Blueberry Promotion, Research and Information Order; Change in Membership, Nomination Procedures and Term of Office, 38590-38594 [2021-15161]

Download as PDF 38590 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 86, No. 138 Thursday, July 22, 2021 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. Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 1406–S, Stop 0244, Washington, DC 20250–0244; telephone: (202) 720–5976; or electronic mail: Jeanette.Palmer@ usda.gov. This proposal is issued under the Order (7 CFR part 1218). The Order is authorized under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act) (7 U.S.C. 7411–7425). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 1218 Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 [Document Number AMS–SC–21–0022] Blueberry Promotion, Research and Information Order; Change in Membership, Nomination Procedures and Term of Office Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: This proposal invites comments on changes in membership of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (Council) under the Blueberry Promotion, Research and Information Order (Order), by removing the firsthandler member and alternate position and adding two exporter member and alternate positions. Conforming changes would be made to the nomination procedures. In addition, the proposal would allow members and alternates to remain in office until a successor is appointed. The Council administers the Order with oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). DATES: Comments must be received by September 20, 2021. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this proposed rule. All comments must be submitted through the Federal e-rulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov and should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. All comments submitted in response to this proposed rule will be included in the rulemaking record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or entities submitting comments will be made public on the internet at http:// www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeanette Palmer, Marketing Specialist, Promotion and Economics Division, lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:30 Jul 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules and promoting flexibility. This action falls within a category of regulatory actions that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) exempted from Executive Order 12866 review. Executive Order 13175 This action has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. AMS has assessed the impact of this proposed rule on Indian tribes and determined that this rule would not have tribal implications that require consultation under Executive Order 13175. AMS hosts a quarterly teleconference with tribal leaders where matters of mutual interest regarding the marketing of agricultural products are discussed. Information about the proposed changes to the regulations will be shared during an upcoming quarterly call, and tribal leaders will be informed about the proposed revisions to the regulation and the opportunity to submit comments. AMS will work with the USDA Office of Tribal Relations to ensure meaningful consultation is provided as needed with regards to this change to the Order. Executive Order 12988 This proposal has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Justice Reform. It is not intended to have retroactive effect. Section 524 of the 1996 Act (7 U.S.C. 7423) provides that it shall not affect or preempt any other Federal or State law authorizing promotion or research relating to an agricultural commodity. Under section 519 of the 1996 Act (7 U.S.C. 7418), a person subject to an order may file a written petition with USDA stating that an order, any provision of an order, or any obligation imposed in connection with an order, is not established in accordance with the law, and request a modification of an order or an exemption from an order. Any petition filed challenging an order, any provision of an order, or any obligation imposed in connection with an order, shall be filed within two years after the effective date of an order, provision, or obligation subject to challenge in the petition. The petitioner will have the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. Thereafter, USDA will issue a ruling on the petition. The 1996 Act provides that the district court of the United States for any district in which the petitioner resides or conducts business shall have the jurisdiction to review a final ruling on the petition, if the petitioner files a complaint for that purpose not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of USDA’s final ruling. Background This proposal invites comments on changes in the Council’s membership under the Order. The Council administers the Order with oversight by USDA. Under the program, assessments are collected from domestic producers and importers and used for research and promotion projects designed to increase the demand for highbush blueberries. This proposed action would remove the first-handler member and alternate position and add two exporter member and alternate positions. This would help ensure that the Council reflects the distribution of domestic blueberry production and imports into the United States (U.S.) Conforming changes would be made to the nomination procedures. This proposal would also allow members and alternates to remain in office until a successor is appointed. This change would permit the Council to continue administration of the Order should appointments be delayed beyond the specified term of office. The two actions were unanimously E:\FR\FM\22JYP1.SGM 22JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 138 / Thursday, July 22, 2021 / Proposed Rules recommended by the Council at its meetings on November 18, 2020 and June 9, 2021. Change in Membership Section 1218.40(a) of the Order currently specifies that the Council be comprised of no more than 20 members and alternates appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary). Twelve of the 20 members and alternates are producers. One producer member and alternate are from each of the following regions within the U.S.: Region #1 Western Region; Region #2 Midwest Region; Region #3 Northeast Region; and Region #4 Southern Region. One producer member and alternate are from each of the top eight blueberry producing states, based upon the average of the total tons produced over the previous three years. Currently, these states include California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington. Of the remaining eight Council members and alternates, four members and alternates are importers. Two members and alternates must be an exporter, defined in § 1218.40(a)(4) as a blueberry producer currently shipping blueberries into the U.S. from the two largest foreign blueberry production areas, based on a three-year average (currently Chile and Canada). One member and alternate must be a first handler, defined in § 1218.40(a)(5) as a U.S. based independent or cooperative organization which is a producer/ shipper of domestic blueberries. Finally, one member and alternate must represent the public. The public member representation on research and promotion boards is optional as provided for in the 1996 Act. 38591 Section 1218.40(b) of the Order specifies that, at least once every five years, the Council will review the geographical distribution of the production of blueberries in the United States and the quantity of imports. The review is conducted through an audit of state crop production figures and Council assessment records. If warranted, the Council will recommend to the Secretary that its membership be altered to reflect changes in the geographical distribution of domestic blueberry production and the quantity of imports. The Council met on November 18, 2020 and then again on June 9, 2021, to review domestic production data, import data, and assessment data for the past three years (2017–2019). This data is summarized in Table 1 below: TABLE 1—U.S. AND IMPORT QUANTITIES AND ASSESSMENT DATA U.S. crop— utilized production 1 (1,000 lbs) Year 2017 ................................................................................................................. 