Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Pummelos Grown in Florida; Change in Size Requirements for Oranges, 53397-53400 [2017-24701]

Download as PDF 53397 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 82, No. 220 Thursday, November 16, 2017 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 905 [Doc. No. AMS–SC–17–0064; SC17–905–2 IR] Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Pummelos Grown in Florida; Change in Size Requirements for Oranges Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments. AGENCY: This rule implements a recommendation from the Citrus Administrative Committee (Committee) to relax the minimum size requirements currently prescribed under the marketing Order for oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and pummelos grown in Florida (Order). The Committee locally administers the order and is comprised of growers and handlers operating within the production area and one public member. This rule relaxes the minimum size requirements for oranges from 28⁄16 inches to 24⁄16 inches in diameter. This rule will maximize shipments by allowing more oranges to be shipped to the fresh market and help reduce the losses sustained by the citrus industry during the September 2017 hurricane in Florida. This rule also contains a formatting change to subpart references to bring the Order language into conformance with Office of Federal Register’s guidelines. DATES: Effective November 17, 2017; comments received by January 16, 2018 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: nshattuck on DSK9F9SC42PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:33 Nov 15, 2017 Jkt 244001 (202) 720–8938; or Internet: http:// www.regulations.gov. All comments should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be made public on the Internet at the address provided above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Abigail Campos, Marketing Specialist, or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Director, Southeast Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324– 3375, Fax: (863) 291–8614, or Email: Abigail.Campos@ams.usda.gov or Christian.Nissen@ams.usda.gov. Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Richard Lower, 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: Richard.Lower@ams.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 905, as amended (7 CFR part 905), regulating the handling of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and pummelos grown in Florida, 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 13563 and 13175. This rule falls within a category of regulatory actions that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) exempted from Executive Order 12866 review. Additionally, because this 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 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 ‘Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs’ ’’ (February 2, 2017). This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. A handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA’s ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling. This rule relaxes the minimum size requirements for oranges prescribed under the Order. This rule relaxes the minimum size requirements for oranges from 28⁄16 inches to 24⁄16 inches in diameter. This rule will maximize shipments by allowing more oranges to be shipped to the fresh market and help reduce the losses sustained by the orange industry during the September 2017 hurricane in Florida. This change was unanimously recommended by the Committee at meetings held on June 29, 2017, and September 28, 2017. Section 905.52 of the Order provides authority to establish minimum size requirements for Florida citrus. Section 905.306 of the rules and regulation issued under the Order specifies, in part, the minimum size requirements for oranges. Requirements for domestic shipments are specified in § 905.306 in Table I of paragraph (a) and export shipments in Table II of paragraph (b). At its June 29, 2017, meeting, the Committee discussed the continuing decline in production as a result of losses from citrus greening, which is affecting the entire production area. The Committee also recognized that some consumers are now showing a preference for smaller-sized fruit. The Committee agreed the current minimum E:\FR\FM\16NOR1.SGM 16NOR1 53398 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 220 / Thursday, November 16, 2017 / Rules and Regulations nshattuck on DSK9F9SC42PROD with RULES size should be relaxed in order to make additional fruit available for shipment. The Committee met again on September 28, 2017, to discuss the additional damage Hurricane Irma caused to the current crop and revisited the discussion regarding the need to reduce the minimum size requirements. The major orange-growing regions in Florida suffered significant damage and fruit loss from the hurricane. The strong winds from the storm blew substantial volumes of fruit off the trees. The impact of the storm is also expected to produce a much higher than normal fruit drop. The extent of the loss is evident in the official USDA crop estimate for this season, which reflects a 21 percent decrease from last year’s estimate. Further, as the industry continues to assess the damage caused by the storm, fruit loss estimates may go even higher. Given the limited supply of fruit due to greening and the impact of Hurricane Irma, the Committee believes relaxing the size requirements for oranges is needed to make more fruit available for shipment. Committee members recognized that with the special circumstances surrounding this season, and with the ongoing impacts of citrus greening, some allowances should be made to assist growers and handlers and provide additional volume to the market. The Committee believes relaxing the size requirements will make more fruit available to meet market demand, help maximize fresh shipments, increase returns to growers and handlers, and help address the losses stemming from the hurricane. Consequently, the Committee recommended changing the minimum size requirements for oranges from 28⁄16 inches to 24⁄16 inches in diameter. The Committee also recommended a relaxation in the minimum size requirements for grapefruit covered under the Order. That change is being considered under a separate action. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601–612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in that they are brought about VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:33 Nov 15, 2017 Jkt 244001 through group action of essentially small entities acting on their own behalf. There are approximately 20 handlers of Florida citrus who are subject to regulation under the Order and approximately 500 citrus producers in the regulated area. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,500,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000 (13 CFR 121.201). According to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the industry, and the Committee, the average f.o.b. price for Florida oranges during the 2016–17 season was $31.90 per box, and total fresh orange shipments were approximately 2.1 million boxes. Using the average f.o.b. price and shipment data, the majority of Florida orange handlers could be considered small businesses under SBA’s definition ($31.90 times 2.1 million boxes equals $66.99 million divided by 20 handlers equals $3,349,500 per handler). In addition, based on the NASS data, the average grower price for the 2016–2017 season was $17.51 per box. Based on grower price, shipment data, and the total number of Florida citrus growers, the average annual grower revenue is below $750,000 ($17.51 times 2.1 million boxes equals $36,771,000 divided by 500 growers equals $73,542 per grower). Thus, the majority of handlers and producers of oranges may be classified as small entities. This rule relaxes the minimum size requirements for oranges covered under the Order from 28⁄16 inches to 24⁄16 inches in diameter. This change is expected to maximize shipments by allowing more oranges to be shipped to the fresh market and will help reduce the losses sustained by the grapefruit industry as a result of citrus greening and the September 2017 hurricane in Florida. Authority for this change is provided in § 905.52. This rule amends § 905.306. The Committee unanimously recommended this change at its June 29, 2017, and September 28, 2017, meetings. This action is not expected to increase the costs associated with the Order’s requirements. Rather, it is anticipated this action will have a beneficial impact. Reducing the size requirements will make additional fruit available for shipment to the fresh market, provide an outlet for fruit that may otherwise go unharvested, and afford more opportunity to meet consumer demand. This change will provide additional PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 fruit to fill the shortage caused by citrus greening and by Hurricane Irma. Further, by maximizing shipments, this action will help provide additional returns to growers and handlers as they work to recover from the losses stemming from the hurricane. This action may also help reduce harvesting costs. By reducing the minimum size, more fruit will be able to be harvested immediately. This may eliminate the need to leave fruit on the tree to increase in size, which requires follow-up picking later in the season. Given the amount of fruit loss, this could help reduce picking costs substantially. The benefits of this rule are expected to be equally available to all fresh orange growers and handlers, regardless of their size. An alternative to this action would be to maintain the current minimum requirements for domestic shipments of oranges. However, leaving the requirements unchanged would not make additional of fruit available for shipment. Following the significant damage experienced by the industry from the September 2017 hurricane, maximizing shipments will help provide additional returns to growers and handlers as they recover from the loss. Another alternative considered was to reduce the minimum maturity requirements. However, Committee members thought it was important to maintain the maturity requirements to ensure overall quality. Therefore, this alternative was rejected. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the Order’s information collection requirements have been previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581–0189, Generic Fruit Crops. No changes in those requirements as a result of this action are necessary. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. This rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large orange handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that E:\FR\FM\16NOR1.SGM 16NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 220 / Thursday, November 16, 2017 / Rules and Regulations duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule. Further, the Committee’s meetings were widely publicized throughout the Florida citrus industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meetings and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all Committee meetings, the June 29, 2017, and September 28, 2017, meetings were public meetings and all entities, both large and small, were able to express their views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this interim rule, including the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small businesses. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/ rules-regulations/moa/small-businesses. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Richard Lower at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. This rule invites comments on the change to the size requirements for oranges currently prescribed under the Marketing Order for oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and pummelos grown in Florida. Any comments received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the Committee’s recommendation, and other information, it is found that this interim rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. 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. The Florida citrus industry has been dealing with the devastating effects of citrus greening for more than 10 years, resulting in ever smaller harvests, and escalating production costs. The September 2017 hurricane caused significant additional damage and crop loss to the industry, with losses running into the millions of dollars. This rule, in conjunction with a companion rule for grapefruit, will bring some muchneeded relief by providing additional fruit for shipment to the fresh market and to increase returns to growers and handlers. Based on the size frequency measurements provided by NASS as part of grapefruit and orange crop estimates, the recommended relaxation in size for both grapefruit and oranges could make an additional 20 to 25 percent of the crop available for shipment to the fresh market. Based on estimates, this could mean an additional volume of about 700,000 boxes of citrus available for shipment. Using an average fresh price per box of around $30, this could provide the industry with an additional $20 million in returns for the 2017–18 season. This rule relieves a restriction on the size of oranges that can be shipped to the fresh market. Therefore, good cause exists for this rule becoming effective one day after publication in the Federal Register. In addition, the Committee unanimously recommended these changes at public meetings, and interested parties had an opportunity to provide input. Further, this rule provides a 60-day comment period and any comments received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. This rule also contains a formatting change to subpart references to bring the Order language into conformance with Office of Federal Register’s guidelines. 53399 List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 905 Grapefruit, Marketing agreements, Oranges, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Tangelos, Tangerines. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 905 is amended as follows: PART 905—ORANGES, GRAPEFRUIT, TANGERINES, AND PUMMELOS GROWN IN FLORIDA 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 905 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–604. [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart A] 2. Redesignate ‘‘Subpart—Order Regulating Handling’’ as ‘‘Subpart A— Order Regulating Handling’’. ■ [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart B and Amended] 3. Redesignate ‘‘Subpart—Rules and Regulations’’ as subpart B and revise the heading to read as follows: ■ Subpart B—Administrative Requirements [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart C] 4. Redesignate ‘‘Subpart—Assessment Rates’’ as ‘‘Subpart C—Assessment Rate’’. ■ [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart D] 5. Redesignate ‘‘Subpart—Grade and Size Requirements’’ as ‘‘Subpart D— Grade and Size Requirements’’. ■ 6. In § 905.306, Table I in paragraph (a) and Table II in paragraph (b) are amended by revising the entries for ‘‘Early and midseason,’’ ‘‘Navel,’’ ‘‘Temple,’’ and ‘‘Valencia and other late type’’ under ‘‘Oranges,’’ to read as follows: ■ § 905.306 Orange, Grapefruit, Tangerine and Tangelo Regulation. (a) * * * TABLE I Variety Regulation period Minimum grade Minimum diameter (inches) (1) (2) (3) (4) nshattuck on DSK9F9SC42PROD with RULES Oranges Early and midseason ............................... Navel ................................................. Temple .............................................. Valencia and other late type ............. 01/29/90–08/19/90 .................................. On and after 08/20/90 ............................. On and after 12/7/81 ............................... On and after 12/7/81 ............................... September 1–May 14, May 15–June 14 June 15–August 31 ................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:33 Nov 15, 2017 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 U.S. U.S. U.S. U.S. U.S. U.S. U.S. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. 1 Golden ................................... 1 ............................................... 1 ............................................... 1 ............................................... 1 ............................................... 1 Golden ................................... 2, External/U.S. No. 1, Internal E:\FR\FM\16NOR1.SGM 16NOR1 24⁄16 24⁄16 24⁄16 24⁄16 24⁄16 24⁄16 24⁄16 53400 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 220 / Thursday, November 16, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE I—Continued Variety Regulation period Minimum grade Minimum diameter (inches) (1) (2) (3) (4) * * * * * * * (b) * * * TABLE II Variety Regulation period Minimum grade Minimum diameter (inches) (1) (2) (3) (4) Oranges Early and midseason ............................... Navel ................................................. Temple .............................................. Valencia and other late type ............. * * * 01/29/90–08/19/90 .................................. On and after 08/20/90 ............................. On and after 11/24/89 ............................. On and after 11/24/89 ............................. March 23, 1992–9/27/92 ......................... On and after 9/28/92 ............................... * * * * * [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart E and Amended] 7. Redesignate ‘‘Subpart—Interpretive Rule’’ as subpart E and revise the heading to read as follows: ■ Subpart E—Interpretations Dated: November 9, 2017. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2017–24701 Filed 11–15–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 33 [Docket No. FAA–2017–0537; Notice No. 33– 17–02–SC] nshattuck on DSK9F9SC42PROD with RULES Special Conditions: General Electric Company, GE9X Engine Models; Endurance Test Special Conditions Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Final special conditions. These special conditions are issued for the General Electric Company turbofan engine models GE9X–105B1A, –105B1A1, –105B1A2, –105B1A3, VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:33 Nov 15, 2017 Jkt 244001 No. No. No. No. No. No. –102B1A, –102B1A1, –102B1A2, –102B1A3, and –93B1A. In these special conditions, the engine models will be referred to as ‘‘GE9X.’’ The engines will have novel or unusual design features associated with the engine design. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for these design features. These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards. DATES: Effective December 18, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Diane Cook, AIR–6A1, Engine and Propeller Standards Branch, Aircraft Certification Service, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803–5213; telephone (781) 238–7111; facsimile (781) 238–7199; email diane.cook@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 29, 2016, General Electric Company (GE) applied for a type certificate for their new GE9X turbofan engine models. The GE9X engine models are high-bypass-ratio engines that incorporate novel or unusual design features. The GE9X engine models incorporate new technologies such that the company cannot run the endurance test conditions prescribed in § 33.87 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 1 1 1 1 1 1 Golden ................................... ............................................... Golden ................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... * Background AGENCY: SUMMARY: * U.S. U.S. U.S. U.S. U.S. U.S. Sfmt 4700 * 24⁄16 24⁄16 24⁄16 24⁄16 24⁄16 24⁄16 * without significant modifications making the test vehicle nonrepresentative of the type design. Discussion An alternative endurance test cycle has been developed that provides a level of safety equivalent with that intended by § 33.87. The alternate endurance test provides the test conditions that allow the engine to be run in type design configuration and demonstrate engine operability and durability as well as systems functionality to a level intended by the current § 33.87 rule. These special conditions provide the necessary conditions for verification of engine-level and component-level effects as intended by the current § 33.87 Endurance test. The test is run in engine type design configuration, with only limited test enabling modifications as needed. The special conditions include a demonstration for the oil, fuel, air bleed, and accessory drive systems as required in the current § 33.87 Endurance test. The equivalent level of severity intended by the § 33.87 Endurance test is provided by an engine test demonstration at the gas path limiting temperature and at shaft speed redlines and at the most extreme shaft speeds as determined through a critical point analysis (CPA). In addition, times on condition and cycle counts were developed to allow additional challenges to the novel or unusual E:\FR\FM\16NOR1.SGM 16NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 220 (Thursday, November 16, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 53397-53400]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-24701]



