Cotton Research and Promotion Program: Procedures for Conduct of Sign-Up Period, 20255-20258 [2021-07989]

Download as PDF jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 73 / Monday, April 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations percentage of total grower revenue will be approximately 3.0 percent. This action will not increase the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and some of the costs may be passed on to producers. However, these costs will be offset by the benefits derived by the operation of the marketing order. The Board’s meeting was widely publicized throughout the tart cherry industry. All interested persons were invited to attend the meeting and participate in Board deliberations on all issues. Like all Board meetings, the September 10, 2020, meeting was a public meeting, and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the Order’s information collection requirements have been previously approved by the OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581–0177, Tart Cherries Grown in the States of Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. No changes in those requirements will be necessary as a result of this rule. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. This rule imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large tart cherry handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. As noted in the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule. AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on December 16, 2020 (85 FR 81425). Copies of the proposed rule were also mailed or sent via email to all tart cherry handlers. The proposed rule was made available through the internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 30-day comment period ending January 15, 2021, was provided for interested persons to respond to the proposal. One comment was received that opposed any increase to the assessment rate and expressed concern that small VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:00 Apr 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 growers suffered an unfair financial burden with respect to assessments. While this action does increase the portion of the assessment rate dedicated to administrative expenses, it decreases the portion dedicated to research and promotion. This action does not change the overall assessment rate currently in effect and will not increase the assessment cost on small or large handlers. The assessment rate is also calculated on a per pound basis so the cost to small and large handlers is shared proportionally based on their production volume. Accordingly, no changes will be made to the rule as proposed, based on the comment received. A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: https:// www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/ moa/small-businesses. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Richard Lower at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. After consideration of all relevant material presented, including the information and recommendation submitted by the Board and other available information, it is hereby found that this rule will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 930 Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Tart cherries. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 930 is amended as follows: PART 930—TART CHERRIES GROWN IN THE STATES OF MICHIGAN, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, OREGON, UTAH, WASHINGTON, AND WISCONSIN 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 930 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. 2. Section 930.200 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 930.200 Assessment rate. On and after October 1, 2020, the assessment rate imposed on handlers shall be $0.00575 per pound of tart cherries grown in the production area and utilized in the production of tart cherry products. Included in this rate is $0.00275 per pound of tart cherries to cover the cost of the research and promotion program and $0.003 per PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 20255 pound of tart cherries to cover administrative expenses. Bruce Summers, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2021–07954 Filed 4–16–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 1205 [Doc. No. AMS–CN–20–0097] Cotton Research and Promotion Program: Procedures for Conduct of Sign-Up Period Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Department of Agriculture (USDA). ACTION: Direct final rule. AGENCY: This direct final rule amends the rules and regulations regarding the procedures for the conduct of a sign-up period for eligible cotton producers and importers to request a continuance referendum on the 1991 amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion Order (Order) provided for in the Cotton Research and Promotion Act (Act) amendments of 1990. The amendments update various dates, name changes, addresses, and make other administrative changes. DATES: This direct rule is effective June 18, 2021, without further action or notice, unless significant adverse comment is received by May 19, 2021. If significant adverse comment is received, AMS will publish a timely withdrawal of the amendment in the Federal Register. ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted to the addresses specified below. All comments will be made available to the public. Please do not include personally identifiable information (such as name, address, or other contact information) or confidential business information that you do not want publicly disclosed. All comments may be posted on the internet and can be retrieved by most internet search engines. Comments may be submitted anonymously. Comments, identified by AMS–CN– 20–0097, may be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https:// www.regulations.gov. Please follow the instructions for submitting comments. In addition, comments may be submitted by mail or hand delivery to Cotton Research and Promotion, Cotton SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19APR1.SGM 19APR1 20256 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 73 / Monday, April 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations and Tobacco Program, AMS, USDA, 100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406. Comments should be submitted in triplicate. All comments received will be made available for public inspection at Cotton and Tobacco Program, AMS, USDA, 100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406. A copy of this document may be found at: www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shethir M. Riva, Director, Research and Promotion, Cotton and Tobacco Program, AMS, USDA, 100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406; telephone (540) 361– 