2018 ................................................................................................................. 2019 ................................................................................................................. 3-year average ................................................................................................. 512,740 562,300 673,050 582,697 Imports (1,000 lbs) 2 Domestic (U.S.) assessments 3 Import assessments 3 $3,968,438 4,263,177 5,172,055 4,467,890 $3,577,559 4,229,333 5,040,722 4,282,538 398,190 473,073 579,181 483,481 Sources: 1 NASS; 2 U.S. Customs and Border Protection; 3 Council Financial Audit Records 2019–2020. As shown in Table 1, the quantity of imported blueberries, as well as import assessments collected, has increased in recent years. In that time, there has been a substantial increase of imported product from both Peru and Mexico, with Peru exports into the U.S. surpassing Canada in 2019, as shown in Table 2. TABLE 2—QUANTITY OF BLUEBERRIES FROM FOREIGN PRODUCTION AREAS Quantity (1,000 lbs) Foreign blueberry production areas shipping into the United States 2017 Chile ................................................................................................................. Canada ............................................................................................................ Peru ................................................................................................................. Mexico .............................................................................................................. Argentina .......................................................................................................... All Other Countries .......................................................................................... 162,932 111,979 41,516 54,212 26,099 1,451 2018 181,951 110,755 82,273 72,537 23,581 1,976 2019 164,872 142,425 154,288 93,840 22,130 1,627 3-year average 169,918 121,720 92,692 73,530 23,937 1,685 lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In 2015, the Council, after reviewing import and domestic production and assessment data, recommended changes to the membership; one such change included adding an additional exporter seat. At that time, data indicated considerable increased imports from Chile. The addition of the second exporter member allowed exporters from both Chile and Canada, the two countries shipping the greatest volume VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:30 Jul 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 of blueberries into the U.S., to be represented on the Council. The Council took a similar approach when reviewing and recommending this proposed change in membership. It recognized the significant volume of imports from Peru and Mexico, discussing the need to add representatives from those production areas to the Council. Given the decision to try to maintain its current size and based on the data reviewed, it PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 concluded it was important to have foreign producer representation similar to the structure of the state producer representation. Therefore, it recommended the addition of two exporter members. Four exporter member positions would provide the four largest foreign producing areas importing into the U.S., which represents ninety-five percent of the total volume of blueberries imported E:\FR\FM\22JYP1.SGM 22JYP1 lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 38592 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 138 / Thursday, July 22, 2021 / Proposed Rules into the U.S., a voice on the Council. This would realign the Council’s membership to better reflect the distribution of domestic production and the quantity of imports into the U.S. The Council conducts nominations two out of every three years. The Council is currently conducting nominations for seven member and alternate positions (year-one cycle) whose three-year term of office begins January 1, 2022, ending December 31, 2024. These include the four regional producer members, one exporter member, one importer member, the public member, and respective alternates. The Council will conduct nominations in 2022 for 13 member and alternate positions (year-two cycle) whose three-year term of office begins January 1, 2023, ending December 31, 2025. This would include one member from each of the top eight producing states, three importer members, one exporter member, the first-handler member, and respective alternates. To help ensure a smooth transition, while aligning with the Council’s nomination schedule, the term of office for the recommended additional exporter member positions would begin January 1, 2023. Therefore, solicitation for the two additional exporter position nominees would be included in the nominations scheduled to be conducted in 2022. Since the first-handler member position is being replaced by one of the exporter positions, nominations for this position would not be conducted during the 2022 solicitation period. The firsthandler member and alternate member positions would terminate December 31, 2022. USDA has recommended that the initial term of office for the two additional exporter positions would be two years, instead of the prescribed three-year term of office for all Council member and alternate positions. The additional two exporter member and alternate term of office would begin January 1, 2023, ending December 31, 2024. As noted above, the Council conducts nominations two out of every three years, with seven positions to be filled in year one, and thirteen in year two. With including the nominations for the exporter positions in the year-two cycle, total positions to be filled would be 14 of the 21-member Council. Having an initial two-year term would align these two additional exporter positions with the year-one nomination cycle, reestablishing the distribution between the two nomination cycles. Year-one nomination cycle would include solicitation for nine positions: Four regional producer member positions, one importer member position, three VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:30 Jul 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 exporter member positions, one public member position, and respective alternates. The year-two nomination cycle would include solicitation for 12 positions: One member from each of the top eight producing states, three importer members, one exporter member, and respective alternates. The 2022, 20-member Council would consist of one producer member from each of the four regions (Western, Midwest, Northeast, Southern), one producer member from each of the top eight producing states, four importer members, two exporter members, firsthandler member, public member, and respective alternates. The 2023 and subsequent 21-member Council would consist of one producer member from each of the four regions (Western, Midwest, Northeast, Southern), one producer member from each of the top eight producing states, four importer members, four exporter members, one public member, and respective alternates. 7 CRF 1218.40 would be revised accordingly. Nomination Procedures Section 1218.41 establishes the procedures for nominations to obtain Council nominees for appointment by the Secretary. Section 1218.41(c) provides for the nomination process for importer, exporter, first-handler, and public member and alternate positions. Section 1218.41(d) requires producer, handlers, and importer nominees to be compliant with the order provisions regarding payment of assessments and filing of reports. With the replacement of the first-handler position with two exporter positions, references to firsthandler member would be removed from these sections. Term of Office Section 1218.42 provides that Council nominations and appointments will take place in two out of every three years, with each term of office ending on December 31, and new terms of office beginning January 1. The Council recommended allowing members and their alternates to remain in office until a successor is appointed. Currently, if successors are not appointed by the January 1 date, those positions remain vacant until the successors are named. The Order requires a minimum of 11 members to hold a Council meeting. For the nomination year with 12 positions expiring, if not appointed by the January 1 start date, the Council would be unable to meet until such appointments were made. This could cause a lapse in the Council’s ability to properly administer the provisions of the Order. Allowing members to serve until their PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 successor is appointed would allow the Council to continue administration should appointments be delayed beyond the specified term of office. This change is similar to authority provided for in other research and promotion orders. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601– 612), AMS is required to examine the impact of the proposed rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has considered the economic impact of this action on such entities. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions so that small businesses will not be disproportionately burdened. The Small Business Administration defines, in 13 CFR part 121, small agricultural producers as those having annual receipts of no more than $1,000,000 and small agricultural service firms (first handlers and importers) as those having annual receipts of no more than $30 million. There are approximately 1,547 domestic producers, 71 first handlers and 271 importers of highbush blueberries covered under the program. Dividing the highbush blueberry crop value for 2019, $919 million,1 by the number of producers (1,547) yields an average annual producer revenue estimate of $594,053. It is estimated that in 2019, about 99 percent of the first handlers shipped under $30 million worth of highbush blueberries. Based on 2019 U.S. Border and Customs (Customs) data, it is estimated that over 99 percent of the importers shipped under $30 million worth of highbush blueberries. Based on the foregoing, the majority of producers, first handlers and importers may be classified as small entities. We do not have information concerning the number of exporters and their size. Comments providing any information or data concerning exporters are requested. Regarding value of the commodity, as mentioned above, based on 2019 NASS data, the value of the domestic highbush blueberry crop was about $919 million. According to Customs data, the value of 2019 imports was about $1.04 billion. It is not anticipated that this action would impose additional costs on industry members. Eligible producers, importers and exporters interested in serving on the Council would have to complete a background questionnaire. Those requirements are addressed later in this proposal. 1 Noncitrus E:\FR\FM\22JYP1.SGM Fruits and Nuts 2019 Summary. 22JYP1 lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 138 / Thursday, July 22, 2021 / Proposed Rules This proposal invites comments on revising §§ 1218.40, 1218.41 and 1218.42 of the Order regarding Council membership, nominations, and term of office, respectively. The Council administers the Order with oversight by USDA. Under the program, assessments are collected from domestic producers and importers and used for research and promotion projects designed to increase the demand for highbush blueberries. The proposed action would remove the first-handler and alternate position and add two exporter member and alternate positions. This would help ensure that the Council reflects the distribution of domestic blueberry production and imports into the U.S. Conforming changes would be made to the nomination procedures. This proposal would also allow members and alternates to remain in office until a successor is appointed. This change would allow the Council to continue administration of the Order should appointments be delayed beyond the specified term of office. Authority for this action is provided in §§ 1218.40(b) and 1218.47(m) of the Order and section 7414 of the 1996 Act. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the information collection and recordkeeping requirements that are imposed by the Order have been approved previously under OMB control number 0581–0093 and 0505– 0001. Eligible producers, importers, exporters, first-handler, and public members interested in serving on the Council are required to complete a background questionnaire (Form AD– 755) to verify their eligibility. Adding an exporter member and alternate member to the Council would require four additional exporters to submit background forms (AD–755) to USDA, once every three years, in order to be considered for appointment to the Council. The Secretary requires two names to be submitted for each open seat on the Council. The public reporting burden is estimated to increase the total burden hours by less than one hour. This additional burden would be included in the existing information collection approved for use under OMB control number 0581–0093. In addition, serving on the Council is optional, and the burden of submitting the background form would be offset by the benefits of additional representation on the Council. The previously approved background questionnaire would be revised eliminating the first-handler section. It would impose an increase of the total reporting and recordkeeping burden hours by less than one hour on VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:30 Jul 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 blueberry producers, importers, or exporters. As with all Federal promotion programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies. USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this proposed rule. Regarding alternatives, the Council has been discussing its membership and potential changes to reflect the distribution of domestic production and imports for the past few years. The Council’s Executive Committee met to formulate and consider various options. One option was to replace two of the four regional producer positions, with the exporter positions, reallocating the two regions as East and West, with one position for each region. Another option considered was to eliminate the firsthandler and public member positions; reallocate the regions to East and West, with one position for each region; and add two importer positions and two exporter positions. The Council also considered maintaining the status quo. It concluded, upon reviewing the domestic production and import statistics, that it was important to have foreign producer representation from the top four countries importing highbush blueberries into the U.S. represented on the Council. Thus, the Council recommended revising the Order to remove the first-handler and alternate position and add two exporter member and alternate positions. Regarding outreach efforts, this action was discussed by the Council at meetings in October 2018, as well as by the Council and committees in 2019 and 2020. The Council met in November 2020 and in June 2021 and unanimously made its recommendation. All of the Council’s meetings are open to the public and interested persons are invited to participate and express their views. 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 or citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. We have performed this initial RFA analysis regarding the impact of the proposed action on small entities and we invite comments concerning the potential effects of this action. USDA has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with and would effectuate the purpose of the 1996 Act. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 38593 A 60-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposal. All written comments received in response to this proposed rule by the date specified will be considered prior to finalizing this action. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1218 Administrative practice and procedure, Advertising, Blueberry promotion, Consumer information, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 1218 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 1218—BLUEBERRY PROMOTION, RESEARCH, AND INFORMATION ORDER 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 1218 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7411–7425; 7 U.S.C. 7401. 2. In § 1218.40, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows: ■ § 1218.40 Establishment and membership. (a) Establishment of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. There is hereby established a U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, hereinafter called the Council, shall be comprised of no more than 20 members and alternates for the 2022 Council, and comprised of no more than 21 members and alternates for the 2023 Council and each subsequent Council, appointed by the Secretary from nominations as follows: (1) The 2022 Council shall be comprised of: (i) One producer member and alternate from each of the following regions: (A) Region #1 Western Region (all states from the Pacific east to the Rockies): Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. (B) Region #2 Midwest Region (all states east of the Rockies to the Great Lakes and south to the Kansas/Missouri/ Kentucky state line): Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. (C) Region #3 Northeast Region (all states east of the Great Lakes and North of the North Carolina/Tennessee state line): Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, DC, and West Virginia. E:\FR\FM\22JYP1.SGM 22JYP1 lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 38594 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 138 / Thursday, July 22, 2021 / Proposed Rules (D) Region #4 Southern Region (all states south of the Virginia/Kentucky/ Missouri/Kansas state line and east of the Rockies): Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. (ii) One producer member and alternate from each of the top eight blueberry producing states, based on the average of the total tons produced over the previous three years. Average tonnage will be based upon production and assessment figures generated by the Council. (iii) Four importers and alternates. (iv) Two exporters and alternates will be filled by foreign blueberry producers currently shipping blueberries into the United States from the two largest foreign blueberry production areas, respectively, based on a three-year average. (v) One first-handler member and alternate shall be filled by a United States based independent or cooperative organization which is a producer/ shipper of domestic blueberries. (vi) One public member and alternate. The public member and alternate public member may not be a blueberry producer, handler, importer, exporter, or have a financial interest in the production, sales, marketing or distribution of blueberries. (2) The 2023 and subsequent Council shall be composed of: (i) One producer member and alternate from each of the following regions: (A) Region #1 Western Region (all states from the Pacific east to the Rockies): Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. (B) Region #2 Midwest Region (all states east of the Rockies to the Great Lakes and south to the Kansas/Missouri/ Kentucky state line): Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. (C) Region #3 Northeast Region (all states east of the Great Lakes and North of the North Carolina/Tennessee state line): Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, DC, and West Virginia. (D) Region #4 Southern Region (all states south of the Virginia/Kentucky/ Missouri/Kansas state line and east of the Rockies): Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:30 Jul 21, 2021 Jkt 253001 (ii) One producer member and alternate from each of the top eight blueberry producing states, based on the average of the total tons produced over the previous three years. Average tonnage will be based upon production and assessment figures generated by the Council. (iii) Four importers and alternates. (iv) Four exporters and alternates will be filled by foreign blueberry producers currently shipping blueberries into the United States from the four largest foreign blueberry production areas, respectively, based on a three-year average. (v) One public member and alternate. The public member and alternate public member may not be a blueberry producer, handler, importer, exporter, or have a financial interest in the production, sales, marketing or distribution of blueberries. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 1218.41, paragraphs (c) and (d) are revised to read as follows: § 1218.41 Nominations and appointments. * * * * * (c) Nominations for the importer, exporter, and public member positions will be made by the Council. Two nominees for each member and each alternate position will be recommended to the Secretary for consideration. Other qualified persons interested in serving in these positions but not recommended by the Council will be designated by the Council as additional nominees for consideration by the Secretary. (d) Producer and importer nominees must be in compliance with the Order’s provisions regarding payment of assessments and filing of reports. Further, producers and importers must produce or import, respectively, 2,000 pounds or more of highbush blueberries annually. * * * * * ■ 4. Section 1218.42 is revised to read as follows: § 1218.42 Term of office. Council members and alternates will serve for a term of three years and be able to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. A Council member may serve as an alternate during the years the member is ineligible for a member position. When the Council is first established, the state representatives, first-handler member, and their respective alternates will be assigned initial terms of three years. Regional representatives, the importer member, the exporter member, public member, and their alternates will serve an initial term of two years. Thereafter, each of these positions will carry a full PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 three-year term. Council nominations and appointments will take place in two out of every three years. Each term of office will end on December 31, with new terms of office beginning on January 1. Council members and alternates shall serve during the term of office for which they have been appointed and qualified, and until their successors are appointed. Erin Morris, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2021–15161 Filed 7–21–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 430 [EERE–2017–BT–STD–0048] RIN 1904–AE85 Energy Conservation Program: Definition of Showerhead Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking and public meeting. AGENCY: In this notice of proposed rulemaking (‘‘NOPR’’), the U.S. Department of Energy (‘‘DOE’’) proposes to revise the current definition of ‘‘showerhead’’ adopted in the December 16, 2020 final rule (‘‘December 2020 Final Rule’’) by reinstating the prior definition of ‘‘showerhead.’’ This reinstatement of the prior definition is consistent with the purposes of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (‘‘EPCA’’). Further, DOE has tentatively determined that, in reinstating the prior definition of ‘‘showerhead,’’ all showerheads within a product containing multiple showerheads will be considered part of a single showerhead for determining compliance with the 2.5 gallons per minute (‘‘gpm’’) standard. In addition, DOE proposes to remove the current definition of ‘‘body spray’’ adopted in the December 2020 Final Rule. Finally, DOE does not propose any changes to the definition of ‘‘safety shower showerhead’’ adopted in the December 2020 Final Rule. DOE invites comment on all aspects of this proposal, including data and information to assist in evaluating whether the definition of ‘‘showerhead’’ from the October 2013 Final Rule should be reinstated, and announces a webinar to collect comments and data on its proposal. DATES: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\22JYP1.SGM 22JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 138 (Thursday, July 22, 2021)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 38590-38594]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-15161]


