Olives Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rate, 14379-14381 [2018-06877]

Download as PDF 14379 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 83, No. 65 Wednesday, April 4, 2018 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 932 [Doc. No. AMS–SC–18–0001; SC18–932–1 PR] Olives Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rate Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the California Olive Committee (Committee) to decrease the assessment rate established for the 2018 fiscal year and subsequent fiscal years. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. DATES: Comments must be received by May 4, 2018. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this proposed rule. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Fax: (202) 720–8938; or internet: https://www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: https:// www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this proposed rule will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be made public on the internet at the address provided above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Sommers, Marketing Specialist or Jeffrey Smutny, Regional Director, amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:08 Apr 03, 2018 Jkt 244001 California Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487– 5901, Fax: (559) 487–5906, or Email: PeterR.Sommers@ams.usda.gov or Jeffrey.Smutny@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 proposed rule is issued under Marketing Agreement and Order No. 932, as amended (7 CFR part 932), regulating the handling of olives grown in California. Part 932 (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 olives 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 proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the Order now in effect, California olive handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the Order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the proposed assessment rate would be applicable to all assessable olives PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 beginning on January 1, 2018, 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 proposed rule would decrease the assessment rate for the 2018 and subsequent fiscal years from $26.00 to $24.00 per ton of assessed olives. The 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 olives in California. 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 in a public meeting where all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate and provide input in budget matters. For the 2015 and subsequent fiscal years, the Committee recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate of $26.00 per ton of assessed olives. That rate would continue in effect 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 December 13, 2017, and unanimously recommended 2018 expenditures of $1,940,477, and an assessment rate of $24.00 per ton of assessed olives. In comparison, last E:\FR\FM\04APP1.SGM 04APP1 amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with PROPOSALS 14380 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 65 / Wednesday, April 4, 2018 / Proposed Rules year’s budgeted expenditures were $1,752,366. The proposed assessment rate of $24.00 is $2.00 lower than the rate currently in effect. Producer receipts show a yield of 83,799 tons of assessable olives from the 2017 crop year. This is higher than the 2016 crop year, which yielded 63,000 tons of assessable olives. The 2018 fiscal year assessment rate decrease is necessary to ensure the Committee has sufficient revenue to fund the recommended 2018 budgeted expenditures while ensuring the funds in the financial reserve would be kept within the maximum permitted by § 932.40. The Order has a fiscal year and a crop year that are independent of each other. The crop year is a 12-month period that begins on August 1 of each year and ends on July 31 of the following year. The fiscal year is the 12-month period that begins on January 1 and ends on December 31 of each year. Olives are an alternate-bearing crop, with a small crop followed by a large crop. For this assessment rate proposed rule, the actual 2017 crop year receipts are used to determine the assessment rate for the 2018 fiscal year. The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for 2018 includes $401,200 for program administration, $973,500 for marketing activities, and $297,777 for research. Budgeted expenses for these items during the 2017 fiscal year were $513,100 for program administration, $823,500 for marketing activities, and $317,766 for research. The assessment rate recommended by the Committee resulted from consideration of anticipated fiscal year expenses, actual olive tonnage received by handers during the 2017 crop year, and the amount in the Committee’s financial reserve. Income derived from handler assessments, along with interest income and funds from the Committee’s authorized reserve will be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. Funds in the reserve will be kept within the maximum permitted by the Order of approximately one fiscal year’s expenses. The proposed assessment rate would continue in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other available information. Although this assessment rate would be in effect for an indefinite period, the Committee would continue to meet prior to or during each fiscal year to recommend a budget of expenses and consider recommendations for VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:08 Apr 03, 2018 Jkt 244001 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 would evaluate Committee recommendations and other available information to determine whether modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking would be undertaken as necessary. The Committee’s budget for subsequent fiscal years would be reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by USDA. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601–612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this proposed rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in that they are brought about through group action of essentially small entities acting on their own behalf. There are approximately 1,100 producers of olives in the production area and two handlers subject to regulation under the Order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) 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 upon National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) information, the average price to producers for the 2016 crop year was $865.00 per ton, and total assessable volume for the 2017 crop year was 83,799 tons. Based on production, price paid to producer, and the total number of California olive producers, the average annual producer revenue is less than $750,000 ($865.00 times 83,799 equals $72,486,135, divided by 1,100 producers equals an average annual producer revenue of $65,896). Thus, the majority of olive producers may be classified as small entities. Both of the handlers may be classified as large entities under the SBA’s definitions because of their annual receipts are greater than $7,500,000. This proposal would decrease the assessment rate collected from handlers PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 for the 2018 and subsequent fiscal years from $26.00 to $24.00 per ton of assessable olives. The Committee unanimously recommended 2018 expenditures of $1,940,477 and an assessment rate of $24.00 per ton of assessable olives. The recommended assessment rate of $24.00 is $2.00 lower than the 2017 