Sweet Onions Grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon; Amendments to Marketing Order 956, 13513-13516 [2019-06701]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 66 / Friday, April 5, 2019 / Rules and Regulations other person (except an airman serving as an airman) not operating an aircraft for the transportation of passengers or property for compensation. For violations that occurred after November 2, 2015, $13,669 per violation, up to a total of $546,774 per civil penalty action, in the case of any other person (except an airman serving as an airman) not operating an aircraft for the transportation of passengers or property for compensation. (3) For violations that occurred on or before November 2, 2015, $25,000 per violation, up to a total of $400,000 per civil penalty action, in the case of a person operating an aircraft for the transportation of passengers or property for compensation (except an individual serving as an airman). For violations that occurred after November 2, 2015, $34,174 per violation, up to a total of $546,774 per civil penalty action, in the case of a person (except an individual serving as an airman) operating an aircraft for the transportation of passengers or property for compensation. John M. Mitnick, General Counsel. [FR Doc. 2019–06745 Filed 4–4–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–9–P, 9111–14–P, 9111–28–P, 9110– 04–P, 9110–05–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 956 [Doc. No.: AMS–SC–18–0028; SC–18–956– 1] Sweet Onions Grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon; Amendments to Marketing Order 956 Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This final rule amends Marketing Order No. 956, which regulates the handling of sweet onions grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon. The three amendments, which were proposed by the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee (Committee), were approved by producers in a referendum. This action also updates the term of office and staggered term limits for producers and handlers. DATES: This rule is effective May 6, 2019. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:56 Apr 04, 2019 Jkt 247001 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Geronimo Quinones, Marketing Specialist, or Patty Bennett, Director, 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: Geronimo.Quinones@usda.gov or Patty.Bennett@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@usda.gov. This action, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, amends regulations issued to carry out a marketing order as defined in 7 CFR 900.2(j). This rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 956, as amended (7 CFR part 956), regulating the handling of sweet onions grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon. Part 956 (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, which is responsible for the local administration of the Order, is comprised of sweet onion producers and handlers operating within the area of production and a public member. Section 608c(17) of the Act and the applicable rules of practice and procedure governing the formulation of marketing agreements and orders (7 CFR part 900) authorize amendment of the Order through this informal rulemaking action. 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 final rule does not meet the definition of a significant regulatory action, it does not trigger the requirements contained in Executive Order 13771. See OMB’s Memorandum titled ‘‘Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017, titled ‘Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs’ ’’ (February 2, 2017). This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 13513 Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 8c(15)(A) of the Act (7 U.S.C. 608c(15)(A)), any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. A handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA’s ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed no later than 20 days after the date of entry of the ruling. Section 1504 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) (Pub. L. 110–246) amended section 8c(17) of the Act (7 U.S.C. 608c(17), which in turn required the addition of supplemental rules of practice to 7 CFR part 900 (73 FR 49307; August 21, 2008). The amendment of section 8c(17) of the Act and additional supplemental rules of practice authorize the use of informal rulemaking (5 U.S.C. 553) to amend Federal fruit, vegetable, and nut marketing agreements and orders. USDA may use informal rulemaking to amend marketing orders based on the nature and complexity of the proposed amendments, the potential regulatory and economic impacts on affected entities, and any other relevant matters. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) considered these factors and has determined that amending the Order as proposed could appropriately be accomplished through informal rulemaking. The proposed amendments were unanimously recommended by the Committee following deliberations at two public meetings held on November 14, 2017, and March 3, 2018. A proposed rule soliciting comments on the amendment was issued on July 19, 2018, and published in the Federal Register on July 24, 2018 (83 FR 34953). One comment in support of the amendments was received. As a result, no changes to the proposed rule were made. A proposed rule and referendum order was then issued on December 11, 2018, and published in the Federal Register on December 14, 2018 (83 FR 64296). This document directed that a referendum among Walla Walla sweet E:\FR\FM\05APR1.SGM 05APR1 13514 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 66 / Friday, April 5, 2019 / Rules and Regulations khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES onion producers be conducted December 17, 2018, through December 31, 2018, to determine whether they favored the proposals. To become effective, the amendments had to be approved by two-thirds of producers voting or by those producers voting in the referendum who represented at least two-thirds of the volume of Walla Walla sweet onions. The amendments were favored by 100 percent of the producers voting and by 100 percent of the volume represented; both exceed the two-thirds requirement. The amendments in this final rule change the Committee’s size, quorum, and voting requirements. The amendments also change the term of office and stagger term limits for producers and handlers. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Pursuant to the requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601–612), AMS has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and 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 eight handlers of Walla Walla sweet onions subject to regulation under the Order and approximately 15 producers in the regulated production area. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,500,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000 (13 CFR 121.201). The Committee reported that approximately 390,000 50-pound bags or equivalents of Walla Walla sweet onions were shipped into the fresh market in 2017. Based on information reported by USDA’s Market News Service, the average 2017 marketing year f.o.b. shipping point price for the Walla Walla sweet onions was $14.90 per 50-pound equivalent. Multiplying the $14.90 average price by the shipment quantity of 390,000 50-pound equivalents yields an annual crop revenue estimate of $5,811,000. The average annual revenue for each of the eight handlers is therefore calculated to be $726,375 ($5,811,000 divided by eight), which is less than the SBA VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:56 Apr 04, 2019 Jkt 247001 threshold of $7,500,000. Consequently, all the Walla Walla sweet onion handlers could be classified as small entities. In addition, based on information provided by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the average producer price for Walla Walla sweet onions for the 2012 through 2016 marketing years is $15.27 per 50-pound equivalent. NASS has not released data regarding the 2017 marketing year at this time. Multiplying the 2012–2016 marketing year average price of $15.27 by the 2017 marketing year shipments of 390,000 50-pound equivalents yields an annual crop revenue estimate of $5,955,300. The estimated average annual revenue for each of the 15 producers is therefore calculated to be approximately $397,020 ($5,955,300 divided by 15), which is less than the SBA threshold of $750,000. In view of the foregoing, the majority of Walla Walla sweet onion producers and all of the Walla Walla sweet onion handlers may be classified as small entities. The amendments, which were unanimously recommended by the Committee at two public meetings on November 14, 2017, and March 3, 2018, will change the Committee’s size, quorum, and voting requirements. They also change the term of office and stagger term limits so that the term of office for producers and handlers will be two fiscal periods instead of three fiscal periods, and one-half instead of one-third of the producer and handler member terms will expire every year. These amendments will have no direct economic effect on producers or handlers. The number of producers and handlers operating in the industry has decreased, which makes it difficult to find enough members to fill positions on the Committee. Decreasing the Committee’s size will make it more reflective of today’s industry. Therefore, it is anticipated that both small and large producer and handler businesses will benefit from these amendments. The Committee considered alternatives to the proposals, including making no changes at this time. Due to changes in the industry, AMS believes the proposals are justified and necessary to ensure the Committee’s ability to locally administer the program. Reducing the size of the Committee will enable it to fulfill membership and quorum requirements fully, thereby ensuring a more efficient and orderly flow of business. Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 chapter 35), the Order’s information collection requirements have been previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581–0178 (Vegetable and Specialty Crops). No changes in those requirements are necessary as a result of this action. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. 