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

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

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 

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


Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 220 / Thursday, November 16, 2017 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 53397]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 905

[Doc. No. AMS-SC-17-0064; SC17-905-2 IR]


Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Pummelos Grown in Florida; 
Change in Size Requirements for Oranges

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This rule implements a recommendation from the Citrus 
Administrative Committee (Committee) to relax the minimum size 
requirements currently prescribed under the marketing Order for 
oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and pummelos grown in Florida (Order). 
The Committee locally administers the order and is comprised of growers 
and handlers operating within the production area and one public 
member. This rule relaxes the minimum size requirements for oranges 
from 2\8/16\ inches to 2\4/16\ inches in diameter. This rule will 
maximize shipments by allowing more oranges to be shipped to the fresh 
market and help reduce the losses sustained by the citrus industry 
during the September 2017 hurricane in Florida. This rule also contains 
a formatting change to subpart references to bring the Order language 
into conformance with Office of Federal Register's guidelines.

DATES: Effective November 17, 2017; comments received by January 16, 
2018 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. All 
comments should reference the document number and the date and page 
number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available 
for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular 
business hours, or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All 
comments submitted in response to this rule will be included in the 
record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that 
the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments 
will be made public on the Internet at the address provided above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Abigail Campos, Marketing Specialist, 
or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Director, Southeast Marketing Field 
Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops 
Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324-3375, Fax: (863) 291-8614, or 
Email: Abigail.Campos@ams.usda.gov or Christian.Nissen@ams.usda.gov.
    Small businesses may request information on complying with this 
regulation by contacting Richard Lower, 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: Richard.Lower@ams.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing Order 
No. 905, as amended (7 CFR part 905), regulating the handling of 
oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and pummelos grown in Florida, 
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 13563 and 13175. This rule falls 
within a category of regulatory actions that the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) exempted from Executive Order 12866 review. 
Additionally, because this 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'[thinsp]'' (February 2, 2017).
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect.
    The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted 
before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the 
Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition 
stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation 
imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and 
request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. A 
handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. 
After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides 
that the district court of the United States in any district in which 
the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of 
business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, 
provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of 
the entry of the ruling.
    This rule relaxes the minimum size requirements for oranges 
prescribed under the Order. This rule relaxes the minimum size 
requirements for oranges from 2\8/16\ inches to 2\4/16\ inches in 
diameter. This rule will maximize shipments by allowing more oranges to 
be shipped to the fresh market and help reduce the losses sustained by 
the orange industry during the September 2017 hurricane in Florida. 
This change was unanimously recommended by the Committee at meetings 
held on June 29, 2017, and September 28, 2017.
    Section 905.52 of the Order provides authority to establish minimum 
size requirements for Florida citrus. Section 905.306 of the rules and 
regulation issued under the Order specifies, in part, the minimum size 
requirements for oranges. Requirements for domestic shipments are 
specified in Sec.  905.306 in Table I of paragraph (a) and export 
shipments in Table II of paragraph (b).
    At its June 29, 2017, meeting, the Committee discussed the 
continuing decline in production as a result of losses from citrus 
greening, which is affecting the entire production area. The Committee 
also recognized that some consumers are now showing a preference for 
smaller-sized fruit. The Committee agreed the current minimum

[[Page 53398]]