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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.

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Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 138 / Thursday, July 22, 2021 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 38590]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 1218

[Document Number AMS-SC-21-0022]


Blueberry Promotion, Research and Information Order; Change in 
Membership, Nomination Procedures and Term of Office

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: This proposal invites comments on changes in membership of the 
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (Council) under the Blueberry 
Promotion, Research and Information Order (Order), by removing the 
first-handler member and alternate position and adding two exporter 
member and alternate positions. Conforming changes would be made to the 
nomination procedures. In addition, the proposal would allow members 
and alternates to remain in office until a successor is appointed. The 
Council administers the Order with oversight by the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA).

DATES: Comments must be received by September 20, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments 
concerning this proposed rule. All comments must be submitted through 
the Federal e-rulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov and 
should reference the document number and the date and page number of 
this issue of the Federal Register. All comments submitted in response 
to this proposed rule will be included in the rulemaking record and 
will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the 
identity of the individuals or entities submitting comments will be 
made public on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeanette Palmer, Marketing Specialist, 
Promotion and Economics Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 
1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 1406-S, Stop 0244, Washington, DC 
20250-0244; telephone: (202) 720-5976; or electronic mail: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposal is issued under the Order (7 
CFR part 1218). The Order is authorized under the Commodity Promotion, 
Research, and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act) (7 U.S.C. 7411-7425).

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 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 13175

    This action has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements 
of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian 
Tribal Governments. AMS has assessed the impact of this proposed rule 
on Indian tribes and determined that this rule would not have tribal 
implications that require consultation under Executive Order 13175. AMS 
hosts a quarterly teleconference with tribal leaders where matters of 
mutual interest regarding the marketing of agricultural products are 
discussed. Information about the proposed changes to the regulations 
will be shared during an upcoming quarterly call, and tribal leaders 
will be informed about the proposed revisions to the regulation and the 
opportunity to submit comments. AMS will work with the USDA Office of 
Tribal Relations to ensure meaningful consultation is provided as 
needed with regards to this change to the Order.

Executive Order 12988

    This proposal has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. It is not intended to have retroactive effect. Section 
524 of the 1996 Act (7 U.S.C. 7423) provides that it shall not affect 
or preempt any other Federal or State law authorizing promotion or 
research relating to an agricultural commodity.
    Under section 519 of the 1996 Act (7 U.S.C. 7418), a person subject 
to an order may file a written petition with USDA stating that an 
order, any provision of an order, or any obligation imposed in 
connection with an order, is not established in accordance with the 
law, and request a modification of an order or an exemption from an 
order. Any petition filed challenging an order, any provision of an 
order, or any obligation imposed in connection with an order, shall be 
filed within two years after the effective date of an order, provision, 
or obligation subject to challenge in the petition. The petitioner will 
have the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. Thereafter, USDA 
will issue a ruling on the petition. The 1996 Act provides that the 
district court of the United States for any district in which the 
petitioner resides or conducts business shall have the jurisdiction to 
review a final ruling on the petition, if the petitioner files a 
complaint for that purpose not later than 20 days after the date of the 
entry of USDA's final ruling.

Background

    This proposal invites comments on changes in the Council's 
membership under the Order. The Council administers the Order with 
oversight by USDA. Under the program, assessments are collected from 
domestic producers and importers and used for research and promotion 
projects designed to increase the demand for highbush blueberries. This 
proposed action would remove the first-handler member and alternate 
position and add two exporter member and alternate positions. This 
would help ensure that the Council reflects the distribution of 
domestic blueberry production and imports into the United States (U.S.) 
Conforming changes would be made to the nomination procedures. This 
proposal would also allow members and alternates to remain in office 
until a successor is appointed. This change would permit the Council to 
continue administration of the Order should appointments be delayed 
beyond the specified term of office. The two actions were unanimously

[[Page 38591]]

recommended by the Council at its meetings on November 18, 2020 and 
June 9, 2021.

Change in Membership

    Section 1218.40(a) of the Order currently specifies that the 
Council be comprised of no more than 20 members and alternates 
appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary). Twelve of the 20 
members and alternates are producers. One producer member and alternate 
are from each of the following regions within the U.S.: Region #1 
Western Region; Region #2 Midwest Region; Region #3 Northeast Region; 
and Region #4 Southern Region. One producer member and alternate are 
from each of the top eight blueberry producing states, based upon the 
average of the total tons produced over the previous three years. 
Currently, these states include California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, 
New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington.
    Of the remaining eight Council members and alternates, four members 
and alternates are importers. Two members and alternates must be an 
exporter, defined in Sec.  1218.40(a)(4) as a blueberry producer 
currently shipping blueberries into the U.S. from the two largest 
foreign blueberry production areas, based on a three-year average 
(currently Chile and Canada). One member and alternate must be a first 
handler, defined in Sec.  1218.40(a)(5) as a U.S. based independent or 
cooperative organization which is a producer/shipper of domestic 
blueberries. Finally, one member and alternate must represent the 
public. The public member representation on research and promotion 
boards is optional as provided for in the 1996 Act.
    Section 1218.40(b) of the Order specifies that, at least once every 
five years, the Council will review the geographical distribution of 
the production of blueberries in the United States and the quantity of 
imports. The review is conducted through an audit of state crop 
production figures and Council assessment records. If warranted, the 
Council will recommend to the Secretary that its membership be altered 
to reflect changes in the geographical distribution of domestic 
blueberry production and the quantity of imports.
    The Council met on November 18, 2020 and then again on June 9, 
2021, to review domestic production data, import data, and assessment 
data for the past three years (2017-2019). This data is summarized in 
Table 1 below:

                             Table 1--U.S. and Import Quantities and Assessment Data
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    U.S. crop--                      Domestic
                                                     utilized     Imports (1,000      (U.S.)          Import
                      Year                        production \1\     lbs) \2\       assessments     assessments
                                                    (1,000 lbs)                         \3\             \3\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2017............................................         512,740         398,190      $3,968,438      $3,577,559
2018............................................         562,300         473,073       4,263,177       4,229,333
2019............................................         673,050         579,181       5,172,055       5,040,722
3-year average..................................         582,697         483,481       4,467,890       4,282,538
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sources: \1\ NASS; \2\ U.S. Customs and Border Protection; \3\ Council Financial Audit Records 2019-2020.

