USDA Farmers Market Operating Procedures
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking comments on procedures to administer the USDA Farmers Market at 12th Street & Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC. These procedures would allow AMS the means to demonstrate and experiment with direct marketing techniques (operate a farmers market), while at the same time educate consumers on the significance of small farms, the nutritional benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, and the merits of food recovery. Included in this proposed rule is the establishment of vendor criteria, selection procedures, and guidelines for governing the operation of the USDA Farmers Market. Information collection requirements are also included to establish a one-time yearly submission on a required application form.
Beef Promotion and Research: Certification and Nomination for the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board
Notice is hereby given that the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is accepting applications from State cattle producer organizations or associations and general farm organizations, as well as cattle or beef importer organizations, who desire to be certified to nominate producers or importers for appointment to vacant positions on the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board (Board). Organizations which have not previously been certified that are interested in submitting nominations must complete and submit an official application form to AMS. Previously certified organizations do not need to reapply. Notice is also given that vacancies will occur on the Board and that during a period to be established, nominations will be accepted from eligible organizations and individual importers.
Milk in the Mideast Marketing Area; Notice of Hearing on Proposed Amendments to Tentative Marketing Agreement and Order
A public hearing is being held to consider proposals that would amend certain provisions of the Mideast Federal milk marketing order. Proposals under consideration address: Eliminating the ability of the same milk to be simultaneously pooled on the Mideast order and on a State operated order with marketwide pooling; Changing the supply plant performance standards and diversion limits; Increasing the number of days a dairy farmer's milk production must be delivered to a pool plant for the milk of the dairy farmer to be eligible for diversion; Limiting the pooling of producer milk that was not pooled in a prior month(s); Establishing a ``dairy farmer for other markets'' provision; Establishing a transportation credit for milk; and Changing the producer-handler definition.
Tart Cherries Grown in the States of Michigan, et al.; Final Free and Restricted Percentages for the 2004-2005 Crop Year
This rule establishes final free and restricted percentages for the 2004-2005 crop year. The percentages are 72 percent free and 28 percent restricted and would establish the proportion of tart cherries from the 2004 crop which may be handled in commercial outlets. The percentages are intended to stabilize supplies and prices, and strengthen market conditions. The percentages were recommended by the Cherry Industry Administrative Board, the body that locally administers the marketing order. The marketing order regulates the handling of tart cherries grown in the States of Michigan, New York, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Cranberries Grown in the States of Massachusetts, et al.; Order Amending Marketing Agreement and Order No. 929
This final rule amends the marketing agreement and order for cranberries grown in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York. The amendments are based on those proposed by the Cranberry Marketing Committee (Committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order and other interested parties representing cranberry growers and handlers. The amendments will: Revise the volume control provisions; add authority for paid advertising; authorize the Committee to reestablish districts within the production area and reapportion grower membership among the various districts; clarify the definition of handle; and incorporate administrative changes. The amendments are intended to improve the operation and functioning of the cranberry marketing order program.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Washington; Secretary's Decision and Referendum Order on Proposed Amendments to Marketing Agreement and Order No. 946
This decision proposes amending the marketing agreement and order (order) for Irish potatoes grown in Washington, and provides producers with the opportunity to vote in a referendum to determine if they favor the changes. The amendments are based on those proposed by the State of Washington Potato Committee (Committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order. These amendments include: adding authority for container and marking regulations; requiring Committee producer members to have produced potatoes for the fresh market in at least 3 out of the last 5 years prior to nomination; updating order provisions pertaining to establishment of districts and apportionment of Committee membership among those districts; requiring Committee nominees to submit a written background and acceptance statement prior to selection by USDA; allowing for nominations to be held at industry meetings or events; adding authority to change the size of the Committee; and adding authority to allow temporary alternates to serve when a Committee member and that member's alternate are unable to serve. The USDA proposed two additional amendments: to establish tenure limitations for Committee members, and to require that continuance referenda be conducted on a periodic basis to ascertain producer support for the order. The proposed amendments are intended to improve the operation and functioning of the marketing order program.