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. In addition, 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 citizens to access Government information and services, and for other purposes. The Committee’s meetings were widely publicized throughout the Walla Walla sweet onion production area. All interested persons were invited to attend the meetings and encouraged to participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. The Committee meetings were public, and all entities, both large and small, were encouraged to express their views on these proposals. A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on July 24, 2018 (83 FR 34953). Copies of the proposed rule were mailed or sent via facsimile to all Committee members and all interested parties. The proposed rule was made available through the internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 60-day comment period ending September 24, 2018, was provided to allow interested persons to respond to the proposals. One comment was received. The comment submitted was in support of the proposals; therefore, no changes were made to the proposed amendments. A proposed rule and referendum order was then issued on December 11, 2018, and published in the Federal Register on December 14, 2018 (83 FR 64296). This document directed that a referendum among Walla Walla sweet onion producers be conducted December 17, 2018, through December 31, 2018, to determine whether they favored the proposals. To become effective, the amendments had to be approved by two-thirds of producers voting or by those producers voting in the referendum who represented at least two-thirds of the volume of Walla Walla sweet onions. E:\FR\FM\05APR1.SGM 05APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 66 / Friday, April 5, 2019 / Rules and Regulations The amendments were favored by 100 percent of the producers voting and by 100 percent of the volume represented; both exceed the two-thirds requirement. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/ MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Richard Lower at his previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Order Amending the Order Regulating the Handling of Sweet Onions Grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon 1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Findings and Determinations (a) Findings and Determinations Upon the Basis of the Rulemaking Record. The findings hereinafter set forth are supplementary to the findings and determinations which were previously made in connection with the issuance of the Order; and all said previous findings and determinations are hereby ratified and affirmed, except insofar as such findings and determinations may be in conflict with the findings and determinations set forth herein. 1. The Order, as amended, and as hereby further amended, and all of the terms and conditions thereof, would tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act; 2. The Order, as amended, and as hereby further amended, regulates the handling of sweet onions grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon in the same manner as, and is applicable only to, persons in the respective classes of commercial and industrial activity specified in the Order; 3. The Order, as amended, and as hereby further amended, is limited in application to the smallest regional production area that is practicable, consistent with carrying out the declared policy of the Act, and the issuance of several orders applicable to subdivisions of the production area would not effectively carry out the declared policy of the Act; 4. The Order, as amended, and as hereby further amended, prescribes, insofar as practicable, such different terms applicable to different parts of the production area as are necessary to give due recognition to the differences in the 1 This order shall not become effective unless and until the requirements of § 900.14 of the rules of practice and procedure governing proceedings to formulate marketing agreements and marketing orders have been met. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:56 Apr 04, 2019 Jkt 247001 production and marketing of onions produced in the production area; and 5. All handling of onions produced in the production area as defined in the Order is in the current of interstate or foreign commerce or directly burdens, obstructs, or affects such commerce. (b) Determinations. It is hereby determined that: 1. Handlers (excluding cooperative associations of producers who are not engaged in processing, distributing, or shipping of onions covered under the Order) who during the period June 1, 2017, through May 31, 2018, handled not less than 50 percent of the volume of such onions covered by said Order, as hereby amended, have signed an amended marketing agreement; and 2. The issuance of this amendatory order, further amending the aforesaid Order, is favored or approved by at least two-thirds of the producers who participated in a referendum on the question of approval and who, during the period of June 1, 2017, through May 31, 2018, were engaged within the production area in the production of such onions. Such producers also produced for market at least two-thirds of the volume of such commodity represented in the referendum. 