Onions Grown in South Texas; Increased Assessment Rate, 592-594 [2017-28504]

Download as PDF 592 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 4 / Friday, January 5, 2018 / Rules and Regulations Dated: December 29, 2017. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2017–28505 Filed 1–4–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 959 [Doc. No. AMS–SC–17–0040; SC17–959–1 FR] Onions Grown in South Texas; Increased Assessment Rate Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This rule implements a recommendation from the South Texas Onion Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2017–18 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.05 to $0.065 per 50pound equivalent of onions handled under the Marketing Order (Order). The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. DATES: Effective February 5, 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doris Jamieson, 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: Doris.Jamieson@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 action, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, proposes an amendment to regulations issued to carry out a marketing order as defined in 7 CFR 900.2(j). This rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 959, as amended (7 CFR part 959), regulating the handling of onions grown in South Texas. Part 959 (hereinafter referred to as 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 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:04 Jan 04, 2018 Jkt 244001 Committee locally administers the Order and is comprised of producers and handlers of onions operating within the area of production. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Orders 13563 and 13175. 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 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). This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the Marketing Order now in effect, South Texas onion handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the Order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate as issued herein will be applicable to all assessable onions beginning on August 1, 2017, and continue until amended, suspended, or terminated. The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. Such handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA’s ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling. This rule increases the assessment rate established for the 2017–18 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.05 to $0.065 per 50-pound equivalent of onions handled. The South Texas Onion Marketing Order provides authority for the Committee, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the program. The members of the Committee are PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 producers and handlers of South Texas onions. They are familiar with the Committee’s needs and with the costs for goods and services in their local area and are thus in a position to formulate an appropriate budget and assessment rate. The assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a public meeting. Thus, all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate and provide input. For the 2015–16 and subsequent fiscal periods, the Committee recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue in effect from fiscal period to fiscal period unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other information available to USDA. The Committee met on June 7, 2017, and unanimously recommended 2017– 18 expenditures of $149,807, the same as budgeted last fiscal year, and an assessment rate of $0.065 per 50-pound equivalent of onions. The assessment rate of $0.065 is $0.015 higher than the rate currently in effect. The Committee recommended the increase so assessments would be sufficient to cover the Committee’s anticipated expenditures while providing additional funds to help replenish the Committee’s reserve fund, which has been depleted due to declines in production. With the Committee’s recommended $0.015 increase and estimated shipments of approximately three million 50-pound equivalents, assessment income should be approximately $195,000. The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2017–18 fiscal year include $50,000 for compliance, $37,050 for administrative, and $32,942 for management costs. Budgeted expenses for these items were the same in 2016–17. The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by considering anticipated expenses, expected shipments of South Texas onions, and the level of funds in reserve. As mentioned earlier, onion shipments for the year are estimated at three million 50-pound equivalents, which should provide $195,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler assessments would be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. The Committee currently has no money in reserves. The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other available information. E:\FR\FM\05JAR1.SGM 05JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 4 / Friday, January 5, 2018 / Rules and Regulations daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Although this assessment rate will be in effect for an indefinite period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each fiscal period to recommend a budget of expenses and consider recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and times of Committee meetings are available from the Committee or USDA. Committee meetings are open to the public, and interested persons may express their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate Committee recommendations and other available information to determine whether modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking will be undertaken as necessary. The Committee’s 2017–18 budget and those for subsequent fiscal periods would be reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by USDA. