Irish Potatoes Grown in Washington; Suspension of Reporting and Assessment Requirements, 64415-64417 [2020-20787]

Download as PDF 64415 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 198 Tuesday, October 13, 2020 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 946 [Doc. No. AMS–SC–20–0062; SC20–946–1 PR] Irish Potatoes Grown in Washington; Suspension of Reporting and Assessment Requirements Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: This proposed rule invites comments on a recommendation from the State of Washington Potato Committee (Committee) to suspend the reporting and assessment requirements prescribed under the marketing order regulating Irish Potatoes grown in Washington (Order). In a separate action, the Committee also unanimously recommended terminating Marketing Order No. 946. This rule would indefinitely suspend the reporting and assessment requirements of the Order during the period that USDA is processing the termination request. DATES: Comments must be received by December 14, 2020. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this proposal. 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. All comments should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours or can be viewed at: https:// www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this proposal will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Oct 09, 2020 Jkt 253001 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: Gregory A. Breasher, Marketing Specialist, or Gary Olson, Regional Director, Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (503) 326– 2724 or Email: Gregory.Breasher@ usda.gov or GaryD.Olson@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. 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 Order No. 946, as amended (7 CFR part 946), regulating the handling of Irish potatoes grown in Washington. Part 946 (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 operating within the production area. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this proposed 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 proposed 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. This proposed rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 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 a marketing order may file with USDA a petition stating that the marketing order, any provision of the marketing order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the marketing order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the marketing order or to be exempted therefrom. A handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA’s ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling. The Committee meets regularly to consider recommendations for modification, suspension, or termination of the Order’s regulatory requirements. Committee meetings are open to the public and interested persons may express their views at these meetings. USDA reviews Committee recommendations, including information provided by the Committee and from other available sources, and determines whether modification, suspension, or termination of the regulatory requirements would tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. On June 11, 2020, the Committee met and, after much deliberation, unanimously recommended that USDA terminate the Order. Additionally, the Committee recommended that the Order’s reporting and assessment requirements—the only regulatory activities of the Order currently in effect—be suspended while the recommendation for termination is being processed by USDA. The termination would be a separate regulatory action from the suspension of requirements as proposed herein. Section 946.41 provides authority for the Committee to assess handlers for their pro rata share of the Committee expenses authorized each fiscal period. Section 946.70 authorizes the Committee to collect reports and other information necessary for the Committee to perform its duties under the Order. This proposed rule would E:\FR\FM\13OCP1.SGM 13OCP1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 64416 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 198 / Tuesday, October 13, 2020 / Proposed Rules suspend § 946.248, which established a continuing assessment rate of $0.0025 per hundredweight, effective for the 2013–2014 and subsequent fiscal periods, and § 946.143, which requires monthly reporting of fresh potato shipments from the production area. The Order has been in effect since 1949, providing the Washington potato industry authority for grade, size, quality, maturity, pack, and container requirements, as well as authority for inspection requirements. Based on the Committee’s recommendation in 2010, USDA suspended the Order’s handling requirements for Russet potatoes. The Committee believed that the costs of inspection outweighed the benefits provided from having the Order’s regulatory requirements in effect for that type potato. In 2013, also upon the recommendation of the Committee, USDA suspended handling requirements temporarily, through June 30, 2014, for all yellow flesh and white type potatoes. Again, the Committee believed