rate. The quantity of assessable olives for the 2017 crop year is 83,799 tons. Thus, the $24.00 rate should provide $2,011,176. The lower assessment rate is possible because annual receipts for the 2017 crop year are 83,799 tons compared to 63,000 tons for the 2016 crop year. Olives are an alternate-bearing crop, with a small crop followed by a large crop. Income derived from the $24.00 per ton assessment rate, along with funds from the authorized reserve and interest income, should be adequate to meet this fiscal year’s expenses. The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2018 fiscal year include $401,200 for program administration, $973,500 for marketing activities, and $297,777 for research. Budgeted expenses for these items during the 2017 fiscal year were $513,100 for program administration, $823,500 for marketing activities, and $317,766 for research. The Committee deliberated on many of the expenses, weighed the relative value of various programs or projects, and increased their expenses for marketing and research activities. The Committee decreased their inspection costs because expenses incurred in previous years towards the development of electronic reporting and optical sizing projects have been completed and, as a result, the industry is able to utilize new, cost saving procedures. Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Committee considered information from various sources including the Committee’s Executive, Marketing, Inspection, and Research Subcommittees. Alternate expenditure levels were discussed by these groups, based upon the relative value of various projects to the olive industry and the increased olive production. The assessment rate of $24.00 per ton of assessable olives was derived by considering anticipated expenses, the volume of assessable olives, and additional pertinent factors. A review of NASS information indicates that the average producer price for the 2016 crop year was $865.00 per ton. Therefore, utilizing the assessment rate of $24.00 per ton, the assessment revenue for the 2018 fiscal year as a percentage of total producer revenue would be approximately 2.77 percent. E:\FR\FM\04APP1.SGM 04APP1 amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 65 / Wednesday, April 4, 2018 / Proposed Rules This action would decrease the assessment rate collected from handlers for the 2018 and subsequent fiscal years. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and some of the costs may be passed on to producers. However, decreasing the assessment rate would reduce the burden on handlers, and may reduce the burden on producers. In addition, the Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the production area. The olive industry and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the December 13, 2017, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this proposed rule, including the regulatory and information collection impacts of this action on small businesses. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the Order’s information collection requirements have been previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581–0178. 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 proposed rule would impose no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large California olive handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this action. 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. A 30-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposed rule. All written comments timely received will be VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:08 Apr 03, 2018 Jkt 244001 considered before a final determination is made on this rule. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 932 Marketing agreements, Olives, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 932 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 932—OLIVES GROWN IN CALIFORNIA 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 932 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Section 932.230 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 932.230 Assessment rate. On and after January 1, 2018, an assessment rate of $24.00 per ton is established for California olives. Dated: March 30, 2018. Bruce Summers, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2018–06877 Filed 4–3–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 100 [Docket Number USCG–2018–0088] RIN 1625–AA08 Special Local Regulation; Tred Avon River, Between Bellevue, MD and Oxford, MD Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: ACTION: The Coast Guard proposes to establish special local regulations for certain waters of the Tred Avon River. This action is necessary to provide for the safety of life on the navigable waters located between Bellevue, MD, and Oxford, MD, during a swim event on June 9, 2018. If necessary, due to inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled to June 10, 2018. This proposed rulemaking would prohibit persons and vessels from entering the regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Maryland-National Capital Region or the Coast Guard Patrol Commander. We invite your comments on this proposed rulemaking. DATES: Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before May 4, 2018. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 14381 You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG– 2018–0088 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https:// www.regulations.gov. See the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions about this proposed rulemaking, call or email Mr. Ronald Houck, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region; telephone 410–576–2674, email Ronald.L.Houck@uscg.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ADDRESSES: I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations COTP Captain of the Port DHS Department of Homeland Security E.O. Executive Order FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis On June 13, 2017, Charcot-MarieTooth Association of Trappe, MD, notified the Coast Guard that it will be conducting the swim portion of the Oxford Biathlon from 9:15 a.m. until 10:15 a.m. on June 9, 2018, and if necessary, due to inclement weather, from 9:15 a.m. until 10:15 a.m. on June 10, 2018. The swim consists of approximately 30 participants competing on a designated 1300-meter course that starts at the ferry dock at Bellevue, MD and finishes at the Tred Avon Yacht Club at Oxford, MD. Hazards from the swim competition include participants swimming within and adjacent to the designated navigation channel and interfering with vessels intending to operate within that channel, as well as swimming within approaches to public and private marinas and public boat facilities. The COTP Maryland-National Capital Region has determined that potential hazards associated with the swim would be a safety concern for anyone intending to participate in this event or for vessels that operate within specified waters of the Tred Avon River between Bellevue, MD, and Oxford, MD. The purpose of this rulemaking is to protect event participants, spectators and transiting vessels on specified waters of the Tred Avon River before, during, and after the scheduled event. The Coast Guard proposes this rulemaking under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1233, which authorize the Coast Guard E:\FR\FM\04APP1.SGM 04APP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 65 (Wednesday, April 4, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 14379-14381]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-06877]