2726, facsimile (540) 361–1199, or email at CottonRP@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES A. Background The 1991 amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion Order (7 CFR part 1205) were implemented following the July 1991 referendum. The amendments were provided for in the Cotton Research and Promotion Act (7 U.S.C. 2101–2118) amendments of 1990. These amendments provided for: (1) Importer representation on the Cotton Board by an appropriate number of persons, to be determined by USDA, who import cotton or cotton products into the U.S., and whom USDA selects from nominations submitted by importer organizations certified by USDA; (2) assessments levied on imported cotton and cotton products at a rate determined in the same manner as for U.S. cotton; (3) increasing the amount USDA can be reimbursed for the conduct of a referendum from $200,000 to $300,000; (4) reimbursing government agencies that assist in administering the collection of assessments on imported cotton and cotton products; and (5) terminating the right of producers to demand a refund of assessments. On December 18, 2020, USDA issued a determination based on its review (85 FR 82426) not to conduct a referendum regarding the 1991 amendments to the Order; however, the Act provides that USDA shall nevertheless conduct a referendum at the request of 10 percent or more of the total number of eligible producers and importers that voted in the most recent referendum. Furthermore, the Act provides for a sign-up period during which eligible cotton producers and importers may request that USDA conduct a referendum on continuation of the 1991 amendments to the Order. Pursuant to section 8(c) of the Act, USDA will provide all eligible Upland cotton producers and importers of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:00 Apr 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 cotton and cotton-containing products an opportunity to sign up and request a continuance referendum regarding the 1991 amendments to the Order. Eligible cotton producers would be provided the opportunity to sign-up to request a continuance referendum in person at the county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office where their farm is located. If a producer’s land is in more than one county, the producer shall sign-up at the county office where FSA administratively maintains and processes the producer’s farm records. Producers may alternatively request a sign-up form in the mail from the same office or through the USDA, AMS website: https://www.ams.usda.gov/ Cotton and return it to their FSA office or return their signed request forms to USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Cotton and Tobacco Program, Attention: Cotton Sign-Up, P.O. Box 23181, Washington, DC 20077–8249. Eligible importers would be provided the opportunity to sign up to request a continuance referendum by downloading a form from the AMS website, or request a sign-up form by contacting CottonRP@usda.gov or (540) 361–2726, and return their signed request forms to USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Cotton and Tobacco Program, Attention: Cotton Sign-Up, P.O. Box 23181, Washington, DC 20077– 8249. Such request must be accompanied by a copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection form 7501 showing payment of a cotton assessment (also known as the ‘‘cotton fee’’) for calendar year 2020. Requests and supporting documentation should be mailed to USDA, AMS, Cotton and Tobacco Program, Attention: Cotton Sign-Up, P.O. Box 23181, Washington, DC 20077–8249. The sign-up period will be from June 21, 2021, until July 2, 2021. Producer and importer forms shall only be counted if received by USDA before July 2, 2021. Section 8(c)(2) of the Act provides that if USDA determines, based on the results of the sign-up, that 10 percent (i.e., 4,622) or more of the total number of eligible producers and importers that voted in the most recent 1991 referendum request a continuance referendum on the 1991 amendments, a referendum will be held within 12 months after the end of the sign-up period. In counting such requests, however, not more than 20 percent may be from producers from any one state or from importers of cotton. For example, when counting the requests, the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Cotton and Tobacco Program would determine the total number of valid PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 requests from all cotton-producing states and from importers. Not more than 20 percent of the total requests will be counted from any one state or from importers toward reaching the 10 percent or 4,622 total signatures required to call for a referendum. If USDA determines that 10 percent or more of the number of producers and importers who voted in the most recent referendum favor a continuance referendum, a referendum will be held. This direct final rule amends the procedures for the conduct of the current sign-up period. The current rules and regulations provide for sections on definitions, supervision of the sign-up period, eligibility, participation in the sign-up period, counting requests, reporting results, and instructions and forms. In §§ 1205.20, 1205.26, and 1205.27, references to ‘‘calendar year 2014’’ are revised to read ‘‘calendar year 2020.’’ Also, in § 1205.26, eligible persons are further defined to ensure that all producers that planted cotton during 2020 will be eligible to participate in the sign-up period, and in § 1205.26(2), the rule updates and reflects the elimination of the $2.00 per line item importer de minimis (81 FR 38893; June 15, 2016) and that any importer of cotton and cotton-containing products during the representative period may participate. In §§ 1205.27, 1205.28, and 1205.29 sign-up period conduct dates, FSA reporting dates, and mailing addresses have been updated. A 30-day comment period is determined to be appropriate because these eligibility and participation requirements are substantially the same as the eligibility and participation requirements that were used in previous referenda and sign-up periods; participation is voluntary; and this rule, if adopted, should be made effective as soon as possible in order to conduct the sign-up at the earliest possible dates. B. Regulatory Analyses Executive Order 13175 This action has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this regulation would not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal governments and would not have significant Tribal implications. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is E:\FR\FM\19APR1.SGM 19APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 73 / Monday, April 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health, and safety effects; distributive impacts; and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. This action falls within a category of regulatory actions that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) exempted from Executive Order 12866 review. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Executive Order 12988 This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. It 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 12 of the Act, any person subject to an order may file with the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) a petition stating that the order, any provision of the plan, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and requesting a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. Such person is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, the Secretary would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the District Court of the United States in any district in which the person is an inhabitant, or has his principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review the Secretary’s ruling, provided a complaint is filed within 20 days from the date of the entry of the Secretary’s ruling. Regulatory Flexibility Act and Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601– 612), AMS has examined the economic impact of this rule on small entities. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such action so that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines, in 13 CFR 121.201, small agricultural producers as those having annual receipts of no more than $1,000,000, and small ‘‘Other Farm Product Raw Material Merchant Wholesalers’’ (cotton merchants/importers) as having no more than 100 employees. The Cotton Board estimates 12,000 producers and 40,000 importers are subject to the rules and regulations issued pursuant to the Cotton Research and Promotion Order. According to the United States Census Bureau’s ‘‘2016 Survey of SUSB Annual VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:00 Apr 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 Data Tables by Establishment Industry,’’ most importers are considered small entities as defined by the SBA. The majority of these producers and importers are small businesses under the criteria established by the SBA. There are no Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule. This rule is voluntary and only affects producers and importers wishing to participate in the sign-up under the Cotton Research and Promotion Order. Only those eligible persons who are in favor of conducting a referendum would need to participate in the sign-up period. Of the 46,220 total valid ballots received in the 1991 referendum, 27,879, or 60 percent, favored the amendments to the Order, and 18,341, or 40 percent, opposed the amendments to the Order. This rule provides those persons who are not in favor of the continuance of the Order amendments an opportunity to request a continuance referendum. The eligibility and participation requirements for producers and importers are substantially the same as the rules that established the eligibility and participation requirements for the 1991 referendum and previous sign-up periods. In the most recent sign-up in 2015, USDA announced its determination not to conduct a continuance referendum because it received only 46 requests, an insufficient number of signatures to hold another referendum (80 FR 76654; December 10, 2015). The amendments in this action update various dates, name changes, and addresses, and make other miscellaneous administrative changes. The sign-up procedures do not impose a substantial burden or have a significant impact on persons subject to the Order because participation is not mandatory, not all persons subject to the Order are expected to participate, and USDA will determine producer and importer eligibility. The information collection requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act are minimal. Paperwork Reduction Act The information collections in this rule will be carried out under the OMB Control Number 0581–0093. This rule does not add to the overall burden currently approved by OMB and assigned OMB Control Number 0581– 0093 under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). This OMB Control Number is referenced in § 1205.541 of the regulations. A 30-day comment period is provided to comment on the changes to the PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 20257 Cotton Board Rules and Regulations herein. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1205 Advertising, Agricultural research, Cotton, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons stated in the preamble, AMS amends 7 CFR part 1205 as follows: PART 1205—COTTON RESEARCH AND PROMOTION 1. The authority citation for part 1205 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 2101–2118; 7 U.S.C 7401. 2. Section 1205.20 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 1205.20 Representative period. The term representative period means the 2020 calendar year. 3. In § 1205.26, paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) are revised to read as follows: ■ § 1205.26 Eligibility. * * * * * (a) * * * (1) Any person who was engaged in the production of Upland cotton during calendar year 2020; and (2) Any person who was an importer of Upland cotton during calendar year 2020. * * * * * 4. Section 1205.27 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 1205.27 period. Participation in the sign-up The sign-up period will be from June 21, 2021, until July 2, 2021. Those persons who favor the conduct of a continuance referendum and who wish to request that Department of Agriculture (USDA) conduct such a referendum may do so by submitting such request in accordance with this section. All requests must be received by the appropriate USDA office by July 2, 2021. (a) Before the sign-up period begins, FSA shall establish a list of known, eligible, Upland cotton producers in the county that it serves during the representative period, and AMS shall also establish a list of known, eligible Upland cotton importers. (b) Before the start of the sign-up period, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will post sign-up information, including sign-up forms, on its website: https://www.ams.usda.gov/Cotton. Importers who favor the conduct of a continuance referendum can download E:\FR\FM\19APR1.SGM 19APR1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 20258 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 73 / Monday, April 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations a form from the website, or request a sign-up form by contacting CottonRP@ usda.gov or (540) 361–2726 and one will be provided to them. Importers may participate in the sign-up period by submitting a signed, written request for a continuance referendum, along with a copy of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection form 7501 showing payment of a cotton assessment for calendar year 2020. The USDA, AMS, Cotton and Tobacco Program, Attention: Cotton Sign-Up, P.O. Box 23181, Washington, DC 20077–8249 shall be considered the polling place for all cotton importers. All requests and supporting documents must be received by July 2, 2021. (c) Each person on the county FSA office lists may participate in the signup period. Eligible producers must date and sign their name on the ‘‘County FSA Office Sign-up Sheet.’’ A person whose name does not appear on the county FSA office list may participate in the sign-up period. Such person must be identified on FSA–578 during the representative period or provide documentation that demonstrates that the person was a cotton producer during the representative period. Cotton producers not listed on the FSA–578 shall submit at least one sales receipt for cotton they planted during the representative period. Cotton producers must make requests to the county FSA office where the producer’s farm is located. If the producer’s land is in more than one county, the producer shall make request at the county office where FSA administratively maintains and processes the producer’s farm records. It is the responsibility of the person to provide the information needed by the county FSA office to determine eligibility. It is not the responsibility of the county FSA office to obtain this information. If any person whose name does not appear on the county FSA office list fails to provide at least one sales receipt for the cotton they produced during the representative period, the county FSA office shall determine that such person is ineligible to participate in the sign-up period, and shall note ‘‘ineligible’’ in the remarks section next to the person’s name on the county FSA office sign-up sheet. In lieu of personally appearing at a county FSA office, eligible producers may request a sign-up form from the county FSA office where the producer’s farm is located. If the producer’s land is in more than one county, the producer shall make the request for the sign-up form at the county office where FSA administratively maintains and processes the producer’s farm records. Such request must be accompanied by VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:00 Apr 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 a copy of at least one sales receipt for cotton they produced during the representative period. The appropriate FSA office must receive all completed forms and supporting documentation by July 2, 2021. ■ 7. In § 1205.28, the first sentence is revised to read as follows: § 1205.28 Counting. County FSA offices and FSA, Deputy Administrator for Field Operations (DAFO), shall begin counting requests no later than July 2, 2021. * * * ■ 8. Section 1205.29 is revised to read as follows: § 1205.29 Reporting results. (a) Each county FSA office shall prepare and transmit to the state FSA office, by July 12, 2021, a written report of the number of eligible producers who requested the conduct of a referendum, and the number of ineligible persons who made requests. (b) DAFO shall prepare, by July 12, 2021, a written report of the number of eligible importers who requested the conduct of a referendum, and the number of ineligible persons who made requests. (c) Each state FSA office shall, by July 12, 2021, forward all county reports to DAFO. By July 19, 2021, DAFO shall forward its report of the total number of eligible producers and importers that requested a continuance referendum, through the sign-up period, to the Deputy Administrator, Cotton and Tobacco Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, 100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406. Bruce Summers, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2021–07989 Filed 4–16–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P NATIONAL CREDIT UNION ADMINISTRATION 12 CFR Part 702 [NCUA–2021–0046] RIN 3133–AF19 Temporary Regulatory Relief in Response to COVID–19—Prompt Corrective Action National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). ACTION: Interim final rule; request for comments. AGENCY: The NCUA Board (Board) is making two temporary changes to its SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 prompt corrective action (PCA) regulations to help ensure that federally insured credit unions (FICUs) remain operational and liquid during the COVID–19 pandemic. The first amends these regulations to temporarily enable the Board to issue an order applicable to all FICUs to waive the earningsretention requirement for any FICU that is classified as adequately capitalized. The second modifies these regulations with respect to the specific documentation required for net worth restoration plans (NWRPs) for FICUs that become undercapitalized. These temporary modifications will be in place until March 31, 2022. This rule is substantially similar to an interim final rule that the Board published on May 28, 2020. DATES: This rule is effective on April 19, 2021. Comments must be received on or before June 18, 2021. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments, identified by RIN 3133– AF19, by any of the following methods. Please send comments by one method only. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments for Docket #NCUA–2021–0046. • Fax: (703) 518–6319. Include ‘‘[Your Name]—Comments on Temporary Regulatory Relief Rule in Response to COVID–19—Prompt Corrective Action’’ in the transmittal. • Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Address to Melane Conyers-Ausbrooks, Secretary of the Board, National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314– 3428. Public Inspection: You may view all public comments on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https:// www.regulations.gov as submitted, except for those we cannot post for technical reasons. The NCUA will not edit or remove any identifying or contact information from the public comments submitted. Due to social distancing measures in effect, the usual opportunity to inspect paper copies of comments in the NCUA’s law library is not currently available. After social distancing measures are relaxed, visitors may make an appointment to review paper copies by calling (703) 518–6540 or emailing OGCMail@ncua.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Policy and Analysis: Lisa Roberson, Director, Policy Division, Office of Examination and Insurance, at (703) 518–6360; Legal: Marvin Shaw, Senior Staff Attorney and Thomas Zells, Senior Staff Attorney, Office of General Counsel, at (703) 518–6540; or by mail E:\FR\FM\19APR1.SGM 19APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 73 (Monday, April 19, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 20255-20258]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-07989]