3. The issuance of this amendatory order together with a signed marketing agreement advances the interests of growers of onions in the production area pursuant to the declared policy of the Act. Order Relative to Handling It is therefore ordered, that on and after the effective date hereof, all handling of sweet onions grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon shall be in conformity to, and in compliance with, the terms and conditions of the said Order as hereby proposed to be amended as follows: The provisions amending the Order contained in the proposed rule issued by the Administrator on July 19, 2018, and published in the Federal Register on July 24, 2018, (83 FR 34953) will be and are the terms and provisions of this order amending the Order and are set forth in full herein. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 956 Onions, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 13515 Dated: April 2, 2019. Bruce Summers, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 956 is amended as follows: PART 956—SWEET ONIONS GROWN IN THE WALLA WALLA VALLEY OF SOUTHEAST WASHINGTON AND NORTHEAST OREGON 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 956 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Amend § 956.20 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows: ■ § 956.20 Establishment and membership. (a) The Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee, consisting of seven members, is hereby established. The Committee shall consist of four producer members, two handler members, and one public member. Each member shall have an alternate who shall have the same qualifications as the member. * * * * * ■ 3. Amend § 956.21 by revising to read as follows: § 956.21 Term of office. (a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, the term of office of grower and handler Committee members and their respective alternates shall be two fiscal periods beginning on June 1 or such other date as recommended by the Committee and approved by the Secretary. The terms shall be determined so that one-half of the grower membership and one-half of the handler membership shall terminate each year. Members and alternates shall serve during the term of office for which they are selected and have been qualified, or during that portion thereof beginning on the date on which they qualify during such term of office and continuing until the end thereof, or until their successors are selected and have qualified. (b) The term of office of the initial members and alternates shall begin as soon as possible after May 6, 2019. Onehalf of the initial industry grower and handler members and alternates shall serve for a one-year term and one-half shall serve for a two-year term. The initial as well as all successive terms of office of the public member and alternate member shall be for three years. (c) The consecutive terms of office for all members shall be limited to two two- E:\FR\FM\05APR1.SGM 05APR1 13516 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 66 / Friday, April 5, 2019 / Rules and Regulations Honduras exports to the United States will be subject to re-inspection at ports of entry by FSIS inspectors. At this time, Honduras is unable to ship raw poultry product to the United States because it is not recognized by APHIS as being free of Newcastle Disease (ND). year terms. There shall be no such limitation for alternate members. ■ 4. Amend § 956.28 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows: § 956.28 Procedure. (a) Four members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum, and four concurring votes shall be required to pass any motion or approve any Committee action, except that recommendations made pursuant to § 956.61 shall require five concurring votes. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2019–06701 Filed 4–4–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 381 [Docket No. FSIS–2017–0026] RIN 0583–AD58 Eligibility of Honduras To Export Poultry Products to the United States Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending the Federal poultry products inspection regulations to add Honduras to the list of countries eligible to export poultry products to the United States. The FSIS review of Honduras’ laws, regulations, and inspection system demonstrated that its poultry slaughter inspection system is equivalent to the system FSIS has established under the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) and its implementing regulations. DATES: Effective May 6, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roberta Wagner, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development; Telephone: (202) 720–0089. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under this final rule, Honduras will be permitted to export to the United States only raw poultry products, such as whole carcasses produced in certified Honduran establishments, because FSIS only assessed Honduras’ poultry slaughter inspection system. Honduras would need to request an equivalence determination and submit additional information records for FSIS to review before FSIS would allow Honduras to export heat-treated poultry products, such as cooked or canned product, to the United States. All products that khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:57 Apr 04, 2019 Jkt 247001 Background On April 13, 2016, FSIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (81 FR 21758) to add Honduras to the list of countries eligible to export poultry products to the United States (9 CFR 381.196(b)). This final rule is consistent with the proposed rule. As explained in the proposed rule, section 17 of the PPIA (21 U.S.C. 466) prohibits importation into the United States of slaughtered poultry, or parts or products thereof, of any kind unless they are healthful, wholesome, fit for human food, not adulterated, and contain no dye, chemical, preservative, or ingredient that renders them unhealthful, unwholesome, adulterated, or unfit for human food. Under the PPIA and the regulations that implement it, poultry products imported into the United States must be produced under standards for safety, wholesomeness, and labeling accuracy that are equivalent to those of the United States. Under the regulations at 9 CFR 381.196, FSIS sets out the procedures by which foreign countries may become eligible to export poultry and poultry products to the United States. Section 381.196(a) requires a foreign country’s poultry inspection system to include standards equivalent to those of the United States and to provide legal authority for the inspection system and its implementing regulations that is equivalent to that of the United States. Specifically, a country’s legal authority and regulations must impose requirements equivalent to those of the United States with respect to: (1) Antemortem and post-mortem inspection by, or under the direct supervision of, a veterinarian, or other employees or licensees of the system under the direct supervision of veterinarians; (2) official controls by the national government over establishment construction, facilities, and equipment; (3) direct and continuous official supervision of slaughtering of poultry and processing of poultry products by inspectors to ensure that product is not adulterated or misbranded; (4) complete separation of establishments certified to export from those not certified; (5) maintenance of a single standard of inspection and sanitation throughout certified establishments; (6) requirements for sanitation and for sanitary handling of product at establishments certified to PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 export; (7) official controls over condemned product; (8) a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system; and (9) any other requirements found in the PPIA and its implementing regulations (9 CFR 381.196(a)(2)(ii)). The country’s inspection system must also impose requirements equivalent to those of the United States with respect to: (1) Organizational structure and staffing, so as to ensure uniform enforcement of the requisite laws and regulations in all certified establishments; (2) ultimate control and supervision by the national government over the official activities of employees or licensees; (3) qualified inspectors; (4) enforcement and certification authority; (5) administrative and technical support; (6) inspection, sanitation, quality, species verification, and residue standards; and (7) any other inspection requirements (9 CFR 381.196(a)(2)(i)). Evaluation of the Honduran Poultry Inspection System In 2003, the government of Honduras requested approval to export poultry products to the United States. Honduras stated that if approved, its immediate intent was to export raw poultry carcasses to the United States. FSIS then began to evaluate the Honduras poultry slaughter inspection system to determine whether it is equivalent to that of the United States. FSIS conducted a document review to evaluate the laws, regulations, and other documentation used by Honduras to execute its poultry inspection system. FSIS examined the information submitted by Honduras to verify that the following equivalence components were addressed satisfactorily with respect to standards, activities, resources, and enforcement: (1) Government Oversight; (2) Statutory Authority and Food Safety Regulations; (3) Sanitation; (4) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Systems; (5) Chemical Residue Testing Programs; and (6) Microbiological Testing Programs. The document review was satisfactory to FSIS, and FSIS scheduled an on-site review to evaluate all aspects of the Honduran poultry inspection program. In November 2005, FSIS conducted an on-site audit of the Honduran poultry inspection program and identified systemic deficiencies within three equivalence components: Government Oversight, Sanitation, and HACCP. In response to this audit, Honduras submitted a corrective action plan that addressed FSIS’s findings. In June 2009, FSIS conducted a second on-site audit to verify whether E:\FR\FM\05APR1.SGM 05APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 66 (Friday, April 5, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 13513-13516]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-06701]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 956