Notice of Meeting of the National Organic Standards Board
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing a forthcoming meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
Walnuts Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rate
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, an interim final rule which decreased the assessment rate established for the Walnut Marketing Board (Board) for the 2004-05 and subsequent marketing years from $0.0101 to $0.0094 per kernelweight pound of assessable walnuts. The Board locally administers the marketing order (order) which regulates the handling of walnuts grown in California. Authorization to assess walnut handlers enables the Board to incur expenses that are reasonable and necessary to administer the program. The marketing year began August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Sweet Cherries Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Establishment of Minimum Size and Maturity Requirements for Lightly Colored Sweet Cherry Varieties
This rule establishes a minimum size requirement of 11-row size (\61/64\-inch diameter) and a minimum maturity requirement of 17 percent soluble solids for all lightly colored sweet cherry varieties shipped to fresh markets under the Washington sweet cherry marketing order. This rule was recommended by the Washington Cherry Marketing Committee (Committee), the agency responsible for local administration of the marketing order. Previously, only the Rainier variety of lightly colored sweet cherries met these requirements. This rule is intended to enhance the quality and image of all lightly colored sweet cherry varieties shipped to the fresh market, thereby increasing sales and improving returns to producers.
Beef Promotion and Research; Reapportionment
This final rule adjusts representation on the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board (Board), established under the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 (Act), to reflect changes in cattle inventories and cattle and beef imports that have occurred since the most recent Board reapportionment rule became effective in 2002. These adjustments are required by the Beef Promotion and Research Order (Order) and will result in a decrease in Board membership from 108 to 104, effective with the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) appointments for terms beginning early in the year 2006.
Sweet Cherries Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Secretary's Decision and Referendum Order on Proposed Amendments to Marketing Agreement and Order No. 923; Correction
The Agricultural Marketing Service published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2005, a Secretary's Decision and Referendum Order on proposed amendments to the Washington sweet cherry marketing order. This docket corrects the representative period for voting in the referendum from April 1, 2003, through March 31, 2004, to April 1, 2004, through February 28, 2005.
Raisins Produced From Grapes Grown in California; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule increases the assessment rate established for the Raisin Administrative Committee (Committee) for the 2004-05 and subsequent crop years from $8.00 to $11.00 per ton of free tonnage raisins acquired by handlers, and reserve tonnage raisins released or sold to handlers for use in free tonnage outlets. The Committee locally administers the Federal marketing order which regulates the handling of raisins produced from grapes grown in California (order). Authorization to assess raisin handlers enables the Committee to incur expenses that are reasonable and necessary to administer the program. The crop year runs from August 1 through July 31. The 2004-05 crop is smaller than normal, and no volume regulation will be implemented this year. As a result, some expenses funded by handler assessments will increase. The $8.00 per ton assessment rate will not generate enough revenue to cover expenses. The $11.00 per ton assessment will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Olives Grown in California; Redistricting and Reapportionment of Producer Membership on the California Olive Committee
This rule redefines the producer districts and reapportions each district's membership on the California Olive Committee (committee). The Federal marketing order for California olives (order) regulates the handling of canned ripe olives grown in California and is administered locally by the committee. This rule reduces the number of producer districts in the production area from four to two and reapportions the committee representation from each district to reflect the consolidation. These changes reflect recent shifts in olive acreage and producer numbers within the production area and should provide equitable committee representation from each district.
Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Tangelos Grown in Florida; Limiting the Volume of Small Red Seedless Grapefruit
This rule removes the weekly percentages established for the first 22 weeks of the 2004-05 season beginning September 20, 2004. The Citrus Administrative Committee voted to take this action following the crop losses the industry sustained from Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne. It is expected that this action will provide more red seedless grapefruit for shipment to the fresh fruit market.
Dried Prunes Produced in California; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule would increase the assessment rate established for the Prune Marketing Committee (committee) under Marketing Order No. 993 for the 2004-05 and subsequent crop years from $4.00 to $6.00 per ton of salable dried prunes. The committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of dried prunes grown in California. Authorization to assess dried prune handlers enables the committee to incur expenses that are reasonable and necessary to administer the program. The committee recommended a higher assessment rate because the 2004-05 crop is very small, and the higher assessment rate is needed to generate funds to meet program expenses and provide an adequate financial reserve. The crop year begins August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
National Organic Program: Development, Issuance, and Use of Guidance Documents
This notice sets forth the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) procedures for the development, issuance, and use of guidance documents. This document is intended to make the NOP's procedures clearer to the public.
Milk in the Northeast Marketing Area; Decision on Proposed Amendments to Marketing Agreement and to Order
This decision proposes to permanently adopt changes in provisions of the Northeast marketing area contained in a Recommended Decision published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2004, with one minor modification. This document is subject to approval by producers by referendum.