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601–612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in that they are brought about through group action of essentially small entities acting on their own behalf. There are approximately 60 producers of onions in the production area and approximately 30 handlers subject to regulation under the Marketing Order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration as those having annual receipts less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $7,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201). Based on information from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the weighted grower price for South Texas onions during the 2015–16 season was approximately $12.30 per 50-pound equivalent. According to Committee data, total shipments were approximately three million 50-pound equivalents. Using the weighted average price and shipment information, and assuming a normal distribution, the majority of producers would have annual receipts of less than $750,000. The average handler price for South Texas onions during the 2015–16 season VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:04 Jan 04, 2018 Jkt 244001 was approximately $14.05 per 50-pound equivalent. Using the average price and shipment information, the number of handlers, and assuming a normal distribution, the majority of handlers would have average annual receipts of less than $7,500,000. Thus, the majority of South Texas onion producers and handlers may be classified as small entities. This rule increases the assessment rate established for the Committee and collected from handlers for the 2017–18 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.05 to $0.065 per 50-pound equivalent of Texas onions. The Committee unanimously recommended 2017–18 expenditures of $149,807 and an assessment rate of $0.065 per 50-pound equivalent. The assessment rate of $0.065 is $0.015 higher than the 2016– 17 rate. The quantity of assessable onions for the 2017–18 fiscal period is estimated at three million 50-pound equivalents. Thus, the $0.065 rate should provide $195,000 in assessment income and be adequate to meet this year’s expenses. The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2017–18 year include $50,000 for compliance, $37,050 for administrative, and $32,942 for management. Budgeted expenses for these items were the same in 2016–17. With the 2017–18 crop estimated to be three million 50-pound equivalents, the current assessment rate would be sufficient to cover the Committee’s anticipated expenditures but would not provide any additional monies to help replenish the Committee’s reserve fund, which has been depleted due to declines in production. The Committee considered the proposed expenses and the state of the reserve fund and recommended the assessment increase. With the Committee’s recommended $0.015 increase, assessment income should be approximately $195,000 and be adequate to cover anticipated expenses and add funds to the authorized reserve. Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Committee considered information from various sources, such as the Committee’s Budget and Personnel Committee. Alternative expenditure levels were discussed by these groups, based upon the relative value of various activities to the South Texas onion industry. The Committee ultimately determined that 2017–18 expenditures of $149,807 were appropriate, and the recommended assessment rate would generate sufficient revenue to meet its expenses. A review of historical information and preliminary information pertaining to PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 593 the upcoming fiscal period indicates that the grower price for the 2017–18 season could be approximately $12.00 per 50-pound equivalent of Texas onions. Therefore, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2017–18 fiscal period as a percentage of total grower revenue could be about 0.5 percent. This action increases the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. While assessments impose some additional costs on handlers, the costs are minimal and uniform on all handlers. Some of the additional costs may be passed on to producers. However, these costs are offset by the benefits derived by the operation of the Marketing Order. In addition, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the South Texas onion industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the June 7, 2017, meeting was a public meeting, and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the Order’s information collection requirements have been previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581–0178 (Vegetable and Specialty 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 imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large South Texas onion handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. As noted in the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this final rule. AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on September 19, 2017 (82 FR 43713). Copies of the proposed rule were also mailed or sent via facsimile to all South Texas onion handlers. Finally, the proposal was made available through the internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 30-day E:\FR\FM\05JAR1.SGM 05JAR1 594 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 4 / Friday, January 5, 2018 / Rules and Regulations comment period ending October 19, 2017, was provided for interested persons to respond to the proposal. Two comments were received in support of the rule. One commenter stated the increase would help the fair trade movement. The other commenter stated the increase in the assessment rate was reasonable to cover the increased costs of goods and services. Accordingly, no changes will be made to the rule as proposed, based on the comments received. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/ 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. After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. § 959.237 List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 959 SUMMARY: Marketing agreements, Onions, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 959 is amended as follows: PART 959—ONIONS GROWN IN SOUTH TEXAS 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 959 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. Subpart A—[Amended] 2. Designate the subpart labeled ‘‘Order Regulating Handling’’ as subpart A. ■ Subpart B—Administrative Provisions 3. Designate the subpart labeled ‘‘Rules and Regulations’’ as subpart B and revise the heading as shown above. ■ daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Subparts ‘‘Assessment Rates’’ and ‘‘Handling Regulations’’—[Amended] 4. Remove the subpart headings ‘‘Assessment Rates’’ and ‘‘Handling Regulations’’. ■ 5. Transfer §§ 959.237 and 959.322 to subpart B. ■ 6. Section 959.237 is revised to read as follows: ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:04 Jan 04, 2018 Jkt 244001 Assessment rate. On and after August 1, 2017, an assessment rate of $0.065 per 50-pound equivalent is established for South Texas onions. Dated: December 29, 2017. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2017–28504 Filed 1–4–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2017–1183; Product Identifier 2013–NM–022–AD; Amendment 39–19147; AD 2018–01–06] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Fokker Services B.V. Airplanes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Final rule; request for comments. AGENCY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Fokker Services B.V. Model F28 Mark 0070 and 0100 airplanes. This AD requires contacting the FAA to obtain instructions for addressing the unsafe condition on these products, and doing the actions specified in those instructions. This AD was prompted by a report of an engine multiple fan blade release event. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products. DATES: This AD becomes effective January 22, 2018. We must receive comments on this AD by February 20, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Examining the AD Docket You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2017– 1183; or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone: 800–647–5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Rodriguez, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW, Renton, WA 98057–3356; telephone: 425–227–1137; fax: 425– 227–1149. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2013–0010, January 14, 2013 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or ‘‘the MCAI’’), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Fokker Services B.V. Model F28 Mark 0070 and 0100. The MCAI states: Recently, a Tay 620 engine multiple fan blade release event occurred on an F28 Mk. 0070 aeroplane. As a result, low energy fan blade fragments exited the engine by penetrating the engine nose cowl. Although the investigation is still on-going, one of the findings was an incorrect adjustment of the (emergency) maximum reverse thrust stop. Consequently, attempts to select (emergency) maximum reverse thrust led to stabilized engine operation in an N1 speed range that, in combination with other contributing factors, may have caused high fan blade stresses due to flutter. This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to further cases of multiple fan blade release, possibly resulting in damage to the aeroplane and injury to occupants. For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires a one-time inspection to verify the correct adjustment of the (emergency) maximum reverse thrust stop position and, if an incorrect adjustment is found, accomplishment of applicable corrective action(s). To support the investigation, this [EASA] AD also requires that all findings are reported to Fokker Services. You may examine the MCAI on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2017–1183. E:\FR\FM\05JAR1.SGM 05JAR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 4 (Friday, January 5, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 592-594]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-28504]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 959