[Doc. No.: AMS-SC-18-0028; SC-18-956-1]


Sweet Onions Grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast 
Washington and Northeast Oregon; Amendments to Marketing Order 956

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This final rule amends Marketing Order No. 956, which 
regulates the handling of sweet onions grown in the Walla Walla Valley 
of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon. The three amendments, 
which were proposed by the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee 
(Committee), were approved by producers in a referendum. This action 
also updates the term of office and staggered term limits for producers 
and handlers.

DATES: This rule is effective May 6, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Geronimo Quinones, Marketing 
Specialist, or Patty Bennett, Director, 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] 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, 
amends regulations issued to carry out a marketing order as defined in 
7 CFR 900.2(j). This rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 956, as 
amended (7 CFR part 956), regulating the handling of sweet onions grown 
in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon. 
Part 956 (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, which is 
responsible for the local administration of the Order, is comprised of 
sweet onion producers and handlers operating within the area of 
production and a public member. Section 608c(17) of the Act and the 
applicable rules of practice and procedure governing the formulation of 
marketing agreements and orders (7 CFR part 900) authorize amendment of 
the Order through this informal rulemaking action.
    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 final rule does not meet the definition of a 
significant regulatory action, it does not trigger the requirements 
contained in Executive Order 13771. See OMB's Memorandum titled 
``Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of 
January 30, 2017, titled `Reducing Regulation and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs' '' (February 2, 2017).
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect.
    The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted 
before parties may file suit in court. Under section 8c(15)(A) of the 
Act (7 U.S.C. 608c(15)(A)), any handler subject to an order may file 
with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the 
order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in 
accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be 
exempted therefrom. A handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing 
on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. 
The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any 
district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her 
principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling 
on the petition, provided an action is filed no later than 20 days 
after the date of entry of the ruling.
    Section 1504 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 
(2008 Farm Bill) (Pub. L. 110-246) amended section 8c(17) of the Act (7 
U.S.C. 608c(17), which in turn required the addition of supplemental 
rules of practice to 7 CFR part 900 (73 FR 49307; August 21, 2008). The 
amendment of section 8c(17) of the Act and additional supplemental 
rules of practice authorize the use of informal rulemaking (5 U.S.C. 
553) to amend Federal fruit, vegetable, and nut marketing agreements 
and orders. USDA may use informal rulemaking to amend marketing orders 
based on the nature and complexity of the proposed amendments, the 
potential regulatory and economic impacts on affected entities, and any 
other relevant matters.
    The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) considered these 
factors and has determined that amending the Order as proposed could 
appropriately be accomplished through informal rulemaking.
    The proposed amendments were unanimously recommended by the 
Committee following deliberations at two public meetings held on 
November 14, 2017, and March 3, 2018. A proposed rule soliciting 
comments on the amendment was issued on July 19, 2018, and published in 
the Federal Register on July 24, 2018 (83 FR 34953). One comment in 
support of the amendments was received. As a result, no changes to the 
proposed rule were made. A proposed rule and referendum order was then 
issued on December 11, 2018, and published in the Federal Register on 
December 14, 2018 (83 FR 64296). This document directed that a 
referendum among Walla Walla sweet