that the costs of inspection outweighed the benefits provided from regulating these type potatoes. In 2014, the handling requirements for red type potatoes were indefinitely suspended. Also in 2014, the temporary suspension for yellow flesh and white types was extended indefinitely. The sum of the previous actions effectively suspended the handling requirements for all types of Washington potatoes after the 2013–2014 marketing year. The Committee believed operating without handling regulation offered Washington potato handlers a cost savings through the elimination of mandatory inspection fees. Also, the Committee had determined that the potential negative market impact of operating without mandatory quality and inspection requirements was minimal. Following the suspension of the handling requirements in 2014, the Committee continued to levy assessments and to maintain its administrative function. The Committee believed that it should continue to fund its full operational capability, collect industry statistics on an ongoing basis, and maintain the program in the event that regulating quality was again deemed necessary. The Committee met on June 11, 2020, to discuss the current status of the Washington potato industry and the relevance of the Order. The Committee determined that the suspension of the Order’s handling requirements has not negatively impacted the industry and that there is no longer a need for the Order. Also, the Committee concluded that the collection of information under VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Oct 09, 2020 Jkt 253001 the Order’s authority is redundant, as the Washington Potato Commission has similar handler reporting requirements and that the statistical information collected by it is provided to the industry. Thus, the Committee unanimously recommended terminating the Order. In addition, the Committee determined that there is no need to continue collecting assessments and requiring reports while USDA considers its termination recommendation. Therefore, the Committee also unanimously recommended that the assessment and reporting requirements of the Order be immediately suspended. This action would relieve handlers of the assessment and reporting burden during the pendency of the termination process. At the June meeting, the Committee recommended a budget of $41,150 for the indefinite period leading up to the termination of the Order. The budgeted amount was established on the basis of the funds remaining in the Committee’s monetary reserve and expected future expenses. The budget, in its entirety, would provide for such operating expenses as are necessary during the termination process, including a final financial review and management compensation. 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 250 producers of Washington potatoes and approximately 26 fresh potato handlers in the production area subject to regulation by the Order. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts of less than $30,000,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those having annual receipts of less than $1,000,000. According to USDA Market News, the average shipping point price for fresh PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Washington potatoes during the 2019 shipping season was approximately $15.79 per hundredweight. The Committee reported 2019–2020 marketing year fresh potato shipments were 9,687,170 hundredweight. Given the number of handlers, average annual handler receipts are less than $30,000,000 ($15.79/hundredweight times 9,687,170 hundredweight equal $152,960,414, divided by 26 handlers equals $5,883,093 per handler). In addition, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reported an average producer price of $8.20 per hundredweight for the 2019 crop. Given the number of Washington potato producers, average annual producer revenue is below $1,000,000 ($8.20/ hundredweight times 9,687,170 hundredweight equal $79,434,794, divided by 250 producers equals $317,739 per producer). Therefore, most handlers and producers of fresh Washington potatoes may be classified as small agricultural businesses. This proposed rule would suspend the reporting and assessment requirements of the Order. The handler reporting requirement that would be suspended is the monthly collection of Washington fresh potato shipment information. The assessment rate that would be suspended is the $0.0025 per hundredweight rate in effect for the 2013 fiscal period and continuing to the present day. The Committee also recommended a budget of expenditures of $41,150 for the period beginning July 1, 2020 and ending with termination of the Order. The budget was based on the Committee’s estimated financial resources on June 30, 2020. Budgeted expenditures include administrative expenses and a final financial review. The Committee made the recommendation to suspend the reporting and assessment requirements as an adjunct to the recommendation to terminate the Order. As such, the only other alternative discussed by the Committee was to maintain the status quo, continue to assess handlers, and to require monthly handling reports. After consideration, the Committee determined that the Order is no longer beneficial to the industry and that the best recourse was to cease operations and terminate the Order. This action would suspend the reporting and assessment obligations imposed on handlers. When in effect, assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and some of those costs may be passed on to producers. The suspension of the reporting and assessment requirements would reduce the regulatory burden on handlers and E:\FR\FM\13OCP1.SGM 13OCP1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 198 / Tuesday, October 13, 2020 / Proposed Rules would also be expected to reduce the burden on producers. 