a decision. If the petitioner disagrees with the ALJ’s ruling, the petitioner has 30 days to appeal to the Judicial Officer, who will issue a ruling on behalf of USDA. If the petitioner disagrees with USDA’s ruling, the petitioner may file, within 20 days, an appeal in the U.S. District Court for the district where the petitioner resides or conducts business. Background Under the Plan, the Board administers a nationally coordinated program of research, development, advertising and promotion designed to strengthen the watermelon’s position in the market place and to establish, maintain, and expand markets for watermelons. The program is financed by assessments on producers growing 10 acres or more of watermelons, handlers of watermelons, and importers of 150,000 pounds of watermelons or more per year. The Plan specifies that handlers are responsible for collecting and submitting both the producer and handler assessments to the Board, reporting their handling of watermelons, and maintaining records necessary to verify their reporting(s). Importers are responsible for payment of assessments to the Board on watermelons imported into the United States through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs). This proposal invites comments on realigning the production districts under the Plan for producer and handler membership on the Board, and adding E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 27, 2017 / Proposed Rules four importer seats to the Board. The Board administers the Plan with oversight by USDA. These changes were recommended by the Board after a review of the production volume in each district as well as the assessments paid by importers. The Plan requires that such a review be conducted every 5 years. This action is necessary to provide for the equitable representation of producers, handlers and importers on the Board. Section 1210.320(a) of the Plan specifies that the Board shall be composed of producers, handlers, importers and one public representative appointed by the Secretary. Under the Plan, pursuant to section 1210.320(b), the United States is divided into seven districts of comparable production volumes of watermelons, and each district is allocated two producer members and two handler members. Section 1210.320(d) specifies that importer representation on the Board shall be proportionate to the percentage of assessments paid by importers to the Board, except that at least one representative of importers shall serve on the Board. The current Board is composed of 37 members—14 producers (one from each district), 14 handlers (one from each district), 8 importers and one public member. Review of U.S. Districts Section 1210.320(c) requires the Board, at least every 5 years, to review the districts to determine whether realignment is necessary. In conducting the review, the Board must consider: (1) The most recent 3 years of USDA production reports or Board assessment reports if USDA production reports are not available; (2) shifts and trends in quantities of watermelon produced, and (3) other relevant factors. As a result of the review, the Board may recommend to USDA that the districts be realigned. Pursuant to section 1210.501 of the Plan’s rules and regulations, the seven current districts are as follows: District 1—The Florida counties of Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Dade, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, and Volusia; District 2—The Florida counties of Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Okaloosa, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington, and the States of North Carolina and South Carolina; 44967 District 3—The State of Georgia; District 4—The States of Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Washington, DC; District 5—The State of California; District 6—The State of Texas; and District 7—The States of Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The districts listed above were recommended by the Board in 2010 and established through rulemaking by USDA in 2011 (76 FR 42009; July 18, 2011). The Board appointed a subcommittee in 2016 to conduct a review of the seven U.S. watermelon production districts to determine whether realignment was necessary. The subcommittee held a teleconference on July 27, 2016, and reviewed production data for 2013, 2014 and 2015 from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) Vegetables Annual Summary for 2015.1 The data is shown in Table 1 below. TABLE 1—U.S. WATERMELON PRODUCTION FIGURES FROM 2013–2015 Hundredweight 2013 2014 2015 3-Year average A B C D asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS State Alabama ............................................................................... Arizona ................................................................................. Arkansas .............................................................................. California .............................................................................. Delaware .............................................................................. Florida .................................................................................. Georgia ................................................................................ Indiana ................................................................................. Maryland .............................................................................. Mississippi ............................................................................ Missouri ................................................................................ North Carolina ...................................................................... Oklahoma ............................................................................. South Carolina ..................................................................... Texas ................................................................................... Virginia ................................................................................. United States ....................................................................... 377,000 1,800,000 336,000 5,800,000 864,000 6,262,000 5,580,000 2,414,000 1,056,000 400,000 843,000 1,710,000 242,000 2,734,000 5,520,000 164,000 36,102,000 456,000 1,334,000 320,000 6,384,000 833,000 4,827,000 5,130,000 2,964,000 1,089,000 378,000 837,000 1,155,000 364,000 1,862,000 5,200,000 130,000 33,263,000 420,000 1,584,000 338,000 5,512,000 761,000 5,880,000 5,510,000 2,415,000 1,040,000 315,000 572,000 1,798,000 540,000 2,736,000 5,520,000 163,000 35,104,000 417,667 1,572,667 331,333 5,898,667 819,333 5,656,333 5,406,667 2,597,667 1,061,667 364,333 750,667 1,554,333 382,000 2,444,000 5,413,333 152,333 34,823,000 % of U.S. 3-year average E 1.2 4.5 1.0 16.9 2.4 16.2 15.5 7.5 3.0 1.0 2.2 4.5 1.1 7.0 15.5 0.4 ........................ Column D equals the sum of (Columns A, B and C), divided by 3. Column E equals Column D divided by 34,823,000 pounds (the total for the U.S.), multiplied by 100. 1 Vegetables 2015 Summary, February 2016, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, p. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Sep 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 44. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/ VegeSumm//2010s/2016/VegeSumm-02-040- PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 2016.pdf. NASS lists watermelon data for 16 producing States. E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 44968 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 27, 2017 / Proposed Rules The subcommittee considered three scenarios in realigning the districts. All three scenarios would consolidate the State of Florida into District 1 and would make no changes to Districts 3 (Georgia), 5 (California), and 6 (Texas). Two of the scenarios would have moved the States of North and South Carolina into one district—District 2. Ultimately the subcommittee proposed the following changes: (1) Consolidating the State of Florida into one district by moving the Florida counties of Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Okaloosa, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington from District 2 to District 1; (2) moving the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia from District 4 to District 2; and (3) moving the State of Alabama from District 4 to District 7. As shown in Table 2, under the realignment, each district would represent, on average, 14 percent of the total U.S. production based on NASS data, with a range of 11 to 17 percent. TABLE 2—PROPOSED PERCENT OF U.S. PRODUCTION BY DISTRICT 2 % of U.S. production Districts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ 16 12 16 13 17 16 11 Upon review, the Board subsequently recommended through a mail ballot vote in late July 2016 that four of the seven production districts be realigned. The proposed districts would be as follows: District 1—The State of Florida; District 2—The States of Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia; District 3—The State of Georgia (no change); District 4—The States of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC; District 5—The State of California (no change); District 6—The State of Texas (no change); and District 7—The States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Additionally, USDA has reviewed the NASS report that was issued in February 2017.3 The data is shown in Table 3 below. While the data is in a slightly different format (consolidating some of the smaller producing states), the data is consistent with the Board’s recommendation. TABLE 3—U.S. WATERMELON PRODUCTION FIGURES 2016 State Hundredweight Alabama ................................................................................................................................................................... Arizona ..................................................................................................................................................................... Arkansas .................................................................................................................................................................. California .................................................................................................................................................................. Delaware .................................................................................................................................................................. Florida ...................................................................................................................................................................... Georgia .................................................................................................................................................................... Indiana ..................................................................................................................................................................... Maryland .................................................................................................................................................................. Mississippi ................................................................................................................................................................ Missouri .................................................................................................................................................................... North Carolina .......................................................................................................................................................... Oklahoma ................................................................................................................................................................. South Carolina ......................................................................................................................................................... Texas ....................................................................................................................................................................... Virginia ..................................................................................................................................................................... Other States ............................................................................................................................................................. United States ........................................................................................................................................................... * N/A 2,448,000 N/A 6,750,000 838,000 7,659,000 6,076,000 3,010,000 1,070,000 N/A ** D D N/A 2,592,000 7,250,000 N/A 2,432,000 40,125,000 % of total U.S. ........................ 6 ........................ 17 2 19 15 8 3 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 6 18 ........................ 7 ........................ * N/A means not available; the estimates were discontinued in 2016. ** D means that the data is withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS Section 1210.501 of the Plan’s rules and regulations would be revised accordingly. Review of Imports Section 1210.320(e) of the Plan requires USDA to evaluate the average 2 Table values were rounded to the nearest percent. 3 Vegetables 2016 Summary, February 2017, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, p. 103–104; http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Sep 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 annual percentage of assessments paid by importers during the 3-year period preceding the date of the evaluation and adjust, to the extent practicable, the number of importer representatives on the Board. Table 4 below shows domestic and import assessment data for watermelons for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015. The data is from the Board’s financial audits for 2013, 2014 4 and 2015.5 current/VegeSumm/VegeSumm-02-22-2017_ revision.pdf. 4 National Watermelon Promotion Board, Financial Statements and Supplementary Information, Years Ending March 31, 2015, and 2014, Cross, Fernandez & Riley, LLP, Accountants and Consultants, July 7, 2014, p. 6. 5 National Watermelon Promotion Board, Financial Statements and Supplementary Information, Years Ending March 31, 2016, and 2015, BDO USA, LLP, July 25, 2016, p. 8. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 27, 2017 / Proposed Rules 44969 TABLE 4—U.S. AND IMPORT ASSESSMENT DATA FOR 2013–2015 Domestic (U.S.) assessments Year 2013 ............................................................................................................................................. 2014 ............................................................................................................................................. 2015 ............................................................................................................................................. 3-Year Average ............................................................................................................................ Percent of Total ........................................................................................................................... asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS Based on this data, the three-year average annual import assessments for watermelons for 2013–2015 totaled $1,029,030, approximately 34 percent of the Board’s assessment income. Thus, increasing the number of importers on the Board from 8 to 14 members would reflect that almost 34 percent of the assessments were paid by importers over the 3-year period. However, due to the difficulty the Board has had in finding individuals that are both eligible and willing to serve in the current eight importer seats, it will likely be very challenging to fill six additional importer seats. Furthermore, under the nomination rules of the Plan, the Board would need to recommend to the Secretary at least two importers for each open seat, which would mean that 12 eligible and willing importers would have to be secured. For these reasons, the Board recommended only adding four importer seats (representing 30 percent of the total industry members) to ensure that it would have a sufficient number of potential nominees. The Board subsequently recommended through the July 2016 mail vote increasing the number of importer seats from 8 to 12, thereby increasing the number of Board members from 37 to a total of 41: 14 producers, 14 handlers, 12 importers, and one public member. Importers would represent 30 percent of the Board’s 40 industry members. (Importers (8) represent about 22 percent of the current Board’s 36 industry members.) Section 1210.502 of the Plan’s rules and regulations would be revised accordingly. If this proposed rule becomes final, nominations would be held as soon as possible to fill the four new importer seats. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601–612), AMS is required to examine the economic impact of this proposed rule on the small entities. Accordingly, AMS has considered the economic impact of this action on such entities. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Sep 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions so that small businesses will not be disproportionately burdened. The Small Business Administration defines, in 13 CFR part 121, small agricultural producers as those having annual receipts of no more than $750,000 and small agricultural service firms (handlers and importers) as those having annual receipts of no more than $7.5 million. According to the Board, there are 1,251 producers, 147 handlers, and 365 importers who are required to pay assessments under the program. NASS data for the 2016 crop year estimated about 354 hundredweight (cwt.) of watermelons were produced per acre in the United States, and the 2016 grower price was $14.40 per cwt.6 Thus, the value of watermelon production per acre in 2016 averaged about $5,098 (354 cwt. × $14.40). At that average price, a producer would have to farm over 147 acres to receive an annual income from watermelons of $750,000 ($750,000 divided by $5,098 per acre equals approximately 147 acres). Using 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture data, a maximum of 321 farms had watermelon acreage greater than or equal to 100 acres, and 12,675 out of a total of 12,996 farms producing watermelons reported less than 100 acres of watermelon on their farms.7 Therefore, assuming watermelon producers operate no more than one farm, a majority (97.5 percent) of all U.S. watermelon farms would be classified as small businesses. Using Board assessment data, 930 of the 1,251 (roughly 74 percent) of U.S. watermelon producers currently paying assessments to the Board would be classified as small businesses. Also based on the Board’s data, using an average freight on board (f.o.b.) price 6 Vegetables 2016 Summary, February 2017, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, p. 102–104. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/ current/VegeSumm/VegeSumm-02-22-2017_ revision.pdf. 7 2012 Census of Agriculture, May 2014, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, p. 36; https://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/ Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_1_US/usv1.pdf. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 $1,829,446 2,009,528 2,133,552 1,990,842 66 Import assessments $952,484 1,033,797 1,100,810 1,029,030 34 Total $2,781,930 3,043,325 3,234,362 3,019,872 ........................ of $0.186 per pound and the number of pounds handled annually, none of the watermelon handlers have receipts over the $7.5 million threshold.8 Therefore, the watermelon handlers would all be considered small businesses. A handler would have to ship over 40 million pounds of watermelons to be considered large (40,322,580 × $.0186 f.o.b. equals approximately $7,500,000). Based on 2016 Customs data, over 90 percent of watermelon importers shipped under $7.5 million worth of watermelons. Based on the foregoing, the majority of the producers, handlers and importers that would be affected by this proposed rule would be classified as small entities. Regarding the value of the commodity, based on 2016 NASS data, the value of the U.S. watermelon crop was about $578 million.9 According to Customs data, the value of 2016 imports was about $356 million. This proposal invites comments on revising sections 1210.501 and 1210.502 of the Plan’s rules and regulations, respectively, to change the boundaries of four of the seven U.S. production districts and to add four importers to the Board, increasing the size of the Board from 37 to 41 members. The Board administers the Plan with oversight by USDA. Under the Plan, the United States is divided into seven districts of comparable production volumes of watermelons, and each district is allocated two producer members and two handler members. Further, importer representation on the Board must be, to the extent practicable, proportionate to the percentage of assessments paid by importers, except there must be at least one importer on the Board. Every 5 years, the Board is required to evaluate, based on the preceding 3-year period, the average production in each production district and the average annual percentage of assessments paid by importers. The Board conducted this review in 2016 and recommended 8 National Watermelon Promotion Board assessment records, 2013–2015. 9 Vegetables, 2016 Summary, February 2017, USDA, p. 104. E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS 44970 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 27, 2017 / Proposed Rules changing the boundaries of four of the seven districts and increasing the importer membership by four members. Authority for these changes is provided in section 1210.320 of the Plan. Regarding the economic impact of the proposed rule on affected entities, neither the realignment of production districts nor the expansion of Board membership imposes additional costs on industry members. Eligible importers interested in serving on the Board would have to complete a background questionnaire. Those requirements are addressed in the section titled Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements. The recommended changes are necessary to provide for the equitable representation of producers, handlers and importers. Regarding alternatives, the Board considered three scenarios in realigning the districts. All three scenarios would consolidate the State of Florida in District 1 and would make no changes to Districts 3 (Georgia), 5 (California), and 6 (Texas). Two of the scenarios would have moved the States of North and South Carolina into one district— District 2. Ultimately the Board recommended consolidating the State of Florida into one district (District 1), moving the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia from District 4 to District 2; and moving the State of Alabama from District 4 to District 7. The Board recommended the alignment scenario described in this proposed rule because it: (1) Would provide for a proportional geographical representation on the Board for producers and handlers; (2) would not create any producer or handler vacancies on the Board; and (3) would streamline the nomination process for District 1 by condensing all the Florida counties into a single district. The Board’s recommendation is consistent with the 2011 realignment that kept States (except Florida) together. Regarding alternatives for importer representation, as stated previously, the three-year average annual imports for watermelon totals $1,029,030. This represents almost 34 percent of the total assessments paid to the Board. One alternative would be to add five or six importer seats (representing 33 and 35 percent, respectively, of the Board’s 40 industry members), so that importer representation would be proportionate to the percentage of importer assessments paid. However, due to the difficulty the Board has had in finding individuals that are both eligible and willing to serve in the current eight importer seats, it will likely be very challenging to fill six additional importer seats. Furthermore, under the nomination rules of the Plan, the Board VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Sep 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 would need to recommend to the Secretary at least two importers for each open seat, which would mean that 12 eligible and willing importers would have to be secured. For these reasons, the Board recommended only adding four importer seats (representing 30 percent of the total industry members) to ensure that it would have a sufficient number of potential nominees. This is consistent with section 1210.320(e) of the Plan which prescribes that the number of importer seats should be adjusted, to the extent practicable. The addition of four importers would allow for more importer representation in the Board’s decision making and also potentially provide an opportunity to increase diversity on the Board. Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the background form, which represents the information collection and recordkeeping requirements that are imposed by the Plan, have been approved previously under OMB number 0581–0093. The Plan requires that two nominees be submitted for each vacant position. With regard to information collection requirements, adding four importers to the Board means that eight additional importers would be required to submit background forms (Form AD–755) to USDA in order to verify their eligibility for appointment to the Board. However, serving on the Board is optional, and the burden of submitting the background form would be offset by the benefits of serving on the Board. The estimated annual cost of the eight importers providing the required information would be $66 or $8.25 per importer. The additional minimal burden would be included in the existing information collection package under OMB number 0581–0093. As with all Federal promotion programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. Finally, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this proposed rule. AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. Regarding outreach efforts, the Board formed a subcommittee to review the production, assessment and import data PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 to assess whether changes to the district boundaries and number of importers on the Board was warranted. The subcommittee held a teleconference on July 27, 2016. All Board and subcommittee meetings, including meetings held via teleconference, are open to the public and interested persons are invited to participate and express their views. We have performed this initial RFA analysis regarding the impact of these changes to the Plan on small entities and we invite comments concerning potential effects of this action. USDA has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with and would effectuate the purposes of the Act. A 30-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposal. Thirty days is deemed appropriate so that the proposed changes, if adopted, may be implemented as soon as possible to allow for nominations to be conducted to fill the four new importer seats. All written comments received in response to this proposed rule by the date specified would be considered prior to finalizing this action. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1210 Administrative practice and procedure, Advertising, Consumer information, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Watermelon promotion. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 1210 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 1210—WATERMELON RESEARCH AND PROMOTION PLAN 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 1210 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 4901–4916 and 7 U.S.C. 7401. Subpart C—Rules and Regulations 2. In § 1210.501, revise the introductory text and paragraphs (a), (b), (d) and (g) to read as follows: ■ § 1210.501 Realignment of districts. Pursuant to § 1210.320(c) of the Plan, the districts shall be as follows: (a) District 1—The State of Florida. (b) District 2—The States of Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. * * * * * (d) District 4—The States of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 27, 2017 / Proposed Rules Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC. * * * * * (g) District 7—The States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. ■ 3. Section 1210.502 is revised to read as follows: § 1210.502 Importer members. Pursuant to § 1210.320(d) of the Plan, there are twelve importer representatives on the Board based on the proportionate percentage of assessments paid by importers to the Board. Dated: September 21, 2017. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2017–20610 Filed 9–26–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Part 72 [NRC–2017–0138] RIN 3150–AK05 List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks: TN Americas LLC, Standardized NUHOMS® Horizontal Modular Storage System, Certificate of Compliance No. 1004, Renewal of Initial Certificate and Amendment Nos. 1 Through 11, 13, Revision 1, and 14 Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing to amend its spent fuel storage regulations by revising the Standardized NUHOMS® Horizontal Modular Storage System (NUHOMS® System) listing within the ‘‘List of approved spent fuel storage casks’’ to renew, for an additional 40-year period, Revision 1 of the initial certificate and Amendment Nos. 1 through 11, and 13, and Amendment No. 14 of Certificate of Compliance (CoC) No. 1004. These changes require, among other things, that all future amendments and revisions to this CoC include evaluations of the impacts to aging management activities (i.e., time-limited aging analyses and aging management programs (AMPs)) to ensure that they asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Sep 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 remain adequate for any changes to spent fuel storage cask systems, structures, and components (SSCs) within the scope of the renewal. Each general licensee using a NUHOMS® System at a reactor site must have a program to establish, implement, and maintain written procedures for each AMP described in the AREVA Inc. (AREVA) Updated Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR). In addition, the renewals reflect the change in the name of the CoC holder from AREVA to TN Americas LLC, and make several other changes as described in Section IV, ‘‘Discussion of Changes,’’ in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of a companion direct final rule published in the Rules and Regulations section of this issue of the Federal Register. DATES: Submit comments by October 27, 2017. Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC staff is able to ensure consideration only for comments received on or before this date. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2017–0138. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301–415–3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions contact the individuals listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. • Email comments to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact us at 301–415–1677. • Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 301– 415–1101. • Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff. • Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (Eastern Time) Federal workdays; telephone: 301–415–1677. For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see ‘‘Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments’’ in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christian Jacobs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, 301– 415–6825; email: Christian.Jacobs@ nrc.gov, or Robert D. MacDougall, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, 301–415–5175; email: PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 44971 Robert.MacDougall@nrc.gov. Both are staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555– 0001. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments II. Rulemaking Procedure III. Background IV. Plain Writing V. Availability of Documents I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2017– 0138 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publiclyavailable information related to this action by any of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2017–0138. • NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publiclyavailable documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ adams.html. To begin the search, select ‘‘ADAMS Public Documents’’ and then select ‘‘Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.’’ For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301–415–4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. For the convenience of the reader, instructions about obtaining materials referenced in this document are provided in the ‘‘Availability of Documents’’ section. • NRC’s PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC’s PDR, Room O1–F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. B. Submitting Comments Please include Docket ID NRC–2017– 0138 in your comment submission. The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http:// www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information. If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 186 (Wednesday, September 27, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 44966-44971]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-20610]