[[Page 13514]]

onion producers be conducted December 17, 2018, through December 31, 
2018, to determine whether they favored the proposals. To become 
effective, the amendments had to be approved by two-thirds of producers 
voting or by those producers voting in the referendum who represented 
at least two-thirds of the volume of Walla Walla sweet onions.
    The amendments were favored by 100 percent of the producers voting 
and by 100 percent of the volume represented; both exceed the two-
thirds requirement.
    The amendments in this final rule change the Committee's size, 
quorum, and voting requirements. The amendments also change the term of 
office and stagger term limits for producers and handlers.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to the requirements set forth in the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), AMS has considered the 
economic impact of this action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has 
prepared this final regulatory flexibility analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued 
pursuant to the Act, and 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 eight handlers of Walla Walla sweet onions subject to 
regulation under the Order and approximately 15 producers in the 
regulated production area. Small agricultural service firms are defined 
by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual 
receipts of less than $7,500,000, and small agricultural producers are 
defined as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000 (13 CFR 
121.201).
    The Committee reported that approximately 390,000 50-pound bags or 
equivalents of Walla Walla sweet onions were shipped into the fresh 
market in 2017. Based on information reported by USDA's Market News 
Service, the average 2017 marketing year f.o.b. shipping point price 
for the Walla Walla sweet onions was $14.90 per 50-pound equivalent. 
Multiplying the $14.90 average price by the shipment quantity of 
390,000 50-pound equivalents yields an annual crop revenue estimate of 
$5,811,000. The average annual revenue for each of the eight handlers 
is therefore calculated to be $726,375 ($5,811,000 divided by eight), 
which is less than the SBA threshold of $7,500,000. Consequently, all 
the Walla Walla sweet onion handlers could be classified as small 
entities.
    In addition, based on information provided by the National 
Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the average producer price for 
Walla Walla sweet onions for the 2012 through 2016 marketing years is 
$15.27 per 50-pound equivalent. NASS has not released data regarding 
the 2017 marketing year at this time. Multiplying the 2012-2016 
marketing year average price of $15.27 by the 2017 marketing year 
shipments of 390,000 50-pound equivalents yields an annual crop revenue 
estimate of $5,955,300. The estimated average annual revenue for each 
of the 15 producers is therefore calculated to be approximately 
$397,020 ($5,955,300 divided by 15), which is less than the SBA 
threshold of $750,000. In view of the foregoing, the majority of Walla 
Walla sweet onion producers and all of the Walla Walla sweet onion 
handlers may be classified as small entities.
    The amendments, which were unanimously recommended by the Committee 
at two public meetings on November 14, 2017, and March 3, 2018, will 
change the Committee's size, quorum, and voting requirements. They also 
change the term of office and stagger term limits so that the term of 
office for producers and handlers will be two fiscal periods instead of 
three fiscal periods, and one-half instead of one-third of the producer 
and handler member terms will expire every year.
    These amendments will have no direct economic effect on producers 
or handlers. The number of producers and handlers operating in the 
industry has decreased, which makes it difficult to find enough members 
to fill positions on the Committee. Decreasing the Committee's size 
will make it more reflective of today's industry.
    Therefore, it is anticipated that both small and large producer and 
handler businesses will benefit from these amendments.
    The Committee considered alternatives to the proposals, including 
making no changes at this time. Due to changes in the industry, AMS 
believes the proposals are justified and necessary to ensure the 
Committee's ability to locally administer the program. Reducing the 
size of the Committee will enable it to fulfill membership and quorum 
requirements fully, thereby ensuring a more efficient and orderly flow 
of business.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
chapter 35), the Order's information collection requirements have been 
previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581-0178 (Vegetable 
and Specialty Crops). No changes in those requirements are necessary as 
a result of this action. Should any changes become necessary, they 
would be submitted to OMB for approval.
    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. In addition, 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 citizens to access Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.
    The Committee's meetings were widely publicized throughout the 
Walla Walla sweet onion production area. All interested persons were 
invited to attend the meetings and encouraged to participate in 
Committee deliberations on all issues. The Committee meetings were 
public, and all entities, both large and small, were encouraged to 
express their views on these proposals.
    A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal 
Register on July 24, 2018 (83 FR 34953). Copies of the proposed rule 
were mailed or sent via facsimile to all Committee members and all 
interested parties. The proposed rule was made available through the 
internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 60-day 
comment period ending September 24, 2018, was provided to allow 
interested persons to respond to the proposals. One comment was 
received. The comment submitted was in support of the proposals; 
therefore, no changes were made to the proposed amendments.
    A proposed rule and referendum order was then issued on December 
11, 2018, and published in the Federal Register on December 14, 2018 
(83 FR 64296). This document directed that a referendum among Walla 
Walla sweet onion producers be conducted December 17, 2018, through 
December 31, 2018, to determine whether they favored the proposals. To 
become effective, the amendments had to be approved by two-thirds of 
producers voting or by those producers voting in the referendum who 
represented at least two-thirds of the volume of Walla Walla sweet 
onions.

[[Page 13515]]

    The amendments were favored by 100 percent of the producers voting 
and by 100 percent of the volume represented; both exceed the two-
thirds requirement.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide. Any questions 
about the compliance guide should be sent to Richard Lower at his 
previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section.

Order Amending the Order Regulating the Handling of Sweet Onions Grown 
in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon 
1
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    \1\ This order shall not become effective unless and until the 
requirements of Sec.  900.14 of the rules of practice and procedure 
governing proceedings to formulate marketing agreements and 
marketing orders have been met.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Findings and Determinations