    As shown in Table 1, the quantity of imported blueberries, as well 
as import assessments collected, has increased in recent years.
    In that time, there has been a substantial increase of imported 
product from both Peru and Mexico, with Peru exports into the U.S. 
surpassing Canada in 2019, as shown in Table 2.

                         Table 2--Quantity of Blueberries From Foreign Production Areas
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       Quantity (1,000 lbs)
Foreign blueberry production areas shipping into ---------------------------------------------------------------
                the United States                      2017            2018            2019       3-year average
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chile...........................................         162,932         181,951         164,872         169,918
Canada..........................................         111,979         110,755         142,425         121,720
Peru............................................          41,516          82,273         154,288          92,692
Mexico..........................................          54,212          72,537          93,840          73,530
Argentina.......................................          26,099          23,581          22,130          23,937
All Other Countries.............................           1,451           1,976           1,627           1,685
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

    In 2015, the Council, after reviewing import and domestic 
production and assessment data, recommended changes to the membership; 
one such change included adding an additional exporter seat. At that 
time, data indicated considerable increased imports from Chile. The 
addition of the second exporter member allowed exporters from both 
Chile and Canada, the two countries shipping the greatest volume of 
blueberries into the U.S., to be represented on the Council. The 
Council took a similar approach when reviewing and recommending this 
proposed change in membership. It recognized the significant volume of 
imports from Peru and Mexico, discussing the need to add 
representatives from those production areas to the Council. Given the 
decision to try to maintain its current size and based on the data 
reviewed, it concluded it was important to have foreign producer 
representation similar to the structure of the state producer 
representation. Therefore, it recommended the addition of two exporter 
members. Four exporter member positions would provide the four largest 
foreign producing areas importing into the U.S., which represents 
ninety-five percent of the total volume of blueberries imported

[[Page 38592]]

into the U.S., a voice on the Council. This would realign the Council's 
membership to better reflect the distribution of domestic production 
and the quantity of imports into the U.S.
    The Council conducts nominations two out of every three years. The 
Council is currently conducting nominations for seven member and 
alternate positions (year-one cycle) whose three-year term of office 
begins January 1, 2022, ending December 31, 2024. These include the 
four regional producer members, one exporter member, one importer 
member, the public member, and respective alternates. The Council will 
conduct nominations in 2022 for 13 member and alternate positions 
(year-two cycle) whose three-year term of office begins January 1, 
2023, ending December 31, 2025. This would include one member from each 
of the top eight producing states, three importer members, one exporter 
member, the first-handler member, and respective alternates. To help 
ensure a smooth transition, while aligning with the Council's 
nomination schedule, the term of office for the recommended additional 
exporter member positions would begin January 1, 2023. Therefore, 
solicitation for the two additional exporter position nominees would be 
included in the nominations scheduled to be conducted in 2022. Since 
the first-handler member position is being replaced by one of the 
exporter positions, nominations for this position would not be 
conducted during the 2022 solicitation period. The first-handler member 
and alternate member positions would terminate December 31, 2022.
    USDA has recommended that the initial term of office for the two 
additional exporter positions would be two years, instead of the 
prescribed three-year term of office for all Council member and 
alternate positions. The additional two exporter member and alternate 
term of office would begin January 1, 2023, ending December 31, 2024. 
As noted above, the Council conducts nominations two out of every three 
years, with seven positions to be filled in year one, and thirteen in 
year two. With including the nominations for the exporter positions in 
the year-two cycle, total positions to be filled would be 14 of the 21-
member Council. Having an initial two-year term would align these two 
additional exporter positions with the year-one nomination cycle, 
reestablishing the distribution between the two nomination cycles. 
Year-one nomination cycle would include solicitation for nine 
positions: Four regional producer member positions, one importer member 
position, three exporter member positions, one public member position, 
and respective alternates. The year-two nomination cycle would include 
solicitation for 12 positions: One member from each of the top eight 
producing states, three importer members, one exporter member, and 
respective alternates.
    The 2022, 20-member Council would consist of one producer member 
from each of the four regions (Western, Midwest, Northeast, Southern), 
one producer member from each of the top eight producing states, four 
importer members, two exporter members, first-handler member, public 
member, and respective alternates.
    The 2023 and subsequent 21-member Council would consist of one 
producer member from each of the four regions (Western, Midwest, 
Northeast, Southern), one producer member from each of the top eight 
producing states, four importer members, four exporter members, one 
public member, and respective alternates. 7 CRF 1218.40 would be 
revised accordingly.

Nomination Procedures

    Section 1218.41 establishes the procedures for nominations to 
obtain Council nominees for appointment by the Secretary. Section 
1218.41(c) provides for the nomination process for importer, exporter, 
first-handler, and public member and alternate positions. Section 
1218.41(d) requires producer, handlers, and importer nominees to be 
compliant with the order provisions regarding payment of assessments 
and filing of reports. With the replacement of the first-handler 
position with two exporter positions, references to first-handler 
member would be removed from these sections.

