Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan; Redistricting and Importer Representation, 4414-4420 [2018-01802]

Download as PDF sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 4414 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 21 / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 2016–2017 fiscal period is estimated to be approximately $7.3 million. Based on these reports and the number of apricot growers within the production area, it is estimated that the average per grower revenue from the sale of apricots in 2016 was approximately $73,000. In view of the foregoing, it is concluded that most of the handlers and growers of Washington apricots may be classified as small entities. This rule continues in effect the action that decreased the assessment rate established for the Committee and collected from handlers for the 2017– 2018 and subsequent fiscal periods from $1.40 to $1.00 per ton of apricots. The Committee unanimously recommended 2017–2018 expenditures of $8,225 and an assessment rate of $1.00 per ton of apricots. The assessment rate of $1.00 per ton is $0.40 lower than the assessment rate previously in effect. The quantity of assessable apricots for the 2017–2018 fiscal period is estimated at 6,000 tons. Thus, the $1.00 per ton rate should provide $6,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler assessments, along with interest income and funds from the Committee’s authorized reserve, will be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. This action will allow the Committee to reduce its financial reserve while still providing adequate funding to meet program expenses. This rule continues in effect the action that decreased the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and some of the costs may be passed on to growers. However, decreasing the assessment rate reduces the burden on handlers and may reduce the burden on growers. In addition, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the Washington apricot industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the May 3, 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. 0581–0189, Marketing Orders for Fruit Crops. This final interim rule corrects information provided in the interim rule, which had incorrectly cited OMB No. 0581–0178, Vegetable and Specialty Crops, as the previously approved information collection. No changes are necessary in those requirements as a result of this VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jan 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 action. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. This action imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large Washington apricot 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. USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule. Comments on the interim rule were required to be received on or before November 14, 2017. Two comments were received in response to the interim rule. One comment was a general question about the administration of the Order, and the other comment was a statement of gratitude for a perceived lower cost to consumers resulting from the decreased assessment rate. Therefore, for the reasons given in the interim rule, USDA is adopting the interim rule as a final rule, without change. To view the interim rule, go to: https://www.federalregister.gov/ documents/2017/09/15/2017-19553/ apricots-grown-in-designated-countiesin-washington-decreased-assessmentrate. This action also affirms information contained in the interim rule concerning Executive Orders 12866, 12988, 13175, 13563, and 13771; the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35); and the E-Gov Act (44 U.S.C. 101). After consideration of all relevant material presented, it is found that finalizing the interim rule, without change, as published in the Federal Register (82 FR 43297, September 15, 2017) will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart A] List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 922 7 CFR Part 1210 Apricots, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. [Document Number AMS–SC–16–0097] Accordingly, AMS adopts the interim rule published September 15, 2017, at 82 FR 43297, as final with the following non-substantive amendments: PART 922—APRICOTS GROWN IN DESIGNATED COUNTIES IN WASHINGTON 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 922 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2. Redesignate the subpart labeled ‘‘Order Regulating Handling’’ as ‘‘Subpart A-Order Regulating Handling’’. ■ [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart B] 3. Redesignate the subpart labeled ‘‘Container Exemption; Waivers of Inspection and Certification’’ as ‘‘Subpart B-Container Exemption; Waivers of Inspection and Certification’’. ■ [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart C] 4. Redesignate the subpart labeled ‘‘Assessment Rate’’ as ‘‘Subpart CAssessment Rate’’. ■ [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart D and Amended] 5. Redesignate ‘‘Subpart-Container Regulations’’ as subpart D and revise the heading to read as follows: ■ Subpart D—Container Requirements [Subpart Redesignated as Subpart E and Amended] 6. Redesignate ‘‘Subpart ‘‘Grade and Size Regulation’’ as subpart E and revise the heading to read as follows: ■ Subpart E—Grade and Size Requirements Dated: January 25, 2018. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2018–01801 Filed 1–30–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan; Redistricting and Importer Representation Agricultural Marketing Service. Final rule. AGENCY: ACTION: This rule realigns the production districts for producer and handler membership on the National Watermelon Promotion Board (Board) under the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) regulations regarding a national research and promotion program for watermelons. This rule also SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\31JAR1.SGM 31JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 21 / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 / Rules and Regulations adds four importer seats to the Board. 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. DATES: Effective Date: March 2, 2018. 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 final rule affecting 7 CFR part 1210 is authorized under the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act (Act) (7 U.S.C. 4901–4916). The Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan is codified at 7 CFR part 1210. Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13715 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 final 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’ ’’ (February 2, 2017). sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Executive Order 13175 This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this rule will not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal governments and will not have significant Tribal implications. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jan 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 Executive Order 12988 In addition, this final rule 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 part 1210, any provision of the part, or any obligation imposed in connection with the part, is not in accordance with the law. In any petition, the person may request a modification of the part or an exemption from the part. 