size should be relaxed in order to make additional fruit available for 
shipment.
    The Committee met again on September 28, 2017, to discuss the 
additional damage Hurricane Irma caused to the current crop and 
revisited the discussion regarding the need to reduce the minimum size 
requirements. The major orange-growing regions in Florida suffered 
significant damage and fruit loss from the hurricane. The strong winds 
from the storm blew substantial volumes of fruit off the trees. The 
impact of the storm is also expected to produce a much higher than 
normal fruit drop. The extent of the loss is evident in the official 
USDA crop estimate for this season, which reflects a 21 percent 
decrease from last year's estimate. Further, as the industry continues 
to assess the damage caused by the storm, fruit loss estimates may go 
even higher. Given the limited supply of fruit due to greening and the 
impact of Hurricane Irma, the Committee believes relaxing the size 
requirements for oranges is needed to make more fruit available for 
shipment.
    Committee members recognized that with the special circumstances 
surrounding this season, and with the ongoing impacts of citrus 
greening, some allowances should be made to assist growers and handlers 
and provide additional volume to the market. The Committee believes 
relaxing the size requirements will make more fruit available to meet 
market demand, help maximize fresh shipments, increase returns to 
growers and handlers, and help address the losses stemming from the 
hurricane. Consequently, the Committee recommended changing the minimum 
size requirements for oranges from 2\8/16\ inches to 2\4/16\ inches in 
diameter.
    The Committee also recommended a relaxation in the minimum size 
requirements for grapefruit covered under the Order. That change is 
being considered under a separate action.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 
has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. 
Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued 
pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in 
that they are brought about through group action of essentially small 
entities acting on their own behalf.
    There are approximately 20 handlers of Florida citrus who are 
subject to regulation under the Order and approximately 500 citrus 
producers in the regulated area. Small agricultural service firms are 
defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having 
annual receipts of less than $7,500,000, and small agricultural 
producers are defined as those having annual receipts of less than 
$750,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    According to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service 
(NASS), the industry, and the Committee, the average f.o.b. price for 
Florida oranges during the 2016-17 season was $31.90 per box, and total 
fresh orange shipments were approximately 2.1 million boxes. Using the 
average f.o.b. price and shipment data, the majority of Florida orange 
handlers could be considered small businesses under SBA's definition 
($31.90 times 2.1 million boxes equals $66.99 million divided by 20 
handlers equals $3,349,500 per handler). In addition, based on the NASS 
data, the average grower price for the 2016-2017 season was $17.51 per 
box. Based on grower price, shipment data, and the total number of 
Florida citrus growers, the average annual grower revenue is below 
$750,000 ($17.51 times 2.1 million boxes equals $36,771,000 divided by 
500 growers equals $73,542 per grower). Thus, the majority of handlers 
and producers of oranges may be classified as small entities.
    This rule relaxes the minimum size requirements for oranges covered 
under the Order from 2\8/16\ inches to 2\4/16\ inches in diameter. This 
change is expected to maximize shipments by allowing more oranges to be 
shipped to the fresh market and will help reduce the losses sustained 
by the grapefruit industry as a result of citrus greening and the 
September 2017 hurricane in Florida. Authority for this change is 
provided in Sec.  905.52. This rule amends Sec.  905.306. The Committee 
unanimously recommended this change at its June 29, 2017, and September 
28, 2017, meetings.
    This action is not expected to increase the costs associated with 
the Order's requirements. Rather, it is anticipated this action will 
have a beneficial impact. Reducing the size requirements will make 
additional fruit available for shipment to the fresh market, provide an 
outlet for fruit that may otherwise go unharvested, and afford more 
opportunity to meet consumer demand. This change will provide 
additional fruit to fill the shortage caused by citrus greening and by 
Hurricane Irma. Further, by maximizing shipments, this action will help 
provide additional returns to growers and handlers as they work to 
recover from the losses stemming from the hurricane.
    This action may also help reduce harvesting costs. By reducing the 
minimum size, more fruit will be able to be harvested immediately. This 
may eliminate the need to leave fruit on the tree to increase in size, 