Term of Office

    Section 1218.42 provides that Council nominations and appointments 
will take place in two out of every three years, with each term of 
office ending on December 31, and new terms of office beginning January 
1. The Council recommended allowing members and their alternates to 
remain in office until a successor is appointed. Currently, if 
successors are not appointed by the January 1 date, those positions 
remain vacant until the successors are named. The Order requires a 
minimum of 11 members to hold a Council meeting. For the nomination 
year with 12 positions expiring, if not appointed by the January 1 
start date, the Council would be unable to meet until such appointments 
were made. This could cause a lapse in the Council's ability to 
properly administer the provisions of the Order. Allowing members to 
serve until their successor is appointed would allow the Council to 
continue administration should appointments be delayed beyond the 
specified term of office. This change is similar to authority provided 
for in other research and promotion orders.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 
601-612), AMS is required to examine the impact of the proposed rule on 
small entities. Accordingly, AMS has considered the economic impact of 
this action on such entities.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses subject to such actions so that small businesses will not be 
disproportionately burdened. The Small Business Administration defines, 
in 13 CFR part 121, small agricultural producers as those having annual 
receipts of no more than $1,000,000 and small agricultural service 
firms (first handlers and importers) as those having annual receipts of 
no more than $30 million.
    There are approximately 1,547 domestic producers, 71 first handlers 
and 271 importers of highbush blueberries covered under the program. 
Dividing the highbush blueberry crop value for 2019, $919 million,\1\ 
by the number of producers (1,547) yields an average annual producer 
revenue estimate of $594,053. It is estimated that in 2019, about 99 
percent of the first handlers shipped under $30 million worth of 
highbush blueberries. Based on 2019 U.S. Border and Customs (Customs) 
data, it is estimated that over 99 percent of the importers shipped 
under $30 million worth of highbush blueberries. Based on the 
foregoing, the majority of producers, first handlers and importers may 
be classified as small entities. We do not have information concerning 
the number of exporters and their size. Comments providing any 
information or data concerning exporters are requested.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2019 Summary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regarding value of the commodity, as mentioned above, based on 2019 
NASS data, the value of the domestic highbush blueberry crop was about 
$919 million. According to Customs data, the value of 2019 imports was 
about $1.04 billion.
    It is not anticipated that this action would impose additional 
costs on industry members. Eligible producers, importers and exporters 
interested in serving on the Council would have to complete a 
background questionnaire. Those requirements are addressed later in 
this proposal.

[[Page 38593]]

    This proposal invites comments on revising Sec. Sec.  1218.40, 
1218.41 and 1218.42 of the Order regarding Council membership, 
nominations, and term of office, respectively. The Council administers 
the Order with oversight by USDA. Under the program, assessments are 
collected from domestic producers and importers and used for research 
and promotion projects designed to increase the demand for highbush 
blueberries. The proposed action would remove the first-handler and 
alternate position and add two exporter member and alternate positions. 
This would help ensure that the Council reflects the distribution of 
domestic blueberry production and imports into the U.S. Conforming 
changes would be made to the nomination procedures. This proposal would 
also allow members and alternates to remain in office until a successor 
is appointed. This change would allow the Council to continue 
administration of the Order should appointments be delayed beyond the 
specified term of office. Authority for this action is provided in 
Sec. Sec.  1218.40(b) and 1218.47(m) of the Order and section 7414 of 
the 1996 Act.
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the information collection and recordkeeping requirements 
that are imposed by the Order have been approved previously under OMB 
control number 0581-0093 and 0505-0001. Eligible producers, importers, 
exporters, first-handler, and public members interested in serving on 
the Council are required to complete a background questionnaire (Form 
AD-755) to verify their eligibility. Adding an exporter member and 
alternate member to the Council would require four additional exporters 
to submit background forms (AD-755) to USDA, once every three years, in 
order to be considered for appointment to the Council. The Secretary 
requires two names to be submitted for each open seat on the Council. 
The public reporting burden is estimated to increase the total burden 
hours by less than one hour. This additional burden would be included 
in the existing information collection approved for use under OMB 
control number 0581-0093. In addition, serving on the Council is 
optional, and the burden of submitting the background form would be 
offset by the benefits of additional representation on the Council.
    The previously approved background questionnaire would be revised 
eliminating the first-handler section. It would impose an increase of 
the total reporting and recordkeeping burden hours by less than one 
hour on blueberry producers, importers, or exporters.
    As with all Federal promotion programs, reports and forms are 
periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and 
duplication by industry and public sector agencies. USDA has not 
identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or 
conflict with this proposed rule.
    Regarding alternatives, the Council has been discussing its 
membership and potential changes to reflect the distribution of 
domestic production and imports for the past few years. The Council's 
Executive Committee met to formulate and consider various options. One 
option was to replace two of the four regional producer positions, with 
the exporter positions, reallocating the two regions as East and West, 
with one position for each region. Another option considered was to 
eliminate the first-handler and public member positions; reallocate the 
regions to East and West, with one position for each region; and add 
two importer positions and two exporter positions. The Council also 
considered maintaining the status quo. It concluded, upon reviewing the 
domestic production and import statistics, that it was important to 
have foreign producer representation from the top four countries 
importing highbush blueberries into the U.S. represented on the 
Council. Thus, the Council recommended revising the Order to remove the 
first-handler and alternate position and add two exporter member and 
alternate positions.
    Regarding outreach efforts, this action was discussed by the 
Council at meetings in October 2018, as well as by the Council and 
committees in 2019 and 2020. The Council met in November 2020 and in 
June 2021 and unanimously made its recommendation. All of the Council's 
meetings are open to the public and interested persons are invited to 
participate and express their views.
    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 or citizen access to Government information and 
services, and for other purposes.
    We have performed this initial RFA analysis regarding the impact of 
the proposed action on small entities and we invite comments concerning 
the potential effects of this action.
    USDA has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with and 
would effectuate the purpose of the 1996 Act.
    A 60-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to 
respond to this proposal. All written comments received in response to 
this proposed rule by the date specified will be considered prior to 
finalizing this action.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1218