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

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

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


Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 65 / Wednesday, April 4, 2018 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 14379]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 932

[Doc. No. AMS-SC-18-0001; SC18-932-1 PR]


Olives Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rate

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the 
California Olive Committee (Committee) to decrease the assessment rate 
established for the 2018 fiscal year and subsequent fiscal years. The 
assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, 
suspended, or terminated.

DATES: Comments must be received by May 4, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments 
concerning this proposed rule. Comments must be sent to the Docket 
Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, 
AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 
20250-0237; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or internet: https://www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference the document number and 
the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will 
be available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk 
during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: https://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this 
proposed rule will be included in the record and will be made available 
to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals 
or entities submitting the comments will be made public on the internet 
at the address provided above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Sommers, Marketing Specialist or 
Jeffrey Smutny, Regional Director, California Marketing Field Office, 
Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, 
USDA; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 487-5906, or Email: 
[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 proposed rule is issued under 
Marketing Agreement and Order No. 932, as amended (7 CFR part 932), 
regulating the handling of olives grown in California. Part 932 
(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 
olives 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 proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. Under the Order now in effect, California olive 
handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the Order are 
derived from such assessments. It is intended that the proposed 
assessment rate would be applicable to all assessable olives beginning 
on January 1, 2018, 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 proposed rule would decrease the assessment rate for the 2018 
and subsequent fiscal years from $26.00 to $24.00 per ton of assessed 
olives.
    The 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 olives in California. 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 in a public meeting where all directly affected persons have 
an opportunity to participate and provide input in budget matters.
    For the 2015 and subsequent fiscal years, the Committee 
recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate of $26.00 per ton of 
assessed olives. That rate would continue in effect 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 December 13, 2017, and unanimously recommended 
2018 expenditures of $1,940,477, and an assessment rate of $24.00 per 
ton of assessed olives. In comparison, last

[[Page 14380]]