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

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 1205

[Doc. No. AMS-CN-20-0097]


Cotton Research and Promotion Program: Procedures for Conduct of 
Sign-Up Period

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Department of Agriculture 
(USDA).

ACTION: Direct final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This direct final rule amends the rules and regulations 
regarding the procedures for the conduct of a sign-up period for 
eligible cotton producers and importers to request a continuance 
referendum on the 1991 amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion 
Order (Order) provided for in the Cotton Research and Promotion Act 
(Act) amendments of 1990. The amendments update various dates, name 
changes, addresses, and make other administrative changes.

DATES: This direct rule is effective June 18, 2021, without further 
action or notice, unless significant adverse comment is received by May 
19, 2021. If significant adverse comment is received, AMS will publish 
a timely withdrawal of the amendment in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted to the addresses specified 
below. All comments will be made available to the public. Please do not 
include personally identifiable information (such as name, address, or 
other contact information) or confidential business information that 
you do not want publicly disclosed. All comments may be posted on the 
internet and can be retrieved by most internet search engines. Comments 
may be submitted anonymously.
    Comments, identified by AMS-CN-20-0097, may be submitted 
electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. Please follow the instructions for submitting 
comments. In addition, comments may be submitted by mail or hand 
delivery to Cotton Research and Promotion, Cotton

[[Page 20256]]

and Tobacco Program, AMS, USDA, 100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 101, 
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406. Comments should be submitted in 
triplicate. All comments received will be made available for public 
inspection at Cotton and Tobacco Program, AMS, USDA, 100 Riverside 
Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406. A copy of this 
document may be found at: www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shethir M. Riva, Director, Research 
and Promotion, Cotton and Tobacco Program, AMS, USDA, 100 Riverside 
Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406; telephone (540) 
361-2726, facsimile (540) 361-1199, or email at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