    Administrative practice and procedure, Advertising, Blueberry 
promotion, Consumer information, Marketing agreements, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 1218 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 1218--BLUEBERRY PROMOTION, RESEARCH, AND INFORMATION ORDER

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 1218 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7411-7425; 7 U.S.C. 7401.

0
2. In Sec.  1218.40, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  1218.40  Establishment and membership.

    (a) Establishment of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. There is 
hereby established a U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, hereinafter 
called the Council, shall be comprised of no more than 20 members and 
alternates for the 2022 Council, and comprised of no more than 21 
members and alternates for the 2023 Council and each subsequent 
Council, appointed by the Secretary from nominations as follows:
    (1) The 2022 Council shall be comprised of:
    (i) One producer member and alternate from each of the following 
regions:
    (A) Region #1 Western Region (all states from the Pacific east to 
the Rockies): Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, 
Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
    (B) Region #2 Midwest Region (all states east of the Rockies to the 
Great Lakes and south to the Kansas/Missouri/Kentucky state line): 
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, 
Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
    (C) Region #3 Northeast Region (all states east of the Great Lakes 
and North of the North Carolina/Tennessee state line): Connecticut, 
Delaware, New York, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, DC, 
and West Virginia.

[[Page 38594]]

    (D) Region #4 Southern Region (all states south of the Virginia/
Kentucky/Missouri/Kansas state line and east of the Rockies): Alabama, 
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, 
Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
    (ii) One producer member and alternate from each of the top eight 
blueberry producing states, based on the average of the total tons 
produced over the previous three years. Average tonnage will be based 
upon production and assessment figures generated by the Council.
    (iii) Four importers and alternates.
    (iv) Two exporters and alternates will be filled by foreign 
blueberry producers currently shipping blueberries into the United 
States from the two largest foreign blueberry production areas, 
respectively, based on a three-year average.
    (v) One first-handler member and alternate shall be filled by a 
United States based independent or cooperative organization which is a 
producer/shipper of domestic blueberries.
    (vi) One public member and alternate. The public member and 
alternate public member may not be a blueberry producer, handler, 
importer, exporter, or have a financial interest in the production, 
sales, marketing or distribution of blueberries.
    (2) The 2023 and subsequent Council shall be composed of:
    (i) One producer member and alternate from each of the following 
regions:
    (A) Region #1 Western Region (all states from the Pacific east to 
the Rockies): Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, 
Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
    (B) Region #2 Midwest Region (all states east of the Rockies to the 
Great Lakes and south to the Kansas/Missouri/Kentucky state line): 
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, 
Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
    (C) Region #3 Northeast Region (all states east of the Great Lakes 
and North of the North Carolina/Tennessee state line): Connecticut, 
Delaware, New York, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, DC, 
and West Virginia.
    (D) Region #4 Southern Region (all states south of the Virginia/
Kentucky/Missouri/Kansas state line and east of the Rockies): Alabama, 
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, 
Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
    (ii) One producer member and alternate from each of the top eight 
blueberry producing states, based on the average of the total tons 
produced over the previous three years. Average tonnage will be based 
upon production and assessment figures generated by the Council.
    (iii) Four importers and alternates.
    (iv) Four exporters and alternates will be filled by foreign 
blueberry producers currently shipping blueberries into the United 
States from the four largest foreign blueberry production areas, 
respectively, based on a three-year average.
    (v) One public member and alternate. The public member and 
alternate public member may not be a blueberry producer, handler, 
importer, exporter, or have a financial interest in the production, 
sales, marketing or distribution of blueberries.
* * * * *
0
3. In Sec.  1218.41, paragraphs (c) and (d) are revised to read as 
follows:


Sec.  1218.41  Nominations and appointments.

* * * * *
    (c) Nominations for the importer, exporter, and public member 
positions will be made by the Council. Two nominees for each member and 
each alternate position will be recommended to the Secretary for 
consideration. Other qualified persons interested in serving in these 
positions but not recommended by the Council will be designated by the 
Council as additional nominees for consideration by the Secretary.
    (d) Producer and importer nominees must be in compliance with the 
Order's provisions regarding payment of assessments and filing of 
reports. Further, producers and importers must produce or import, 
respectively, 2,000 pounds or more of highbush blueberries annually.
* * * * *
0
4. Section 1218.42 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  1218.42  Term of office.

    Council members and alternates will serve for a term of three years 
and be able to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. A Council 
member may serve as an alternate during the years the member is 
ineligible for a member position. When the Council is first 
established, the state representatives, first-handler member, and their 
respective alternates will be assigned initial terms of three years. 
Regional representatives, the importer member, the exporter member, 
public member, and their alternates will serve an initial term of two 
years. Thereafter, each of these positions will carry a full three-year 
term. Council nominations and appointments will take place in two out 
of every three years. Each term of office will end on December 31, with 
new terms of office beginning on January 1. Council members and 
alternates shall serve during the term of office for which they have 
been appointed and qualified, and until their successors are appointed.

Erin Morris,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-15161 Filed 7-21-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P