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 Watermelon Research and Promotion 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 regulations specify 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 final rule realigns the production districts under part 1210 for producer and handler membership on the Board, and adds four importer seats to the Board. The Board administers the regulations 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 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 4415 importers. The regulations require 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) specifies that the Board shall be composed of producers, handlers, importers and one public representative appointed by the Secretary. Pursuant to § 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 (two from each district), 14 handlers (two 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 § 1210.501, 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, E:\FR\FM\31JAR1.SGM 31JAR1 4416 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 21 / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 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). 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, 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 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 Percent of U.S. 3-year average E 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 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 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 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. moving the State of Alabama from District 4 to District 7. As shown in Table 2, under the realignment, each district will represent, on average, 14 percent of the total U.S. production based on NASS data, with a range of 11 to 17 percent. 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) Upon review, the Board subsequently recommended through a mail ballot vote in late July 2016 that four of the seven 1 Vegetables 2015 Summary, February 2016, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, p. 44. https://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/ VegeSumm//2010s/2016/VegeSumm-02-042016.pdf. NASS lists watermelon data for 16 producing States. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jan 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 TABLE 2—PERCENT OF U.S. PRODUCTION BY DISTRICT 2 Percent of U.S. production Districts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 16 12 16 13 17 16 11 production districts be realigned. The districts will 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, 2 Table values were rounded to the nearest percent. E:\FR\FM\31JAR1.SGM 31JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 21 / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 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 4417 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 Percent 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. Section 1210.501 is revised accordingly. Review of Imports Section 1210.320(e) 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 TABLE 4—U.S. AND IMPORT ASSESSMENT DATA FOR 2013–2015 Domestic (U.S.) assessments Year Import assessments Total $1,829,446 2,009,528 2,133,552 1,990,842 $952,484 1,033,797 1,100,810 1,029,030 $2,781,930 3,043,325 3,234,362 3,019,872 Percent of Total .................................................................................................................... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 2013 ............................................................................................................................................. 2014 ............................................................................................................................................. 2015 ............................................................................................................................................. 3-Year Average ............................................................................................................................ 66 34 ........................ Based on this data, the 3-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 would likely be very challenging to fill six additional importer seats. Furthermore, under the program’s nomination rules, 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 Board’s 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 is revised accordingly. 3 Vegetables 2016 Summary, February 2017, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, p. 103–104; https://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/ 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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jan 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\31JAR1.SGM 31JAR1 4418 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 21 / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 / Rules and Regulations Nominations will be held as soon as possible to fill the four new importer seats. Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601– 612), AMS is required to examine the economic impact of this rule on 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. × $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) 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. https://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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jan 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 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 × $.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 will be affected by this 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 rule revises §§ 1210.501 and 1210.502, respectively, to change the boundaries of four of the seven U.S. production districts and add four importers to the Board, increasing the size of the Board from 37 to 41 members. The Board administers the program with oversight by USDA. Under the program, 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 changing the boundaries of four of the seven districts and increasing the importer membership by four members. Authority for these changes is provided in § 1210.320. Regarding the economic impact of this 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 8 National Watermelon Promotion Board assessment records, 2013–2015. 9 Vegetables, 2016 Summary, February 2017, USDA, p. 104. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 complete a background questionnaire. Those requirements are addressed in the section titled Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements. The changes are necessary to provide for the equitable representation of producers, handlers and importers on the Board. 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 rule because it: (1) Provides for a proportional geographical representation on the Board for producers and handlers; (2) does not create any producer or handler vacancies on the Board; and (3) streamlines 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 3-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 who are both eligible and willing to serve in the current eight importer seats, it would likely be very challenging to fill six additional importer seats. Furthermore, under the program’s nomination rules, 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 Board’s total industry members) to ensure that it would have a sufficient number of potential nominees. This is consistent with § 1210.320(e) which prescribes that the E:\FR\FM\31JAR1.SGM 31JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 21 / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 / Rules and Regulations number of importer seats should be adjusted, to the extent practicable. The addition of four importers will allow for more importer representation in the Board’s decision making and also potentially provide an opportunity to increase diversity on the Board. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 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 under the program, have been approved previously under OMB number 0581– 0093. The watermelon regulations require 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 will 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 is 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 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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jan 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on September 27, 2017 (82 FR 44966). A 30-day comment period ending on October 27, 2017, was provided to allow interested persons to respond to the proposal. Board staff distributed the proposal to Board members via electronic mail. The proposal was also made available through the internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. Analysis of Comments Eleven comments were received in response to the proposed rule. Of those eleven comments, seven supported the proposed district realignment and the addition of four importer seats, three expressed concerns with the proposal, and one was outside the scope of the rulemaking. The comments that supported the proposed changes focused on increasing the positive impact that the research and promotion program has already had on the watermelon industry. Several commenters opined that gradual adjustments such as adding new members and realigning the production districts after completing an analysis of the available data are a necessary component of the program’s continued success. Several commenters also acknowledged that the Board accomplished the very difficult task of equitably distributing representation despite the fact that there is a variance in production levels across the country. One commenter stated that the four largest-producing states ‘‘. . . will be fairly represented while other smaller production areas will be grouped with states that produce little or no watermelons on a commercial scale.’’ Three comments expressed concerns with the proposed rule. One commenter opined that the district realignment could weaken the representative power of the larger producing states. The commenter was concerned that the realignment unfairly left large production states like Florida, which will now be in one district, with the same number of Board seats as districts that combined smaller producing states. The watermelon regulations provide for seven U.S. districts of comparable production and do not prohibit one district being composed of just one state. The States of Georgia, California and Texas are already in their own respective district. The Board’s recommendation, as adopted herein by USDA, provides for a proportional geographical representation of producers and handlers (on average each district accounts for 14 percent of total production), creates no vacancies PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 4419 within a district, and streamlines the nomination process for District 1 by consolidating all of the Florida counties. Further, the Board is composed of members representing both large and small states, and all members voting supported the district realignment. The commenter also suggested that the increase in the number of importer seats be implemented gradually. The watermelon regulations require importer representation on the Board to be proportionate to the percentage of assessments paid by importers. Based on the Board’s assessment records, more than 34 percent of the assessments collected from 2013–2015 came from imports. This would correspond to increasing the number of importers from 8 to 14 members. However, because the Board had difficulty in finding eligible importers willing to serve, it recommended adding only four importer seats to ensure that it would have a sufficient number of nominees. This will bring the total number of importers on the Board to 12 (representing 30 percent of the Board’s total industry members). This change will ensure an equitable representation of importers on the Board as required in part 1210. Thus, delaying implementation would not be appropriate. Another commenter expressed concern that there is only one public member on the Board. The commenter suggested that the size of the Board be increased to 50 members, adding 10 consumer members on top of its current makeup. Section 1647(c)(1) of the Act and § 1210.320 of part 1210 limit the number of public members that can serve on the Board to one. One commenter asked why the government was ‘‘. . . spending money on this.’’ The national watermelon promotion program is funded through assessments paid by watermelon producers, handlers and importers. It is not funded by the government or taxpayer funds. No changes have been made to the proposed rule based on the comments received. After consideration of all relevant matters presented, including the information and recommendation submitted by the Board, the comments received, and other relevant information, it is hereby found that this rule, as hereinafter set forth, is consistent with and would effectuate the purposes of the Act. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1210 Administrative practice and procedure, Advertising, Consumer information, Marketing agreements, E:\FR\FM\31JAR1.SGM 31JAR1 4420 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 21 / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 / Rules and Regulations Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Watermelon promotion. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 1210 is 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—Administrative Requirements 4. Section 1210.502 is revised to read as follows: ■ 2. The heading for subpart C is revised to read as set forth above. ■ 3. In § 1210.501, paragraphs (a), (b), (d), and (g) are revised to read as follows: ■ § 1210.501 Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode 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. Realignment of districts. * * * * * (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, § 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: January 25, 2018. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 121 [Docket No.: FAA–2013–0485; Amdt. No. 121–376B] RIN 2120–AJ94 Revisions to Operational Requirements for the Use of Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) and to Pilot Compartment View Requirements for Vision Systems; Correcting Amendment Correction In rule document 2018–00225 appearing on pages 1186–1188 in the issue of Wednesday, January 10, 2018, make the following correction: Appendix F to Part 121 On page 1187, beginning in the third column, Appendix F to Part 121 should read as follows: [FR Doc. 2018–01802 Filed 1–30–18; 8:45 am] Appendix F to Part 121—Proficiency Check Requirements BILLING CODE 3410–02–P * * Required Maneuvers/Procedures * Simulated Instrument Conditions * * * * Permitted Visual Simulator Inflight * * Nonvisual Simulator * Training Device * Waiver Provisions of § 121.441(d) * III. Instrument procedures: (a) Area departure and area arrival. During each of these maneuvers the applicant must— B ---- ---- B ---- B* (1) Adhere to actual or simulated ATC clearances (including assigned radials); and ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- (2) Properly use available navigation facilities. ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- B ---- ---- B ---- B B ---- B ---- ---- ---- Either area arrival or area departure, but not both, may be waived under § 121.441(d). sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES (b) Holding. This maneuver includes entering, maintaining, and leaving holding patterns. It may be performed in connection with either area departure or area arrival. (c) ILS and other instrument approaches. There must be the following: (1) At least one normal ILS approach. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Jan 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\31JAR1.SGM 31JAR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 21 (Wednesday, January 31, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 4414-4420]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-01802]