    (a) Findings and Determinations Upon the Basis of the Rulemaking 
Record.
    The findings hereinafter set forth are supplementary to the 
findings and determinations which were previously made in connection 
with the issuance of the Order; and all said previous findings and 
determinations are hereby ratified and affirmed, except insofar as such 
findings and determinations may be in conflict with the findings and 
determinations set forth herein.
    1. The Order, as amended, and as hereby further amended, and all of 
the terms and conditions thereof, would tend to effectuate the declared 
policy of the Act;
    2. The Order, as amended, and as hereby further amended, regulates 
the handling of sweet onions grown in the Walla Walla Valley of 
Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon in the same manner as, and is 
applicable only to, persons in the respective classes of commercial and 
industrial activity specified in the Order;
    3. The Order, as amended, and as hereby further amended, is limited 
in application to the smallest regional production area that is 
practicable, consistent with carrying out the declared policy of the 
Act, and the issuance of several orders applicable to subdivisions of 
the production area would not effectively carry out the declared policy 
of the Act;
    4. The Order, as amended, and as hereby further amended, 
prescribes, insofar as practicable, such different terms applicable to 
different parts of the production area as are necessary to give due 
recognition to the differences in the production and marketing of 
onions produced in the production area; and
    5. All handling of onions produced in the production area as 
defined in the Order is in the current of interstate or foreign 
commerce or directly burdens, obstructs, or affects such commerce.
    (b) Determinations.
    It is hereby determined that:
    1. Handlers (excluding cooperative associations of producers who 
are not engaged in processing, distributing, or shipping of onions 
covered under the Order) who during the period June 1, 2017, through 
May 31, 2018, handled not less than 50 percent of the volume of such 
onions covered by said Order, as hereby amended, have signed an amended 
marketing agreement; and
    2. The issuance of this amendatory order, further amending the 
aforesaid Order, is favored or approved by at least two-thirds of the 
producers who participated in a referendum on the question of approval 
and who, during the period of June 1, 2017, through May 31, 2018, were 
engaged within the production area in the production of such onions. 
Such producers also produced for market at least two-thirds of the 
volume of such commodity represented in the referendum.
    3. The issuance of this amendatory order together with a signed 
marketing agreement advances the interests of growers of onions in the 
production area pursuant to the declared policy of the Act.

Order Relative to Handling

    It is therefore ordered, that on and after the effective date 
hereof, all handling of sweet onions grown in the Walla Walla Valley of 
Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon shall be in conformity to, 
and in compliance with, the terms and conditions of the said Order as 
hereby proposed to be amended as follows:
    The provisions amending the Order contained in the proposed rule 
issued by the Administrator on July 19, 2018, and published in the 
Federal Register on July 24, 2018, (83 FR 34953) will be and are the 
terms and provisions of this order amending the Order and are set forth 
in full herein.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 956

    Onions, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    Dated: April 2, 2019.
Bruce Summers,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.


    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 956 is 
amended as follows:

PART 956--SWEET ONIONS GROWN IN THE WALLA WALLA VALLEY OF SOUTHEAST 
WASHINGTON AND NORTHEAST OREGON

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 956 continues to read as 
follows:

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


0
2. Amend Sec.  956.20 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  956.20  Establishment and membership.

    (a) The Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee, consisting of 
seven members, is hereby established. The Committee shall consist of 
four producer members, two handler members, and one public member. Each 
member shall have an alternate who shall have the same qualifications 
as the member.
* * * * *

0
3. Amend Sec.  956.21 by revising to read as follows:


Sec.  956.21  Term of office.

    (a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, 
the term of office of grower and handler Committee members and their 
respective alternates shall be two fiscal periods beginning on June 1 
or such other date as recommended by the Committee and approved by the 
Secretary. The terms shall be determined so that one-half of the grower 
membership and one-half of the handler membership shall terminate each 
year. Members and alternates shall serve during the term of office for 
which they are selected and have been qualified, or during that portion 
thereof beginning on the date on which they qualify during such term of 
office and continuing until the end thereof, or until their successors 
are selected and have qualified.
    (b) The term of office of the initial members and alternates shall 
begin as soon as possible after May 6, 2019. One-half of the initial 
industry grower and handler members and alternates shall serve for a 
one-year term and one-half shall serve for a two-year term. The initial 
as well as all successive terms of office of the public member and 
alternate member shall be for three years.
    (c) The consecutive terms of office for all members shall be 
limited to two two-

[[Page 13516]]

year terms. There shall be no such limitation for alternate members.

0
4. Amend Sec.  956.28 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  956.28  Procedure.

    (a) Four members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum, and 
four concurring votes shall be required to pass any motion or approve 
any Committee action, except that recommendations made pursuant to 
Sec.  956.61 shall require five concurring votes.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2019-06701 Filed 4-4-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-02-P