========================================================================
Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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


Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 27, 2017 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 44966]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 1210

[Document Number AMS-SC-16-0097]


Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan; Redistricting and 
Importer Representation

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: This proposal invites comments on realigning the production 
districts under the Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan (Plan) for 
producer and handler membership on the National Watermelon Promotion 
Board (Board), and adding four importer seats to the Board. The Board 
administers the Plan with oversight by the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA). These changes were recommended by the Board after a 
review of the production volume in each district as well as assessments 
paid by importers. This action is necessary to provide for the 
equitable representation of producers, handlers and importers on the 
Board. The Plan requires that such a review be conducted every 5 years. 
This action would increase the number of importer seats from 8 to 12, 
thereby increasing the number of Board members from 37 to a total of 
41: 14 producers, 14 handlers, 12 importers, and one public member.

DATES: Comments must be received by October 27, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments 
concerning this proposal. Comments may be submitted on the internet at: 
http://www.regulations.gov or to the Promotion and Economics Division, 
Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 
1406-S, Stop 0244, Washington, DC 20250-0244; facsimile: (202) 205-
2800. All comments should reference the document number and the date 
and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made 
available for public inspection, including name and address, if 
provided, in the above office during regular business hours or it can 
be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stacy Jones King, Agricultural 
Marketing Specialist, Promotion and Economics Division, Specialty Crops 
Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1406-S, Stop 
0244, Washington, DC 20250-0244; telephone: (202) 731-2117; facsimile: 
(202) 205-2800; or electronic mail: Stacy.JonesKing@ams.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposed rule is issued under the Plan 
(7 CFR part 1210). The Plan is authorized under the Watermelon Research 
and Promotion Act (Act) (7 U.S.C. 4901-4916).

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts and equity). Executive 
Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules and promoting flexibility. 
This action falls within a category of regulatory actions that the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) exempted from Executive Order 
12866 review. Additionally, because this proposed rule does not meet 
the definition of a significant regulatory action it does not trigger 
the requirements contained in Executive Order 13771. See OMB's 
Memorandum titled ``Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the 
Executive Order of January 30, 2017, titled `Reducing Regulation and 
Controlling Regulatory Costs' '' (February 2, 2017).

Executive Order 13175

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

Executive Order 12988

    In addition, this proposal has been reviewed under Executive Order 
12988, Civil Justice Reform. It is not intended to have retroactive 
effect. The Act provides that it shall not affect or preempt any other 
State or Federal law authorizing promotion or research relating to an 
agricultural commodity.
    Under section 1650 of the Act (7 U.S.C. 4909), a person may file a 
written petition with USDA if they believe that the Plan, any provision 
of the Plan, or any obligation imposed in connection with the Plan, is 
not in accordance with the law. In any petition, the person may request 
a modification of the Plan or an exemption from the Plan. The 
petitioner will have the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. 
Afterwards, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will issue a decision. If 
the petitioner disagrees with the ALJ's ruling, the petitioner has 30 
days to appeal to the Judicial Officer, who will issue a ruling on 
behalf of USDA. If the petitioner disagrees with USDA's ruling, the 
petitioner may file, within 20 days, an appeal in the U.S. District 
Court for the district where the petitioner resides or conducts 
business.

Background

    Under the Plan, the Board administers a nationally coordinated 
program of research, development, advertising and promotion designed to 
strengthen the watermelon's position in the market place and to 
establish, maintain, and expand markets for watermelons. The program is 
financed by assessments on producers growing 10 acres or more of 
watermelons, handlers of watermelons, and importers of 150,000 pounds 
of watermelons or more per year. The Plan specifies that handlers are 
responsible for collecting and submitting both the producer and handler 
assessments to the Board, reporting their handling of watermelons, and 
maintaining records necessary to verify their reporting(s). Importers 
are responsible for payment of assessments to the Board on watermelons 
imported into the United States through U.S. Customs and Border 
Protection (Customs).
    This proposal invites comments on realigning the production 
districts under the Plan for producer and handler membership on the 
Board, and adding

[[Page 44967]]

four importer seats to the Board. The Board administers the Plan with 
oversight by USDA. These changes were recommended by the Board after a 
review of the production volume in each district as well as the 
assessments paid by importers. The Plan requires that such a review be 
conducted every 5 years. This action is necessary to provide for the 
equitable representation of producers, handlers and importers on the 
Board.
    Section 1210.320(a) of the Plan specifies that the Board shall be 
composed of producers, handlers, importers and one public 
representative appointed by the Secretary. Under the Plan, pursuant to 
section 1210.320(b), the United States is divided into seven districts 
of comparable production volumes of watermelons, and each district is 
allocated two producer members and two handler members. Section 
1210.320(d) specifies that importer representation on the Board shall 
be proportionate to the percentage of assessments paid by importers to 
the Board, except that at least one representative of importers shall 
serve on the Board.
    The current Board is composed of 37 members--14 producers (one from 
each district), 14 handlers (one from each district), 8 importers and 
one public member.

Review of U.S. Districts

    Section 1210.320(c) requires the Board, at least every 5 years, to 
review the districts to determine whether realignment is necessary. In 
conducting the review, the Board must consider: (1) The most recent 3 
years of USDA production reports or Board assessment reports if USDA 
production reports are not available; (2) shifts and trends in 
quantities of watermelon produced, and (3) other relevant factors. As a 
result of the review, the Board may recommend to USDA that the 
districts be realigned.
    Pursuant to section 1210.501 of the Plan's rules and regulations, 
the seven current districts are as follows:
    District 1--The Florida counties of Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, 
Collier, Dade, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, 
Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, 
Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. 
Lucie, and Volusia;
    District 2--The Florida counties of Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, 
Calhoun, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, 
Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Holmes, 
Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, 
Nassau, Okaloosa, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, 
Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington, and the States of North 
Carolina and South Carolina;
    District 3--The State of Georgia;
    District 4--The States of Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, 
Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New 
Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, 
Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Washington, 
DC;
    District 5--The State of California;
    District 6--The State of Texas; and
    District 7--The States of Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, 
Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, 
Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, 
Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
    The districts listed above were recommended by the Board in 2010 
and established through rulemaking by USDA in 2011 (76 FR 42009; July 
18, 2011).
    The Board appointed a subcommittee in 2016 to conduct a review of 
the seven U.S. watermelon production districts to determine whether 
realignment was necessary. The subcommittee held a teleconference on 
July 27, 2016, and reviewed production data for 2013, 2014 and 2015 
from USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service's (NASS) 
Vegetables Annual Summary for 2015.\1\ The data is shown in Table 1 
below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Vegetables 2015 Summary, February 2016, USDA, National 
Agricultural Statistics Service, p. 44. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/VegeSumm//2010s/2016/VegeSumm-02-040-2016.pdf. NASS lists watermelon data for 16 producing States.