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

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: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This rule realigns the production districts for producer and 
handler membership on the National Watermelon Promotion Board (Board) 
under the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) regulations regarding 
a national research and promotion program for watermelons. This rule 
also

[[Page 4415]]

adds four importer seats to the Board. 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.

DATES: Effective Date: March 2, 2018.

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: [email protected].

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

Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13715

    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 final 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' '' (February 2, 2017).

Executive Order 13175

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

Executive Order 12988

    In addition, this final rule 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 part 1210, any 
provision of the part, or any obligation imposed in connection with the 
part, is not in accordance with the law. In any petition, the person 
may request a modification of the part or an exemption from the part. 
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 Watermelon Research and Promotion 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 regulations specify 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 final rule realigns the production districts under part 1210 
for producer and handler membership on the Board, and adds four 
importer seats to the Board. The Board administers the regulations 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 regulations require 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) specifies that the Board shall be composed of 
producers, handlers, importers and one public representative appointed 
by the Secretary. Pursuant to Sec.  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 (two from 
each district), 14 handlers (two 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 Sec.  1210.501, 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,

[[Page 4416]]

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. https://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/VegeSumm//2010s/2016/VegeSumm-02-04-2016.pdf. NASS lists watermelon data for 16 producing States.

                           Table 1--U.S. Watermelon Production Figures From 2013-2015
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Hundredweight                                    Percent of
              State              ------------------------------------------------ 3-year average    U.S. 3-year
                                       2013            2014            2015                           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.

    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 will represent, on average, 14 percent of the total U.S. 
production based on NASS data, with a range of 11 to 17 percent.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

           Table 2--Percent of U.S. Production by District \2\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Percent of
                        Districts                              U.S.
                                                            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 districts will 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,

[[Page 4417]]

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; https://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/VegeSumm/VegeSumm-02-22-2017_revision.pdf.

            Table 3--U.S. Watermelon Production Figures 2016
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Percent of
                  State                    Hundredweight    total 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 is revised accordingly.

Review of Imports

    Section 1210.320(e) 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.

                             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 3-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 would likely be very challenging to 
fill six additional importer seats. Furthermore, under the program's 
nomination rules, 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 Board's 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 is revised accordingly.

[[Page 4418]]

    Nominations will be held as soon as possible to fill the four new 
importer seats.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 
601-612), AMS is required to examine the economic impact of this rule 
on 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) 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. https://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 
will be affected by this 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 rule revises Sec. Sec.  1210.501 and 1210.502, respectively, 
to change the boundaries of four of the seven U.S. production districts 
and add four importers to the Board, increasing the size of the Board 
from 37 to 41 members. The Board administers the program with oversight 
by USDA.
    Under the program, 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 
changing the boundaries of four of the seven districts and increasing 
the importer membership by four members. Authority for these changes is 
provided in Sec.  1210.320.
    Regarding the economic impact of this 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 changes 
are necessary to provide for the equitable representation of producers, 
handlers and importers on the Board.
    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 rule because 
it: (1) Provides for a proportional geographical representation on the 
Board for producers and handlers; (2) does not create any producer or 
handler vacancies on the Board; and (3) streamlines 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 3-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 who are 
both eligible and willing to serve in the current eight importer seats, 
it would likely be very challenging to fill six additional importer 
seats. Furthermore, under the program's nomination rules, 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 Board's 
total industry members) to ensure that it would have a sufficient 
number of potential nominees. This is consistent with Sec.  1210.320(e) 
which prescribes that the