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 are necessary in those requirements as a result of this proposed action. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. This proposed rule would not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large potato 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. In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this proposed 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. The Committee’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the Washington potato industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the June 11, 2020, meeting was a public meeting, and all entities, both large and small, were able to express their views on these issues. Interested persons are invited to submit comments on this proposed rule, including the regulatory and information collection impacts of this proposed action on small businesses. 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 60-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposal. All written comments timely received will be considered before a final determination is made on this matter. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Oct 09, 2020 Jkt 253001 List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 946 Marketing agreements, Potatoes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Agriculture Marketing Services proposes to amend 7 CFR part 946 as follows: PART 946—IRISH POTATOES GROWN IN WASHINGTON 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 946 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. §§ 946.143 and 946.248 [Suspended] 2. Suspend §§ 946.143 and 946.248 indefinately. ■ Bruce Summers, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2020–20787 Filed 10–9–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2020–0911; Product Identifier 2020–NM–075–AD] RIN 2120–AA64 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all MHI RJ Aviation ULC Model CL–600– 2C10 (Regional Jet Series 700, 701 & 702) airplanes; Model CL–600–2C11 (Regional Jet Series 550) airplanes; Model CL–600–2D15 (Regional Jet Series 705) airplanes; Model CL–600– 2D24 (Regional Jet Series 900) airplanes; and Model CL–600–2E25 (Regional Jet Series 1000) airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a determination that a new or more restrictive airworthiness limitation is necessary. This proposed AD would require revising the existing maintenance or inspection program, as applicable, to incorporate a new or more restrictive airworthiness limitation. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products. SUMMARY: Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 The FAA must receive comments on this proposed AD by November 27, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. For service information identified in this NPRM, contact MHI RJ Aviation ULC, 12655 Henri-Fabre Blvd., Mirabel, Que´bec J7N 1E1, Canada; Widebody Customer Response Center North America toll-free telephone +1–844– 272–2720 or direct-dial telephone +1– 514–855–8500; fax +1–514–855–8501; email thd.crj@mhirj.com; internet https://mhirj.com. You may view this service information at the FAA, Airworthiness Products Section, Operational Safety Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206–231–3195. DATES: Examining the AD Docket Airworthiness Directives; MHI RJ Aviation ULC (Type Certificate Previously Held by Bombardier, Inc.) Airplanes PO 00000 64417 Sfmt 4702 You may examine the AD docket on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2020– 0911; or in person at Docket Operations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this NPRM, any comments received, and other information. The street address for Docket Operations is listed above. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Siddeeq Bacchus, Aerospace Engineer, Mechanical Systems and Administrative Services Section, FAA, New York ACO Branch, 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone 516–228–7362; fax 516–794–5531; email 9-avs-nyaco-cos@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited The FAA invites you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views about this proposal. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any E:\FR\FM\13OCP1.SGM 13OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 198 (Tuesday, October 13, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 64415-64417]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-20787]