    The 1991 amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion Order (7 
CFR part 1205) were implemented following the July 1991 referendum. The 
amendments were provided for in the Cotton Research and Promotion Act 
(7 U.S.C. 2101-2118) amendments of 1990. These amendments provided for: 
(1) Importer representation on the Cotton Board by an appropriate 
number of persons, to be determined by USDA, who import cotton or 
cotton products into the U.S., and whom USDA selects from nominations 
submitted by importer organizations certified by USDA; (2) assessments 
levied on imported cotton and cotton products at a rate determined in 
the same manner as for U.S. cotton; (3) increasing the amount USDA can 
be reimbursed for the conduct of a referendum from $200,000 to 
$300,000; (4) reimbursing government agencies that assist in 
administering the collection of assessments on imported cotton and 
cotton products; and (5) terminating the right of producers to demand a 
refund of assessments.
    On December 18, 2020, USDA issued a determination based on its 
review (85 FR 82426) not to conduct a referendum regarding the 1991 
amendments to the Order; however, the Act provides that USDA shall 
nevertheless conduct a referendum at the request of 10 percent or more 
of the total number of eligible producers and importers that voted in 
the most recent referendum. Furthermore, the Act provides for a sign-up 
period during which eligible cotton producers and importers may request 
that USDA conduct a referendum on continuation of the 1991 amendments 
to the Order.
    Pursuant to section 8(c) of the Act, USDA will provide all eligible 
Upland cotton producers and importers of cotton and cotton-containing 
products an opportunity to sign up and request a continuance referendum 
regarding the 1991 amendments to the Order. Eligible cotton producers 
would be provided the opportunity to sign-up to request a continuance 
referendum in person at the county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office 
where their farm is located. If a producer's land is in more than one 
county, the producer shall sign-up at the county office where FSA 
administratively maintains and processes the producer's farm records. 
Producers may alternatively request a sign-up form in the mail from the 
same office or through the USDA, AMS website: https://www.ams.usda.gov/Cotton and return it to their FSA office or return their signed request 
forms to USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Cotton and Tobacco 
Program, Attention: Cotton Sign-Up, P.O. Box 23181, Washington, DC 
20077-8249.
    Eligible importers would be provided the opportunity to sign up to 
request a continuance referendum by downloading a form from the AMS 
website, or request a sign-up form by contacting [email protected] or 
(540) 361-2726, and return their signed request forms to USDA, 
Agricultural Marketing Service, Cotton and Tobacco Program, Attention: 
Cotton Sign-Up, P.O. Box 23181, Washington, DC 20077-8249.
    Such request must be accompanied by a copy of the U.S. Customs and 
Border Protection form 7501 showing payment of a cotton assessment 
(also known as the ``cotton fee'') for calendar year 2020. Requests and 
supporting documentation should be mailed to USDA, AMS, Cotton and 
Tobacco Program, Attention: Cotton Sign-Up, P.O. Box 23181, Washington, 
DC 20077-8249.
    The sign-up period will be from June 21, 2021, until July 2, 2021. 
Producer and importer forms shall only be counted if received by USDA 
before July 2, 2021.
    Section 8(c)(2) of the Act provides that if USDA determines, based 
on the results of the sign-up, that 10 percent (i.e., 4,622) or more of 
the total number of eligible producers and importers that voted in the 
most recent 1991 referendum request a continuance referendum on the 
1991 amendments, a referendum will be held within 12 months after the 
end of the sign-up period. In counting such requests, however, not more 
than 20 percent may be from producers from any one state or from 
importers of cotton. For example, when counting the requests, the 
Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) Cotton and Tobacco Program would 
determine the total number of valid requests from all cotton-producing 
states and from importers. Not more than 20 percent of the total 
requests will be counted from any one state or from importers toward 
reaching the 10 percent or 4,622 total signatures required to call for 
a referendum. If USDA determines that 10 percent or more of the number 
of producers and importers who voted in the most recent referendum 
favor a continuance referendum, a referendum will be held.
    This direct final rule amends the procedures for the conduct of the 
current sign-up period. The current rules and regulations provide for 
sections on definitions, supervision of the sign-up period, 
eligibility, participation in the sign-up period, counting requests, 
reporting results, and instructions and forms.
    In Sec. Sec.  1205.20, 1205.26, and 1205.27, references to 
``calendar year 2014'' are revised to read ``calendar year 2020.'' 
Also, in Sec.  1205.26, eligible persons are further defined to ensure 
that all producers that planted cotton during 2020 will be eligible to 
participate in the sign-up period, and in Sec.  1205.26(2), the rule 
updates and reflects the elimination of the $2.00 per line item 
importer de minimis (81 FR 38893; June 15, 2016) and that any importer 
of cotton and cotton-containing products during the representative 
period may participate. In Sec. Sec.  1205.27, 1205.28, and 1205.29 
sign-up period conduct dates, FSA reporting dates, and mailing 
addresses have been updated.
    A 30-day comment period is determined to be appropriate because 
these eligibility and participation requirements are substantially the 
same as the eligibility and participation requirements that were used 
in previous referenda and sign-up periods; participation is voluntary; 
and this rule, if adopted, should be made effective as soon as possible 
in order to conduct the sign-up at the earliest possible dates.