[Doc. No. AMS-SC-17-0040; SC17-959-1 FR]


Onions Grown in South Texas; Increased Assessment Rate

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This rule implements a recommendation from the South Texas 
Onion Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established 
for the 2017-18 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.05 to $0.065 per 
50-pound equivalent of onions handled under the Marketing Order 
(Order). The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless 
modified, suspended, or terminated.

DATES: Effective February 5, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doris Jamieson, 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: [email protected] or [email protected].
    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: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This action, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, 
proposes an amendment to regulations issued to carry out a marketing 
order as defined in 7 CFR 900.2(j). This rule is issued under Marketing 
Order No. 959, as amended (7 CFR part 959), regulating the handling of 
onions grown in South Texas. Part 959 (hereinafter referred to as 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 Committee locally administers the Order and is comprised 
of producers and handlers of onions operating within the area of 
production.
    The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in 
conformance with Executive Orders 13563 and 13175. 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 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).
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. Under the Marketing Order now in effect, South Texas 
onion handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the 
Order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the 
assessment rate as issued herein will be applicable to all assessable 
onions beginning on August 1, 2017, and continue until amended, 
suspended, or terminated.
    The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted 
before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the 
Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition 
stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation 
imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and 
request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. Such 
handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. 
After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides 
that the district court of the United States in any district in which 
the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of 
business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, 
provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of 
the entry of the ruling.
    This rule increases the assessment rate established for the 2017-18 
and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.05 to $0.065 per 50-pound 
equivalent of onions handled.
    The South Texas Onion Marketing Order provides authority for the 
Committee, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of 
expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the 
program. The members of the Committee are producers and handlers of 
South Texas onions. They are familiar with the Committee's needs and 
with the costs for goods and services in their local area and are thus 
in a position to formulate an appropriate budget and assessment rate. 
The assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a public meeting. 
Thus, all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate 
and provide input.
    For the 2015-16 and subsequent fiscal periods, the Committee 
recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue 
in effect from fiscal period to fiscal period unless modified, 
suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information 
submitted by the Committee or other information available to USDA.
    The Committee met on June 7, 2017, and unanimously recommended 
2017-18 expenditures of $149,807, the same as budgeted last fiscal 
year, and an assessment rate of $0.065 per 50-pound equivalent of 
onions. The assessment rate of $0.065 is $0.015 higher than the rate 
currently in effect. The Committee recommended the increase so 
assessments would be sufficient to cover the Committee's anticipated 
expenditures while providing additional funds to help replenish the 
Committee's reserve fund, which has been depleted due to declines in 
production. With the Committee's recommended $0.015 increase and 
estimated shipments of approximately three million 50-pound 
equivalents, assessment income should be approximately $195,000.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2017-18 
fiscal year include $50,000 for compliance, $37,050 for administrative, 
and $32,942 for management costs. Budgeted expenses for these items 
were the same in 2016-17.
    The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by 
considering anticipated expenses, expected shipments of South Texas 
onions, and the level of funds in reserve. As mentioned earlier, onion 
shipments for the year are estimated at three million 50-pound 
equivalents, which should provide $195,000 in assessment income. Income 
derived from handler assessments would be adequate to cover budgeted 
expenses. The Committee currently has no money in reserves.
    The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in 
effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA 
upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other 
available information.

[[Page 593]]