========================================================================
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. 85, No. 198 / Tuesday, October 13, 2020 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 64415]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 946

[Doc. No. AMS-SC-20-0062; SC20-946-1 PR]


Irish Potatoes Grown in Washington; Suspension of Reporting and 
Assessment Requirements

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: This proposed rule invites comments on a recommendation from 
the State of Washington Potato Committee (Committee) to suspend the 
reporting and assessment requirements prescribed under the marketing 
order regulating Irish Potatoes grown in Washington (Order). In a 
separate action, the Committee also unanimously recommended terminating 
Marketing Order No. 946. This rule would indefinitely suspend the 
reporting and assessment requirements of the Order during the period 
that USDA is processing the termination request.

DATES: Comments must be received by December 14, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments 
concerning this proposal. 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. 
All comments should reference the document number and the date and page 
number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available 
for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular 
business hours or can be viewed at: https://www.regulations.gov. All 
comments submitted in response to this proposal 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: Gregory A. Breasher, Marketing 
Specialist, or Gary Olson, Regional Director, Northwest Marketing Field 
Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops 
Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (503) 326-2724 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 Order No. 946, as amended (7 CFR part 946), regulating the 
handling of Irish potatoes grown in Washington. Part 946 (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 operating within the 
production area.
    The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this proposed 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 proposed 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. This proposed rule is not intended to have 
retroactive effect.
    The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted 
before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the 
Act, any handler subject to a marketing order may file with USDA a 
petition stating that the marketing order, any provision of the 
marketing order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the 
marketing order is not in accordance with law and request a 
modification of the marketing order or to be exempted therefrom. A 
handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. 
After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides 
that the district court of the United States in any district in which 
the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of 
business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, 
provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of 
the entry of the ruling.
    The Committee meets regularly to consider recommendations for 
modification, suspension, or termination of the Order's regulatory 
requirements. Committee meetings are open to the public and interested 
persons may express their views at these meetings. USDA reviews 
Committee recommendations, including information provided by the 
Committee and from other available sources, and determines whether 
modification, suspension, or termination of the regulatory requirements 
would tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.
    On June 11, 2020, the Committee met and, after much deliberation, 
unanimously recommended that USDA terminate the Order. Additionally, 
the Committee recommended that the Order's reporting and assessment 
requirements--the only regulatory activities of the Order currently in 
effect--be suspended while the recommendation for termination is being 
processed by USDA. The termination would be a separate regulatory 
action from the suspension of requirements as proposed herein.
    Section 946.41 provides authority for the Committee to assess 
handlers for their pro rata share of the Committee expenses authorized 
each fiscal period. Section 946.70 authorizes the Committee to collect 
reports and other information necessary for the Committee to perform 
its duties under the Order. This proposed rule would

[[Page 64416]]

suspend Sec.  946.248, which established a continuing assessment rate 
of $0.0025 per hundredweight, effective for the 2013-2014 and 
subsequent fiscal periods, and Sec.  946.143, which requires monthly 
reporting of fresh potato shipments from the production area.
    The Order has been in effect since 1949, providing the Washington 
potato industry authority for grade, size, quality, maturity, pack, and 
container requirements, as well as authority for inspection 
requirements. Based on the Committee's recommendation in 2010, USDA 
suspended the Order's handling requirements for Russet potatoes. The 
Committee believed that the costs of inspection outweighed the benefits 
provided from having the Order's regulatory requirements in effect for 
that type potato.
    In 2013, also upon the recommendation of the Committee, USDA 
suspended handling requirements temporarily, through June 30, 2014, for 
all yellow flesh and white type potatoes. Again, the Committee believed 
that the costs of inspection outweighed the benefits provided from 
regulating these type potatoes.
    In 2014, the handling requirements for red type potatoes were 
indefinitely suspended. Also in 2014, the temporary suspension for 
yellow flesh and white types was extended indefinitely. The sum of the 
previous actions effectively suspended the handling requirements for 
all types of Washington potatoes after the 2013-2014 marketing year. 
The Committee believed operating without handling regulation offered 
Washington potato handlers a cost savings through the elimination of 
mandatory inspection fees. Also, the Committee had determined that the 
potential negative market impact of operating without mandatory quality 
and inspection requirements was minimal.
    Following the suspension of the handling requirements in 2014, the 
Committee continued to levy assessments and to maintain its 
administrative function. The Committee believed that it should continue 
to fund its full operational capability, collect industry statistics on 
an ongoing basis, and maintain the program in the event that regulating 
quality was again deemed necessary.
    The Committee met on June 11, 2020, to discuss the current status 
of the Washington potato industry and the relevance of the Order. The 
Committee determined that the suspension of the Order's handling 
requirements has not negatively impacted the industry and that there is 
no longer a need for the Order. Also, the Committee concluded that the 
collection of information under the Order's authority is redundant, as 
the Washington Potato Commission has similar handler reporting 
requirements and that the statistical information collected by it is 
provided to the industry. Thus, the Committee unanimously recommended 
terminating the Order.
    In addition, the Committee determined that there is no need to 
continue collecting assessments and requiring reports while USDA 
considers its termination recommendation. Therefore, the Committee also 
unanimously recommended that the assessment and reporting requirements 
of the Order be immediately suspended. This action would relieve 
handlers of the assessment and reporting burden during the pendency of 
the termination process.
    At the June meeting, the Committee recommended a budget of $41,150 
for the indefinite period leading up to the termination of the Order. 
The budgeted amount was established on the basis of the funds remaining 
in the Committee's monetary reserve and expected future expenses. The 
budget, in its entirety, would provide for such operating expenses as 
are necessary during the termination process, including a final 
financial review and management compensation.