                           Table 1--U.S. Watermelon Production Figures From 2013-2015
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Hundredweight
              State              ------------------------------------------------ 3-Year average   % of U.S. 3-
                                       2013            2014            2015                        year average
                                               A               B               C               D               E
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama.........................         377,000         456,000         420,000         417,667             1.2
Arizona.........................       1,800,000       1,334,000       1,584,000       1,572,667             4.5
Arkansas........................         336,000         320,000         338,000         331,333             1.0
California......................       5,800,000       6,384,000       5,512,000       5,898,667            16.9
Delaware........................         864,000         833,000         761,000         819,333             2.4
Florida.........................       6,262,000       4,827,000       5,880,000       5,656,333            16.2
Georgia.........................       5,580,000       5,130,000       5,510,000       5,406,667            15.5
Indiana.........................       2,414,000       2,964,000       2,415,000       2,597,667             7.5
Maryland........................       1,056,000       1,089,000       1,040,000       1,061,667             3.0
Mississippi.....................         400,000         378,000         315,000         364,333             1.0
Missouri........................         843,000         837,000         572,000         750,667             2.2
North Carolina..................       1,710,000       1,155,000       1,798,000       1,554,333             4.5
Oklahoma........................         242,000         364,000         540,000         382,000             1.1
South Carolina..................       2,734,000       1,862,000       2,736,000       2,444,000             7.0
Texas...........................       5,520,000       5,200,000       5,520,000       5,413,333            15.5
Virginia........................         164,000         130,000         163,000         152,333             0.4
United States...................      36,102,000      33,263,000      35,104,000      34,823,000  ..............
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Column D equals the sum of (Columns A, B and C), divided by 3.
Column E equals Column D divided by 34,823,000 pounds (the total for the U.S.), multiplied by 100.


[[Page 44968]]

    The subcommittee considered three scenarios in realigning the 
districts. All three scenarios would consolidate the State of Florida 
into District 1 and would make no changes to Districts 3 (Georgia), 5 
(California), and 6 (Texas). Two of the scenarios would have moved the 
States of North and South Carolina into one district--District 2. 
Ultimately the subcommittee proposed the following changes: (1) 
Consolidating the State of Florida into one district by moving the 
Florida counties of Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Citrus, 
Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, 
Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, 
Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Okaloosa, 
Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, 
Wakulla, Walton, and Washington from District 2 to District 1; (2) 
moving the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia 
from District 4 to District 2; and (3) moving the State of Alabama from 
District 4 to District 7. As shown in Table 2, under the realignment, 
each district would represent, on average, 14 percent of the total U.S. 
production based on NASS data, with a range of 11 to 17 percent.

      Table 2--Proposed Percent of U.S. Production by District \2\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             % of U.S.
                        Districts                           production
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.......................................................              16
2.......................................................              12
3.......................................................              16
4.......................................................              13
5.......................................................              17
6.......................................................              16
7.......................................................              11
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Upon review, the Board subsequently recommended through a mail 
ballot vote in late July 2016 that four of the seven production 
districts be realigned. The proposed districts would be as follows:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Table values were rounded to the nearest percent.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    District 1--The State of Florida;
    District 2--The States of Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia;
    District 3--The State of Georgia (no change);
    District 4--The States of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, 
Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, 
New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and 
Washington, DC;
    District 5--The State of California (no change);
    District 6--The State of Texas (no change); and
    District 7--The States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, 
Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, 
Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North 
Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
    Additionally, USDA has reviewed the NASS report that was issued in 
February 2017.\3\ The data is shown in Table 3 below. While the data is 
in a slightly different format (consolidating some of the smaller 
producing states), the data is consistent with the Board's 
recommendation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Vegetables 2016 Summary, February 2017, USDA, National 
Agricultural Statistics Service, p. 103-104; http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/VegeSumm/VegeSumm-02-22-2017_revision.pdf.

            Table 3--U.S. Watermelon Production Figures 2016
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            % of total
                  State                    Hundredweight       U.S.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama.................................           * N/A  ..............
Arizona.................................       2,448,000               6
Arkansas................................             N/A  ..............
California..............................       6,750,000              17
Delaware................................         838,000               2
Florida.................................       7,659,000              19
Georgia.................................       6,076,000              15
Indiana.................................       3,010,000               8
Maryland................................       1,070,000               3
Mississippi.............................             N/A  ..............
Missouri................................            ** D  ..............
North Carolina..........................               D  ..............
Oklahoma................................             N/A  ..............
South Carolina..........................       2,592,000               6
Texas...................................       7,250,000              18
Virginia................................             N/A  ..............
Other States............................       2,432,000               7
United States...........................      40,125,000  ..............
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* N/A means not available; the estimates were discontinued in 2016.
** D means that the data is withheld to avoid disclosing data for
  individual operations.

    Section 1210.501 of the Plan's rules and regulations would be 
revised accordingly.

Review of Imports

    Section 1210.320(e) of the Plan requires USDA to evaluate the 
average annual percentage of assessments paid by importers during the 
3-year period preceding the date of the evaluation and adjust, to the 
extent practicable, the number of importer representatives on the 
Board.
    Table 4 below shows domestic and import assessment data for 
watermelons for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015. The data is from the 
Board's financial audits for 2013, 2014 \4\ and 2015.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ National Watermelon Promotion Board, Financial Statements 
and Supplementary Information, Years Ending March 31, 2015, and 
2014, Cross, Fernandez & Riley, LLP, Accountants and Consultants, 
July 7, 2014, p. 6.
    \5\ National Watermelon Promotion Board, Financial Statements 
and Supplementary Information, Years Ending March 31, 2016, and 
2015, BDO USA, LLP, July 25, 2016, p. 8.