year's budgeted expenditures were $1,752,366. The proposed assessment 
rate of $24.00 is $2.00 lower than the rate currently in effect. 
Producer receipts show a yield of 83,799 tons of assessable olives from 
the 2017 crop year. This is higher than the 2016 crop year, which 
yielded 63,000 tons of assessable olives. The 2018 fiscal year 
assessment rate decrease is necessary to ensure the Committee has 
sufficient revenue to fund the recommended 2018 budgeted expenditures 
while ensuring the funds in the financial reserve would be kept within 
the maximum permitted by Sec.  932.40.
    The Order has a fiscal year and a crop year that are independent of 
each other. The crop year is a 12-month period that begins on August 1 
of each year and ends on July 31 of the following year. The fiscal year 
is the 12-month period that begins on January 1 and ends on December 31 
of each year. Olives are an alternate-bearing crop, with a small crop 
followed by a large crop. For this assessment rate proposed rule, the 
actual 2017 crop year receipts are used to determine the assessment 
rate for the 2018 fiscal year.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for 2018 
includes $401,200 for program administration, $973,500 for marketing 
activities, and $297,777 for research. Budgeted expenses for these 
items during the 2017 fiscal year were $513,100 for program 
administration, $823,500 for marketing activities, and $317,766 for 
research. The assessment rate recommended by the Committee resulted 
from consideration of anticipated fiscal year expenses, actual olive 
tonnage received by handers during the 2017 crop year, and the amount 
in the Committee's financial reserve.
    Income derived from handler assessments, along with interest income 
and funds from the Committee's authorized reserve will be adequate to 
cover budgeted expenses. Funds in the reserve will be kept within the 
maximum permitted by the Order of approximately one fiscal year's 
expenses.
    The proposed assessment rate would continue in effect indefinitely 
unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation 
and information submitted by the Committee or other available 
information.
    Although this assessment rate would be in effect for an indefinite 
period, the Committee would continue to meet prior to or during each 
fiscal year to recommend a budget of expenses and consider 
recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and 
times of Committee meetings are available from the Committee or USDA. 
Committee meetings are open to the public and interested persons may 
express their views at these meetings. USDA would evaluate Committee 
recommendations and other available information to determine whether 
modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking would 
be undertaken as necessary. The Committee's budget for subsequent 
fiscal years would be reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by USDA.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 
has considered the economic impact of this proposed rule on small 
entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued 
pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in 
that they are brought about through group action of essentially small 
entities acting on their own behalf.
    There are approximately 1,100 producers of olives in the production 
area and two handlers subject to regulation under the Order. Small 
agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration 
(SBA) 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 upon National 
Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) information, the average price 
to producers for the 2016 crop year was $865.00 per ton, and total 
assessable volume for the 2017 crop year was 83,799 tons. Based on 
production, price paid to producer, and the total number of California 
olive producers, the average annual producer revenue is less than 
$750,000 ($865.00 times 83,799 equals $72,486,135, divided by 1,100 
producers equals an average annual producer revenue of $65,896). Thus, 
the majority of olive producers may be classified as small entities. 
Both of the handlers may be classified as large entities under the 
SBA's definitions because of their annual receipts are greater than 
$7,500,000.
    This proposal would decrease the assessment rate collected from 
handlers for the 2018 and subsequent fiscal years from $26.00 to $24.00 
per ton of assessable olives. The Committee unanimously recommended 
2018 expenditures of $1,940,477 and an assessment rate of $24.00 per 
ton of assessable olives. The recommended assessment rate of $24.00 is 
$2.00 lower than the 2017 rate. The quantity of assessable olives for 
the 2017 crop year is 83,799 tons. Thus, the $24.00 rate should provide 
$2,011,176. The lower assessment rate is possible because annual 
receipts for the 2017 crop year are 83,799 tons compared to 63,000 tons 
for the 2016 crop year. Olives are an alternate-bearing crop, with a 
small crop followed by a large crop. Income derived from the $24.00 per 
ton assessment rate, along with funds from the authorized reserve and 
interest income, should be adequate to meet this fiscal year's 
expenses.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2018 
fiscal year include $401,200 for program administration, $973,500 for 
marketing activities, and $297,777 for research. Budgeted expenses for 
these items during the 2017 fiscal year were $513,100 for program 
administration, $823,500 for marketing activities, and $317,766 for 
research.
    The Committee deliberated on many of the expenses, weighed the 
relative value of various programs or projects, and increased their 
expenses for marketing and research activities. The Committee decreased 
their inspection costs because expenses incurred in previous years 
towards the development of electronic reporting and optical sizing 
projects have been completed and, as a result, the industry is able to 
utilize new, cost saving procedures.
    Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Committee 
considered information from various sources including the Committee's 
Executive, Marketing, Inspection, and Research Subcommittees. Alternate 
expenditure levels were discussed by these groups, based upon the 
relative value of various projects to the olive industry and the 
increased olive production. The assessment rate of $24.00 per ton of 
assessable olives was derived by considering anticipated expenses, the 
volume of assessable olives, and additional pertinent factors.
    A review of NASS information indicates that the average producer 
price for the 2016 crop year was $865.00 per ton. Therefore, utilizing 
the assessment rate of $24.00 per ton, the assessment revenue for the 
2018 fiscal year as a percentage of total producer revenue would be 
approximately 2.77 percent.

[[Page 14381]]

    This action would decrease the assessment rate collected from 
handlers for the 2018 and subsequent fiscal years. Assessments are 
applied uniformly on all handlers, and some of the costs may be passed 
on to producers. However, decreasing the assessment rate would reduce 
the burden on handlers, and may reduce the burden on producers.
    In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized 
throughout the production area. The olive industry and all interested 
persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee 
deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the December 
13, 2017, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and 
small, were able to express views on this issue. Finally, interested 
persons are invited to submit comments on this proposed rule, including 
the regulatory and information collection impacts of this action on 
small businesses.
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the Order's information collection requirements have been 
previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581-0178. 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 proposed rule would impose no additional reporting or 
recordkeeping requirements on either small or large California olive 
handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and 
forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and 
duplication by industry and public sector agencies.
    AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote 
the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide 
increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.
    USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, 
overlap, or conflict with this action.
    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.
    A 30-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to 
respond to this proposed rule. All written comments timely received 
will be considered before a final determination is made on this rule.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 932

    Marketing agreements, Olives, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 932 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 932--OLIVES GROWN IN CALIFORNIA

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 932 continues to read as 
follows:


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

0
2. Section 932.230 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  932.230  Assessment rate.

    On and after January 1, 2018, an assessment rate of $24.00 per ton 
is established for California olives.

    Dated: March 30, 2018.
Bruce Summers,
Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-06877 Filed 4-3-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-02-P