Nectarines and Peaches Grown in California; Hearing on Proposed Amendment of Marketing Agreement Nos. 124 and 85 and Order Nos. 916 and 917
Notice is hereby given of a public hearing to receive evidence on proposed amendments to Marketing Agreement Nos. 124 and 85 and Orders Nos. 916 and 917, which regulate the handling of nectarines and peaches grown in California. The amendments are jointly proposed by the Nectarine Administrative Committee (NAC), the Peach Commodity Committee, and the Control Committee (part of M.O. No. 917) (committees), which are responsible for local administration of orders 916 and 917. The proposed amendments to order 917 only apply to peaches. The pear provisions of the order have been suspended since 1994. Because the Pear Commodity Committee and the pear provisions are suspended, the Pear Commodity Committee did not participate in any amendment discussions. The amendments would: update definitions and districts in both orders; increase committee membership of the NAC from eight to thirteen members and modify sections of the order to conform to the increased membership; eliminate the Shippers Advisory Committee (M.O. No. 916); allow the Control Committee under M.O. No. 917 to be suspended if the provisions of one commodity are suspended and transfer applicable duties and responsibilities to the remaining commodity committee; authorize interest and late payment charges on assessments paid late; add authority to recommend different quality and size regulations for different market destinations; and other related amendments. All of the proposals are intended to streamline industry organization and improve the administration, operation, and functioning of the programs.
Notice of Request for New Information Collection
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this notice announces the intention of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to request a new information collection in support of the Regulations Governing Inspection and Certification of Processed Fruits and Vegetables and Related Products.
National Organic Program (NOP); Nominations for Task Force Members
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) at its October 12- 14, 2004, meeting recommended the formation of two ad hoc task force groups to develop draft organic standards. One task force will develop proposed production, handling, and labeling standards for food and animal feed products derived from aquatic animals. The second task force will develop proposed organic labeling standards for pet food. This notice calls for nominations for members to these two task force groups.
Domestic Dates Produced or Packed in Riverside County, CA; Modification of the Qualification Requirements for Approved Manufacturers of Date Products
This rule invites comments on modifications to the requirements to be an approved manufacturer of date products under the Federal date marketing order (order). The order regulates the handling of domestic dates produced or packed in Riverside County, California, and is administered locally by the California Date Administrative Committee (committee). The committee's approved product manufacturer program helps assure that higher quality whole and pitted dates are shipped within the USA and to Canada. This rule would clarify the application procedures and qualifications for a manufacturer to continue to be listed as an approved manufacturer of date products. This proposal would also require an applicant who is also a date handler under the order to be in compliance with the order. These modifications would help safeguard the integrity of the approved date product manufacturer program under the order and the quality of whole and pitted dates that are shipped within the USA and Canada.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Certain Designated Counties in Idaho, and Malheur County, OR; Relaxation of Handling Regulations
This proposed rule would relax the minimum size requirement for U.S. No. 2 grade round potatoes handled under the marketing order for Idaho-Eastern Oregon potatoes. The current size requirement for U.S. No. 2 grade round varieties, other than red, is 2 inches minimum diameter or 4 ounces minimum weight provided that at least 40 percent of the potatoes in each lot shall be 5 ounces or heavier. This rule would establish a minimum size requirement of 1\7/8\ inches minimum diameter, as is currently in effect for round red varieties, for all U.S. No. 2 grade round potatoes. This relaxation was unanimously recommended by the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Potato Committee (Committee), the agency responsible for local administration of the marketing order program in the designated production area. This proposed change is intended to improve the marketing of Idaho-Eastern Oregon potatoes and increase returns to producers.
Sweet Cherries Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Secretary's Decision and Referendum Order on Proposed Amendments to Marketing Agreement and Order No. 923
This decision proposes amending the marketing agreement and order (order) for sweet cherries grown in Washington, and provides growers with the opportunity to vote in a referendum to determine if they favor the changes. The amendments are based on those proposed by the Washington Cherry Marketing Committee (Committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order. The amendments include: adding authority for promotion, including paid advertising, and production research projects; adding authority for supplemental rates of assessment for individual varieties of cherries; adding authority for the Committee to accept voluntary contributions for research and promotion; and, adding a public member to the Committee. Two additional amendments are based on those proposed by the Agricultural Marketing Service: Establishing tenure limitations for Committee members and, requiring that continuance referenda be conducted every 6 years. The proposed amendments are intended to improve the operation and functioning of the sweet cherry marketing order program.
Exempting Organic Producers From Assessment by Research and Promotion Programs
This final rule amends all 17 commodity research and promotion orders and/or rules and regulations to exempt any person receiving and handling solely 100 percent organic products from paying assessments to any research and promotion program administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). To obtain an exemption, the person must operate under an approved organic system plan authorized by the National Organic Program (NOP) and produce and market only products that are eligible for a 100 percent organic label under the NOP. A separate final rule to exempt any person producing and marketing solely 100 percent organic products from paying assessments for market promotion activities under certain marketing order programs administered by AMS is also being published in today's Federal Register.