[[Page 44969]]



                             Table 4--U.S. and Import Assessment Data for 2013-2015
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Domestic
                              Year                                    (U.S.)          Import           Total
                                                                    assessments     assessments
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2013............................................................      $1,829,446        $952,484      $2,781,930
2014............................................................       2,009,528       1,033,797       3,043,325
2015............................................................       2,133,552       1,100,810       3,234,362
3-Year Average..................................................       1,990,842       1,029,030       3,019,872
Percent of Total................................................              66              34  ..............
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on this data, the three-year average annual import 
assessments for watermelons for 2013-2015 totaled $1,029,030, 
approximately 34 percent of the Board's assessment income. Thus, 
increasing the number of importers on the Board from 8 to 14 members 
would reflect that almost 34 percent of the assessments were paid by 
importers over the 3-year period. However, due to the difficulty the 
Board has had in finding individuals that are both eligible and willing 
to serve in the current eight importer seats, it will likely be very 
challenging to fill six additional importer seats. Furthermore, under 
the nomination rules of the Plan, the Board would need to recommend to 
the Secretary at least two importers for each open seat, which would 
mean that 12 eligible and willing importers would have to be secured. 
For these reasons, the Board recommended only adding four importer 
seats (representing 30 percent of the total industry members) to ensure 
that it would have a sufficient number of potential nominees. The Board 
subsequently recommended through the July 2016 mail vote increasing the 
number of importer seats from 8 to 12, thereby increasing the number of 
Board members from 37 to a total of 41: 14 producers, 14 handlers, 12 
importers, and one public member. Importers would represent 30 percent 
of the Board's 40 industry members. (Importers (8) represent about 22 
percent of the current Board's 36 industry members.)
    Section 1210.502 of the Plan's rules and regulations would be 
revised accordingly.
    If this proposed rule becomes final, nominations would be held as 
soon as possible to fill the four new importer seats.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-
612), AMS is required to examine the economic impact of this proposed 
rule on the small entities. Accordingly, AMS has considered the 
economic impact of this action on such entities.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses subject to such actions so that small businesses will not be 
disproportionately burdened. The Small Business Administration defines, 
in 13 CFR part 121, small agricultural producers as those having annual 
receipts of no more than $750,000 and small agricultural service firms 
(handlers and importers) as those having annual receipts of no more 
than $7.5 million.
    According to the Board, there are 1,251 producers, 147 handlers, 
and 365 importers who are required to pay assessments under the 
program. NASS data for the 2016 crop year estimated about 354 
hundredweight (cwt.) of watermelons were produced per acre in the 
United States, and the 2016 grower price was $14.40 per cwt.\6\ Thus, 
the value of watermelon production per acre in 2016 averaged about 
$5,098 (354 cwt. x $14.40). At that average price, a producer would 
have to farm over 147 acres to receive an annual income from 
watermelons of $750,000 ($750,000 divided by $5,098 per acre equals 
approximately 147 acres). Using 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture data, a 
maximum of 321 farms had watermelon acreage greater than or equal to 
100 acres, and 12,675 out of a total of 12,996 farms producing 
watermelons reported less than 100 acres of watermelon on their 
farms.\7\ Therefore, assuming watermelon producers operate no more than 
one farm, a majority (97.5 percent) of all U.S. watermelon farms would 
be classified as small businesses. Using Board assessment data, 930 of 
the 1,251 (roughly 74 percent) of U.S. watermelon producers currently 
paying assessments to the Board would be classified as small 
businesses.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Vegetables 2016 Summary, February 2017, USDA, National 
Agricultural Statistics Service, p. 102-104. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/VegeSumm/VegeSumm-02-22-2017_revision.pdf.
    \7\ 2012 Census of Agriculture, May 2014, USDA, National 
Agricultural Statistics Service, p. 36; https://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_1_US/usv1.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Also based on the Board's data, using an average freight on board 
(f.o.b.) price of $0.186 per pound and the number of pounds handled 
annually, none of the watermelon handlers have receipts over the $7.5 
million threshold.\8\ Therefore, the watermelon handlers would all be 
considered small businesses. A handler would have to ship over 40 
million pounds of watermelons to be considered large (40,322,580 x 
$.0186 f.o.b. equals approximately $7,500,000).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ National Watermelon Promotion Board assessment records, 
2013-2015.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on 2016 Customs data, over 90 percent of watermelon importers 
shipped under $7.5 million worth of watermelons. Based on the 
foregoing, the majority of the producers, handlers and importers that 
would be affected by this proposed rule would be classified as small 
entities.
    Regarding the value of the commodity, based on 2016 NASS data, the 
value of the U.S. watermelon crop was about $578 million.\9\ According 
to Customs data, the value of 2016 imports was about $356 million.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Vegetables, 2016 Summary, February 2017, USDA, p. 104.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This proposal invites comments on revising sections 1210.501 and 
1210.502 of the Plan's rules and regulations, respectively, to change 
the boundaries of four of the seven U.S. production districts and to 
add four importers to the Board, increasing the size of the Board from 
37 to 41 members. The Board administers the Plan with oversight by 
USDA.
    Under the Plan, the United States is divided into seven districts 
of comparable production volumes of watermelons, and each district is 
allocated two producer members and two handler members. Further, 
importer representation on the Board must be, to the extent 
practicable, proportionate to the percentage of assessments paid by 
importers, except there must be at least one importer on the Board.
    Every 5 years, the Board is required to evaluate, based on the 
preceding 3-year period, the average production in each production 
district and the average annual percentage of assessments paid by 
importers. The Board conducted this review in 2016 and recommended