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 250 producers of Washington potatoes and 
approximately 26 fresh potato handlers in the production area subject 
to regulation by the Order.
    Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business 
Administration (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts of less 
than $30,000,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those 
having annual receipts of less than $1,000,000.
    According to USDA Market News, the average shipping point price for 
fresh Washington potatoes during the 2019 shipping season was 
approximately $15.79 per hundredweight. The Committee reported 2019-
2020 marketing year fresh potato shipments were 9,687,170 
hundredweight. Given the number of handlers, average annual handler 
receipts are less than $30,000,000 ($15.79/hundredweight times 
9,687,170 hundredweight equal $152,960,414, divided by 26 handlers 
equals $5,883,093 per handler).
    In addition, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reported 
an average producer price of $8.20 per hundredweight for the 2019 crop. 
Given the number of Washington potato producers, average annual 
producer revenue is below $1,000,000 ($8.20/hundredweight times 
9,687,170 hundredweight equal $79,434,794, divided by 250 producers 
equals $317,739 per producer). Therefore, most handlers and producers 
of fresh Washington potatoes may be classified as small agricultural 
businesses.
    This proposed rule would suspend the reporting and assessment 
requirements of the Order. The handler reporting requirement that would 
be suspended is the monthly collection of Washington fresh potato 
shipment information. The assessment rate that would be suspended is 
the $0.0025 per hundredweight rate in effect for the 2013 fiscal period 
and continuing to the present day. The Committee also recommended a 
budget of expenditures of $41,150 for the period beginning July 1, 2020 
and ending with termination of the Order. The budget was based on the 
Committee's estimated financial resources on June 30, 2020. Budgeted 
expenditures include administrative expenses and a final financial 
review.
    The Committee made the recommendation to suspend the reporting and 
assessment requirements as an adjunct to the recommendation to 
terminate the Order. As such, the only other alternative discussed by 
the Committee was to maintain the status quo, continue to assess 
handlers, and to require monthly handling reports. After consideration, 
the Committee determined that the Order is no longer beneficial to the 
industry and that the best recourse was to cease operations and 
terminate the Order.
    This action would suspend the reporting and assessment obligations 
imposed on handlers. When in effect, assessments are applied uniformly 
on all handlers, and some of those costs may be passed on to producers. 
The suspension of the reporting and assessment requirements would 
reduce the regulatory burden on handlers and

[[Page 64417]]

would also be expected to reduce the burden on producers.
    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 are necessary in those requirements as a 
result of this proposed action. Should any changes become necessary, 
they would be submitted to OMB for approval.
    This proposed rule would not impose any additional reporting or 
recordkeeping requirements on either small or large potato 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. In addition, USDA 
has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap 
or conflict with this proposed 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.
    The Committee's meeting was widely publicized throughout the 
Washington potato industry, and all interested persons were invited to 
attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations on all 
issues. Like all Committee meetings, the June 11, 2020, meeting was a 
public meeting, and all entities, both large and small, were able to 
express their views on these issues. Interested persons are invited to 
submit comments on this proposed rule, including the regulatory and 
information collection impacts of this proposed action on small 
businesses.
    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 60-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to 
respond to this proposal. All written comments timely received will be 
considered before a final determination is made on this matter.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 946

    Marketing agreements, Potatoes, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Agriculture 
Marketing Services proposes to amend 7 CFR part 946 as follows:

PART 946--IRISH POTATOES GROWN IN WASHINGTON

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 946 continues to read as 
follows:

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


Sec. Sec.  946.143 and 946.248   [Suspended]

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2. Suspend Sec. Sec.  946.143 and 946.248 indefinately.

Bruce Summers,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-20787 Filed 10-9-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P