B. Regulatory Analyses

Executive Order 13175

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

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is

[[Page 20257]]

necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits 
(including potential economic, environmental, public health, and safety 
effects; distributive impacts; and equity). Executive Order 13563 
emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, 
reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. This 
action falls within a category of regulatory actions that the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) exempted from Executive Order 12866 review.

Executive Order 12988

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. It 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 12 of the Act, any 
person subject to an order may file with the Secretary of Agriculture 
(Secretary) a petition stating that the order, any provision of the 
plan, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in 
accordance with law and requesting a modification of the order or to be 
exempted therefrom. Such person is afforded the opportunity for a 
hearing on the petition. After the hearing, the Secretary would rule on 
the petition. The Act provides that the District Court of the United 
States in any district in which the person is an inhabitant, or has his 
principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review the Secretary's 
ruling, provided a complaint is filed within 20 days from the date of 
the entry of the Secretary's ruling.

Regulatory Flexibility Act and Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 
601-612), AMS has examined the economic impact of this rule on small 
entities. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the 
scale of businesses subject to such action so that small businesses 
will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. The Small Business 
Administration (SBA) defines, in 13 CFR 121.201, small agricultural 
producers as those having annual receipts of no more than $1,000,000, 
and small ``Other Farm Product Raw Material Merchant Wholesalers'' 
(cotton merchants/importers) as having no more than 100 employees. The 
Cotton Board estimates 12,000 producers and 40,000 importers are 
subject to the rules and regulations issued pursuant to the Cotton 
Research and Promotion Order. According to the United States Census 
Bureau's ``2016 Survey of SUSB Annual Data Tables by Establishment 
Industry,'' most importers are considered small entities as defined by 
the SBA. The majority of these producers and importers are small 
businesses under the criteria established by the SBA.
    There are no Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict 
with this rule.
    This rule is voluntary and only affects producers and importers 
wishing to participate in the sign-up under the Cotton Research and 
Promotion Order. Only those eligible persons who are in favor of 
conducting a referendum would need to participate in the sign-up 
period. Of the 46,220 total valid ballots received in the 1991 
referendum, 27,879, or 60 percent, favored the amendments to the Order, 
and 18,341, or 40 percent, opposed the amendments to the Order. This 
rule provides those persons who are not in favor of the continuance of 
the Order amendments an opportunity to request a continuance 
referendum.
    The eligibility and participation requirements for producers and 
importers are substantially the same as the rules that established the 
eligibility and participation requirements for the 1991 referendum and 
previous sign-up periods. In the most recent sign-up in 2015, USDA 
announced its determination not to conduct a continuance referendum 
because it received only 46 requests, an insufficient number of 
signatures to hold another referendum (80 FR 76654; December 10, 2015).
    The amendments in this action update various dates, name changes, 
and addresses, and make other miscellaneous administrative changes.
    The sign-up procedures do not impose a substantial burden or have a 
significant impact on persons subject to the Order because 
participation is not mandatory, not all persons subject to the Order 
are expected to participate, and USDA will determine producer and 
importer eligibility. The information collection requirements under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act are minimal.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The information collections in this rule will be carried out under 
the OMB Control Number 0581-0093. This rule does not add to the overall 
burden currently approved by OMB and assigned OMB Control Number 0581-
0093 under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. Chapter 35). This OMB Control Number is referenced in Sec.  
1205.541 of the regulations.
    A 30-day comment period is provided to comment on the changes to 
the Cotton Board Rules and Regulations herein.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1205

    Advertising, Agricultural research, Cotton, Marketing agreements, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, AMS amends 7 CFR part 1205 
as follows:

PART 1205--COTTON RESEARCH AND PROMOTION

0
1. The authority citation for part 1205 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 2101-2118; 7 U.S.C 7401.


0
2. Section 1205.20 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  1205.20  Representative period.

    The term representative period means the 2020 calendar year.


0
3. In Sec.  1205.26, paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) are revised to read as 
follows:


Sec.  1205.26  Eligibility.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (1) Any person who was engaged in the production of Upland cotton 
during calendar year 2020; and
    (2) Any person who was an importer of Upland cotton during calendar 
year 2020.
* * * * *


0
4. Section 1205.27 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  1205.27  Participation in the sign-up period.