    Although this assessment rate will be in effect for an indefinite 
period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each 
fiscal period to recommend a budget of expenses and consider 
recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and 
times of Committee meetings are available from the Committee or USDA. 
Committee meetings are open to the public, and interested persons may 
express their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate Committee 
recommendations and other available information to determine whether 
modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking will 
be undertaken as necessary. The Committee's 2017-18 budget and those 
for subsequent fiscal periods would be reviewed and, as appropriate, 
approved by USDA.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 
has considered the economic impact of this rule on small entities. 
Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final regulatory flexibility 
analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued 
pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in 
that they are brought about through group action of essentially small 
entities acting on their own behalf.
    There are approximately 60 producers of onions in the production 
area and approximately 30 handlers subject to regulation under the 
Marketing Order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small 
Business Administration as those having annual receipts less than 
$750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as those 
whose annual receipts are less than $7,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    Based on information from the National Agricultural Statistics 
Service, the weighted grower price for South Texas onions during the 
2015-16 season was approximately $12.30 per 50-pound equivalent. 
According to Committee data, total shipments were approximately three 
million 50-pound equivalents. Using the weighted average price and 
shipment information, and assuming a normal distribution, the majority 
of producers would have annual receipts of less than $750,000. The 
average handler price for South Texas onions during the 2015-16 season 
was approximately $14.05 per 50-pound equivalent. Using the average 
price and shipment information, the number of handlers, and assuming a 
normal distribution, the majority of handlers would have average annual 
receipts of less than $7,500,000. Thus, the majority of South Texas 
onion producers and handlers may be classified as small entities.
    This rule increases the assessment rate established for the 
Committee and collected from handlers for the 2017-18 and subsequent 
fiscal periods from $0.05 to $0.065 per 50-pound equivalent of Texas 
onions. The Committee unanimously recommended 2017-18 expenditures of 
$149,807 and an assessment rate of $0.065 per 50-pound equivalent. The 
assessment rate of $0.065 is $0.015 higher than the 2016-17 rate. The 
quantity of assessable onions for the 2017-18 fiscal period is 
estimated at three million 50-pound equivalents. Thus, the $0.065 rate 
should provide $195,000 in assessment income and be adequate to meet 
this year's expenses.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2017-18 
year include $50,000 for compliance, $37,050 for administrative, and 
$32,942 for management. Budgeted expenses for these items were the same 
in 2016-17.
    With the 2017-18 crop estimated to be three million 50-pound 
equivalents, the current assessment rate would be sufficient to cover 
the Committee's anticipated expenditures but would not provide any 
additional monies to help replenish the Committee's reserve fund, which 
has been depleted due to declines in production. The Committee 
considered the proposed expenses and the state of the reserve fund and 
recommended the assessment increase. With the Committee's recommended 
$0.015 increase, assessment income should be approximately $195,000 and 
be adequate to cover anticipated expenses and add funds to the 
authorized reserve.
    Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Committee 
considered information from various sources, such as the Committee's 
Budget and Personnel Committee. Alternative expenditure levels were 
discussed by these groups, based upon the relative value of various 
activities to the South Texas onion industry. The Committee ultimately 
determined that 2017-18 expenditures of $149,807 were appropriate, and 
the recommended assessment rate would generate sufficient revenue to 
meet its expenses.
    A review of historical information and preliminary information 
pertaining to the upcoming fiscal period indicates that the grower 
price for the 2017-18 season could be approximately $12.00 per 50-pound 
equivalent of Texas onions. Therefore, the estimated assessment revenue 
for the 2017-18 fiscal period as a percentage of total grower revenue 
could be about 0.5 percent.
    This action increases the assessment obligation imposed on 
handlers. While assessments impose some additional costs on handlers, 
the costs are minimal and uniform on all handlers. Some of the 
additional costs may be passed on to producers. However, these costs 
are offset by the benefits derived by the operation of the Marketing 
Order. In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized 
throughout the South Texas onion industry, and all interested persons 
were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee 
deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the June 7, 
2017, meeting was a public meeting, and all entities, both large and 
small, were able to express views on this issue.
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the Order's information collection requirements have been 
previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581-0178 (Vegetable 
and Specialty 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 imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large South Texas onion handlers. As 
with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are 
periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and 
duplication by industry and public sector agencies. As noted in the 
initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has not identified any 
relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this 
final rule.
    AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote 
the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide 
increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.
    A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal 
Register on September 19, 2017 (82 FR 43713). Copies of the proposed 
rule were also mailed or sent via facsimile to all South Texas onion 
handlers. Finally, the proposal was made available through the internet 
by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 30-day

[[Page 594]]

comment period ending October 19, 2017, was provided for interested 
persons to respond to the proposal.
    Two comments were received in support of the rule. One commenter 
stated the increase would help the fair trade movement. The other 
commenter stated the increase in the assessment rate was reasonable to 
cover the increased costs of goods and services. Accordingly, no 
changes will be made to the rule as proposed, based on the comments 
received.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/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.
    After consideration of all relevant material presented, including 
the information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other 
available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as 
hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of 
the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 959

    Marketing agreements, Onions, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 959 is 
amended as follows:

PART 959--ONIONS GROWN IN SOUTH TEXAS

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 959 continues to read as 
follows:

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

Subpart A--[Amended]

0
2. Designate the subpart labeled ``Order Regulating Handling'' as 
subpart A.

Subpart B--Administrative Provisions

0
3. Designate the subpart labeled ``Rules and Regulations'' as subpart B 
and revise the heading as shown above.

Subparts ``Assessment Rates'' and ``Handling Regulations''--
[Amended]

0
4. Remove the subpart headings ``Assessment Rates'' and ``Handling 
Regulations''.

0
5. Transfer Sec. Sec.  959.237 and 959.322 to subpart B.

0
6. Section 959.237 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  959.237  Assessment rate.

    On and after August 1, 2017, an assessment rate of $0.065 per 50-
pound equivalent is established for South Texas onions.

    Dated: December 29, 2017.
Bruce Summers,
Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-28504 Filed 1-4-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-02-P