[[Page 4419]]

number of importer seats should be adjusted, to the extent practicable. 
The addition of four importers will 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 under the 
program, have been approved previously under OMB number 0581-0093. The 
watermelon regulations require 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 will 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 is 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 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.
    A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal 
Register on September 27, 2017 (82 FR 44966). A 30-day comment period 
ending on October 27, 2017, was provided to allow interested persons to 
respond to the proposal. Board staff distributed the proposal to Board 
members via electronic mail. The proposal was also made available 
through the internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register.

Analysis of Comments

    Eleven comments were received in response to the proposed rule. Of 
those eleven comments, seven supported the proposed district 
realignment and the addition of four importer seats, three expressed 
concerns with the proposal, and one was outside the scope of the 
rulemaking.
    The comments that supported the proposed changes focused on 
increasing the positive impact that the research and promotion program 
has already had on the watermelon industry. Several commenters opined 
that gradual adjustments such as adding new members and realigning the 
production districts after completing an analysis of the available data 
are a necessary component of the program's continued success. Several 
commenters also acknowledged that the Board accomplished the very 
difficult task of equitably distributing representation despite the 
fact that there is a variance in production levels across the country. 
One commenter stated that the four largest-producing states ``. . . 
will be fairly represented while other smaller production areas will be 
grouped with states that produce little or no watermelons on a 
commercial scale.''
    Three comments expressed concerns with the proposed rule. One 
commenter opined that the district realignment could weaken the 
representative power of the larger producing states. The commenter was 
concerned that the realignment unfairly left large production states 
like Florida, which will now be in one district, with the same number 
of Board seats as districts that combined smaller producing states. The 
watermelon regulations provide for seven U.S. districts of comparable 
production and do not prohibit one district being composed of just one 
state. The States of Georgia, California and Texas are already in their 
own respective district. The Board's recommendation, as adopted herein 
by USDA, provides for a proportional geographical representation of 
producers and handlers (on average each district accounts for 14 
percent of total production), creates no vacancies within a district, 
and streamlines the nomination process for District 1 by consolidating 
all of the Florida counties. Further, the Board is composed of members 
representing both large and small states, and all members voting 
supported the district realignment.
    The commenter also suggested that the increase in the number of 
importer seats be implemented gradually. The watermelon regulations 
require importer representation on the Board to be proportionate to the 
percentage of assessments paid by importers. Based on the Board's 
assessment records, more than 34 percent of the assessments collected 
from 2013-2015 came from imports. This would correspond to increasing 
the number of importers from 8 to 14 members. However, because the 
Board had difficulty in finding eligible importers willing to serve, it 
recommended adding only four importer seats to ensure that it would 
have a sufficient number of nominees. This will bring the total number 
of importers on the Board to 12 (representing 30 percent of the Board's 
total industry members). This change will ensure an equitable 
representation of importers on the Board as required in part 1210. 
Thus, delaying implementation would not be appropriate.
    Another commenter expressed concern that there is only one public 
member on the Board. The commenter suggested that the size of the Board 
be increased to 50 members, adding 10 consumer members on top of its 
current makeup. Section 1647(c)(1) of the Act and Sec.  1210.320 of 
part 1210 limit the number of public members that can serve on the 
Board to one.
    One commenter asked why the government was ``. . . spending money 
on this.'' The national watermelon promotion program is funded through 
assessments paid by watermelon producers, handlers and importers. It is 
not funded by the government or taxpayer funds.
    No changes have been made to the proposed rule based on the 
comments received.
    After consideration of all relevant matters presented, including 
the information and recommendation submitted by the Board, the comments 
received, and other relevant information, it is hereby found that this 
rule, as hereinafter set forth, is consistent with and would effectuate 
the purposes of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1210

    Administrative practice and procedure, Advertising, Consumer 
information, Marketing agreements,

[[Page 4420]]

Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Watermelon promotion.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 1210 is 
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--Administrative Requirements

0
2. The heading for subpart C is revised to read as set forth above.

0
3. In Sec.  1210.501, paragraphs (a), (b), (d), and (g) are revised to 
read as follows:


Sec.  1210.501  Realignment of districts.

* * * * *
    (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 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
4. 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: January 25, 2018.
Bruce Summers,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2018-01802 Filed 1-30-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-02-P