which requires follow-up picking later in the season. Given the amount 
of fruit loss, this could help reduce picking costs substantially. The 
benefits of this rule are expected to be equally available to all fresh 
orange growers and handlers, regardless of their size.
    An alternative to this action would be to maintain the current 
minimum requirements for domestic shipments of oranges. However, 
leaving the requirements unchanged would not make additional of fruit 
available for shipment. Following the significant damage experienced by 
the industry from the September 2017 hurricane, maximizing shipments 
will help provide additional returns to growers and handlers as they 
recover from the loss. Another alternative considered was to reduce the 
minimum maturity requirements. However, Committee members thought it 
was important to maintain the maturity requirements to ensure overall 
quality. Therefore, this alternative was rejected.
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the Order's information collection requirements have been 
previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581-0189, Generic 
Fruit Crops. No changes in those requirements as a result of this 
action are necessary. Should any changes become necessary, they would 
be submitted to OMB for approval.
    This rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large orange handlers. As with all 
Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically 
reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry 
and public sector agencies.
    AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote 
the use of the Internet and other information technologies to provide 
increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.
    In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules 
that

[[Page 53399]]

duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule.
    Further, the Committee's meetings were widely publicized throughout 
the Florida citrus industry and all interested persons were invited to 
attend the meetings and participate in Committee deliberations. Like 
all Committee meetings, the June 29, 2017, and September 28, 2017, 
meetings were public meetings and all entities, both large and small, 
were able to express their views on this issue. Finally, interested 
persons are invited to submit comments on this interim rule, including 
the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small 
businesses.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/moa/small-businesses. Any questions 
about the compliance guide should be sent to Richard Lower at the 
previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section.
    This rule invites comments on the change to the size requirements 
for oranges currently prescribed under the Marketing Order for oranges, 
grapefruit, tangerines, and pummelos grown in Florida. Any comments 
received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule.
    After consideration of all relevant material presented, including 
the Committee's recommendation, and other information, it is found that 
this interim rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate 
the declared policy of the Act.
    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. 
The Florida citrus industry has been dealing with the devastating 
effects of citrus greening for more than 10 years, resulting in ever 
smaller harvests, and escalating production costs. The September 2017 
hurricane caused significant additional damage and crop loss to the 
industry, with losses running into the millions of dollars. This rule, 
in conjunction with a companion rule for grapefruit, will bring some 
much-needed relief by providing additional fruit for shipment to the 
fresh market and to increase returns to growers and handlers. Based on 
the size frequency measurements provided by NASS as part of grapefruit 
and orange crop estimates, the recommended relaxation in size for both 
grapefruit and oranges could make an additional 20 to 25 percent of the 
crop available for shipment to the fresh market. Based on estimates, 
this could mean an additional volume of about 700,000 boxes of citrus 
available for shipment. Using an average fresh price per box of around 
$30, this could provide the industry with an additional $20 million in 
returns for the 2017-18 season. This rule relieves a restriction on the 
size of oranges that can be shipped to the fresh market. Therefore, 
good cause exists for this rule becoming effective one day after 
publication in the Federal Register. In addition, the Committee 
unanimously recommended these changes at public meetings, and 
interested parties had an opportunity to provide input. Further, this 
rule provides a 60-day comment period and any comments received will be 
considered prior to finalization of this rule. This rule also contains 
a formatting change to subpart references to bring the Order language 
into conformance with Office of Federal Register's guidelines.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 905