[[Page 44970]]

changing the boundaries of four of the seven districts and increasing 
the importer membership by four members. Authority for these changes is 
provided in section 1210.320 of the Plan.
    Regarding the economic impact of the proposed rule on affected 
entities, neither the realignment of production districts nor the 
expansion of Board membership imposes additional costs on industry 
members. Eligible importers interested in serving on the Board would 
have to complete a background questionnaire. Those requirements are 
addressed in the section titled Reporting and Recordkeeping 
Requirements. The recommended changes are necessary to provide for the 
equitable representation of producers, handlers and importers.
    Regarding alternatives, the Board considered three scenarios in 
realigning the districts. All three scenarios would consolidate the 
State of Florida in District 1 and would make no changes to Districts 3 
(Georgia), 5 (California), and 6 (Texas). Two of the scenarios would 
have moved the States of North and South Carolina into one district--
District 2. Ultimately the Board recommended consolidating the State of 
Florida into one district (District 1), moving the States of Kentucky, 
Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia from District 4 to District 2; 
and moving the State of Alabama from District 4 to District 7. The 
Board recommended the alignment scenario described in this proposed 
rule because it: (1) Would provide for a proportional geographical 
representation on the Board for producers and handlers; (2) would not 
create any producer or handler vacancies on the Board; and (3) would 
streamline the nomination process for District 1 by condensing all the 
Florida counties into a single district. The Board's recommendation is 
consistent with the 2011 realignment that kept States (except Florida) 
together.
    Regarding alternatives for importer representation, as stated 
previously, the three-year average annual imports for watermelon totals 
$1,029,030. This represents almost 34 percent of the total assessments 
paid to the Board. One alternative would be to add five or six importer 
seats (representing 33 and 35 percent, respectively, of the Board's 40 
industry members), so that importer representation would be 
proportionate to the percentage of importer assessments paid. However, 
due to the difficulty the Board has had in finding individuals that are 
both eligible and willing to serve in the current eight importer seats, 
it will likely be very challenging to fill six additional importer 
seats. Furthermore, under the nomination rules of the Plan, the Board 
would need to recommend to the Secretary at least two importers for 
each open seat, which would mean that 12 eligible and willing importers 
would have to be secured. For these reasons, the Board recommended only 
adding four importer seats (representing 30 percent of the total 
industry members) to ensure that it would have a sufficient number of 
potential nominees. This is consistent with section 1210.320(e) of the 
Plan which prescribes that the number of importer seats should be 
adjusted, to the extent practicable. The addition of four importers 
would allow for more importer representation in the Board's decision 
making and also potentially provide an opportunity to increase 
diversity on the Board.

Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the background form, which represents the information 
collection and recordkeeping requirements that are imposed by the Plan, 
have been approved previously under OMB number 0581-0093. The Plan 
requires that two nominees be submitted for each vacant position. With 
regard to information collection requirements, adding four importers to 
the Board means that eight additional importers would be required to 
submit background forms (Form AD-755) to USDA in order to verify their 
eligibility for appointment to the Board. However, serving on the Board 
is optional, and the burden of submitting the background form would be 
offset by the benefits of serving on the Board. The estimated annual 
cost of the eight importers providing the required information would be 
$66 or $8.25 per importer. The additional minimal burden would be 
included in the existing information collection package under OMB 
number 0581-0093.
    As with all Federal promotion programs, reports and forms are 
periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and 
duplication by industry and public sector agencies. Finally, USDA has 
not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or 
conflict with this proposed rule.
    AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote 
the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide 
increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.
    Regarding outreach efforts, the Board formed a subcommittee to 
review the production, assessment and import data to assess whether 
changes to the district boundaries and number of importers on the Board 
was warranted. The subcommittee held a teleconference on July 27, 2016. 
All Board and subcommittee meetings, including meetings held via 
teleconference, are open to the public and interested persons are 
invited to participate and express their views.
    We have performed this initial RFA analysis regarding the impact of 
these changes to the Plan on small entities and we invite comments 
concerning potential effects of this action.
    USDA has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with and 
would effectuate the purposes of the Act.
    A 30-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to 
respond to this proposal. Thirty days is deemed appropriate so that the 
proposed changes, if adopted, may be implemented as soon as possible to 
allow for nominations to be conducted to fill the four new importer 
seats. All written comments received in response to this proposed rule 
by the date specified would be considered prior to finalizing this 
action.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1210

    Administrative practice and procedure, Advertising, Consumer 
information, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Watermelon promotion.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 1210 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 1210--WATERMELON RESEARCH AND PROMOTION PLAN

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 1210 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 4901-4916 and 7 U.S.C. 7401.

Subpart C--Rules and Regulations

0
2. In Sec.  1210.501, revise the introductory text and paragraphs (a), 
(b), (d) and (g) to read as follows:


Sec.  1210.501  Realignment of districts.

    Pursuant to Sec.  1210.320(c) of the Plan, the districts shall be 
as follows:
    (a) District 1--The State of Florida.
    (b) District 2--The States of Kentucky, North Carolina, South 
Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
* * * * *
    (d) District 4--The States of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, 
Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New 
Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode

[[Page 44971]]

Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC.
* * * * *
    (g) District 7--The States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, 
Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, 
Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North 
Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
0
3. Section 1210.502 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  1210.502  Importer members.

    Pursuant to Sec.  1210.320(d) of the Plan, there are twelve 
importer representatives on the Board based on the proportionate 
percentage of assessments paid by importers to the Board.

    Dated: September 21, 2017.
Bruce Summers,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2017-20610 Filed 9-26-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-02-P