    The sign-up period will be from June 21, 2021, until July 2, 2021. 
Those persons who favor the conduct of a continuance referendum and who 
wish to request that Department of Agriculture (USDA) conduct such a 
referendum may do so by submitting such request in accordance with this 
section. All requests must be received by the appropriate USDA office 
by July 2, 2021.
    (a) Before the sign-up period begins, FSA shall establish a list of 
known, eligible, Upland cotton producers in the county that it serves 
during the representative period, and AMS shall also establish a list 
of known, eligible Upland cotton importers.
    (b) Before the start of the sign-up period, Agricultural Marketing 
Service (AMS) will post sign-up information, including sign-up forms, 
on its website: https://www.ams.usda.gov/Cotton. Importers who favor the 
conduct of a continuance referendum can download

[[Page 20258]]

a form from the website, or request a sign-up form by contacting 
[email protected] or (540) 361-2726 and one will be provided to them. 
Importers may participate in the sign-up period by submitting a signed, 
written request for a continuance referendum, along with a copy of a 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection form 7501 showing payment of a 
cotton assessment for calendar year 2020. The USDA, AMS, Cotton and 
Tobacco Program, Attention: Cotton Sign-Up, P.O. Box 23181, Washington, 
DC 20077-8249 shall be considered the polling place for all cotton 
importers. All requests and supporting documents must be received by 
July 2, 2021.
    (c) Each person on the county FSA office lists may participate in 
the sign-up period. Eligible producers must date and sign their name on 
the ``County FSA Office Sign-up Sheet.'' A person whose name does not 
appear on the county FSA office list may participate in the sign-up 
period. Such person must be identified on FSA-578 during the 
representative period or provide documentation that demonstrates that 
the person was a cotton producer during the representative period. 
Cotton producers not listed on the FSA-578 shall submit at least one 
sales receipt for cotton they planted during the representative period. 
Cotton producers must make requests to the county FSA office where the 
producer's farm is located. If the producer's land is in more than one 
county, the producer shall make request at the county office where FSA 
administratively maintains and processes the producer's farm records. 
It is the responsibility of the person to provide the information 
needed by the county FSA office to determine eligibility. It is not the 
responsibility of the county FSA office to obtain this information. If 
any person whose name does not appear on the county FSA office list 
fails to provide at least one sales receipt for the cotton they 
produced during the representative period, the county FSA office shall 
determine that such person is ineligible to participate in the sign-up 
period, and shall note ``ineligible'' in the remarks section next to 
the person's name on the county FSA office sign-up sheet. In lieu of 
personally appearing at a county FSA office, eligible producers may 
request a sign-up form from the county FSA office where the producer's 
farm is located. If the producer's land is in more than one county, the 
producer shall make the request for the sign-up form at the county 
office where FSA administratively maintains and processes the 
producer's farm records. Such request must be accompanied by a copy of 
at least one sales receipt for cotton they produced during the 
representative period. The appropriate FSA office must receive all 
completed forms and supporting documentation by July 2, 2021.


0
7. In Sec.  1205.28, the first sentence is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  1205.28  Counting.

    County FSA offices and FSA, Deputy Administrator for Field 
Operations (DAFO), shall begin counting requests no later than July 2, 
2021. * * *


0
8. Section 1205.29 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  1205.29  Reporting results.

    (a) Each county FSA office shall prepare and transmit to the state 
FSA office, by July 12, 2021, a written report of the number of 
eligible producers who requested the conduct of a referendum, and the 
number of ineligible persons who made requests.
    (b) DAFO shall prepare, by July 12, 2021, a written report of the 
number of eligible importers who requested the conduct of a referendum, 
and the number of ineligible persons who made requests.
    (c) Each state FSA office shall, by July 12, 2021, forward all 
county reports to DAFO. By July 19, 2021, DAFO shall forward its report 
of the total number of eligible producers and importers that requested 
a continuance referendum, through the sign-up period, to the Deputy 
Administrator, Cotton and Tobacco Program, Agricultural Marketing 
Service, USDA, 100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, 
Virginia 22406.

Bruce Summers,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-07989 Filed 4-16-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P