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

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 905 is 
amended as follows:

PART 905--ORANGES, GRAPEFRUIT, TANGERINES, AND PUMMELOS GROWN IN 
FLORIDA

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 905 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 601-604.

[Subpart Redesignated as Subpart A]

0
2. Redesignate ``Subpart--Order Regulating Handling'' as ``Subpart A--
Order Regulating Handling''.

[Subpart Redesignated as Subpart B and Amended]

0
3. Redesignate ``Subpart--Rules and Regulations'' as subpart B and 
revise the heading to read as follows:

Subpart B--Administrative Requirements

[Subpart Redesignated as Subpart C]

0
4. Redesignate ``Subpart--Assessment Rates'' as ``Subpart C--Assessment 
Rate''.

[Subpart Redesignated as Subpart D]

0
5. Redesignate ``Subpart--Grade and Size Requirements'' as ``Subpart 
D--Grade and Size Requirements''.

0
6. In Sec.  905.306, Table I in paragraph (a) and Table II in paragraph 
(b) are amended by revising the entries for ``Early and midseason,'' 
``Navel,'' ``Temple,'' and ``Valencia and other late type'' under 
``Oranges,'' to read as follows:


Sec.  905.306  Orange, Grapefruit, Tangerine and Tangelo Regulation.

    (a) * * *

                                                     Table I
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Minimum
                 Variety                       Regulation period             Minimum grade           diameter
                                                                                                     (inches)
(1)                                       (2).......................  (3).......................             (4)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Oranges
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Early and midseason.....................  01/29/90-08/19/90.........  U.S. No. 1 Golden.........         2\4/16\
                                          On and after 08/20/90.....  U.S. No. 1................         2\4/16\
    Navel...............................  On and after 12/7/81......  U.S. No. 1................         2\4/16\
    Temple..............................  On and after 12/7/81......  U.S. No. 1................         2\4/16\
    Valencia and other late type........  September 1-May 14, May 15- U.S. No. 1................         2\4/16\
                                           June 14.                   U.S. No. 1 Golden.........         2\4/16\
                                          June 15-August 31.........  U.S. No. 2, External/U.S.          2\4/16\
                                                                       No. 1, Internal.
 

[[Page 53400]]

 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) * * *

                                                    Table II
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Minimum
                 Variety                       Regulation period             Minimum grade           diameter
                                                                                                     (inches)
(1)                                       (2).......................  (3).......................             (4)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Oranges
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Early and midseason.....................  01/29/90-08/19/90.........  U.S. No. 1 Golden.........         2\4/16\
                                          On and after 08/20/90.....  U.S. No. 1................         2\4/16\
    Navel...............................  On and after 11/24/89.....  U.S. No. 1 Golden.........         2\4/16\
    Temple..............................  On and after 11/24/89.....  U.S. No. 1................         2\4/16\
    Valencia and other late type........  March 23, 1992-9/27/92....  U.S. No. 1................         2\4/16\
                                          On and after 9/28/92......  U.S. No. 1................         2\4/16\
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

[Subpart Redesignated as Subpart E and Amended]

0
7. Redesignate ``Subpart--Interpretive Rule'' as subpart E and revise 
the heading to read as follows:

Subpart E--Interpretations

    Dated: November 9, 2017.
Bruce Summers,
Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-24701 Filed 11-15-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-02-P