Exemption of Organic Handlers From Assessments for Market Promotion Activities Under Marketing Order Programs
This rule implements the provisions of section 10607 of the 2002 Farm Bill and exempts handlers subject to marketing order requirements from paying assessments for market promotion activities, including paid advertising, to marketing order committees and boards. To obtain an exemption, the handler must operate under an approved organic process system plan authorized by the National Organic Program (NOP), and handle or market only products that are eligible for a 100 percent organic product label under the NOP. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), that oversees and works with the committees and boards in administering the programs, has identified 28 marketing order programs for which assessment exemptions may be established. A separate final rule to exempt any person producing and marketing solely 100 percent organic products from paying assessments to any national research and promotion program administered by AMS also is being published in today's Federal Register.
Winter Pears Grown in Oregon and Washington; Recommended Decision and Opportunity To File Written Exceptions to Proposed Amendments to Marketing Agreement and Order No. 927
This recommended decision invites written exceptions on proposed amendments to the marketing agreement and order (order) for winter pears grown in Oregon and Washington. The amendments are jointly proposed by the Winter Pear Control Committee and the Northwest Fresh Bartlett Marketing Committee, which are responsible for local administration of orders 927 and 931, respectively. Marketing Agreement and Order No. 931 regulates the handling of fresh Bartlett pears grown in Oregon and Washington. The amendments would combine the winter pear and fresh Bartlett orders into a single program under marketing order 927, and would add authority to assess pears for processing. All of the proposals are intended to streamline industry organization and improve the administration, operation, and functioning of the program.
Proposed Data Collection, Reporting, and Recordkeeping Requirements Applicable to Cranberries Not Subject to the Cranberry Marketing Order
This final rule establishes a new Part 926 in the Code of Federal Regulations which requires persons engaged in the handling or importation of fresh cranberries or cranberry products (including handlers, producer-handlers, processors, brokers, and importers) not subject to the reporting requirements of the Federal cranberry marketing order (order) to report sales, acquisition, and inventory information to the Cranberry Marketing Committee (Committee), and to maintain adequate records on such activities. The establishment of the data collection, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements for entities not subject to the order is authorized under an amendment to section 8(d) of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. The additional information is needed by the Committee to make more informed recommendations to USDA for regulations authorized under the cranberry marketing order. This rule also finalizes the Agricultural Marketing Service's intention to request approval of the new data collection and reporting requirements by the Office of Management and Budget.
Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West; Salable Quantities and Allotment Percentages for the 2005-2006 Marketing Year
This rule would establish the quantity of spearmint oil produced in the Far West, by class, that handlers may purchase from, or handle for, producers during the 2005-2006 marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2005. This rule invites comments on the establishment of salable quantities and allotment percentages for Class 1 (Scotch) spearmint oil of 677,409 pounds and 35 percent, respectively, and for Class 3 (Native) spearmint oil of 867,958 pounds and 40 percent, respectively. The Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee (Committee), the agency responsible for local administration of the marketing order for spearmint oil produced in the Far West, recommended this rule for the purpose of avoiding extreme fluctuations in supplies and prices to help maintain stability in the spearmint oil market.
National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Program; Invitation To Submit Comments on Proposed Amendments to the Fluid Milk Promotion Order
This document invites comments on a proposed amendment to the Fluid Milk Promotion Order (Order). The proposed amendment, requested by the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board (Board), which administers the Order, would modify the terms of membership on the Board. The proposed amendment would require that any change in a fluid milk processor member's employer or change in ownership of the fluid milk processor who the member represents would disqualify that member. The member would continue to serve on the Board for a period of up to six months until a successor was appointed. In addition, a public member to the Board who changes employment, gains employment with a new employer, or ceases to continue in the same business would be disqualified in a manner similar to a fluid milk processor member. The Board believes that the proposed amendments are necessary to ensure the Board is able to equitably represent fluid milk processing constituents and the public interest through the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Program.
National Advisory Committee for Tobacco Inspection Services; Open Meeting
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App. II) announcement is made of a forthcoming meeting of the National Advisory Committee for Tobacco Inspection Services.
Cotton Board Rules and Regulations: Adjusting Supplemental Assessment on Imports (2004 Amendments)
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing to amend the Cotton Board Rules and Regulations by adjusting the total rate of assessment per kilogram for imported cotton collected for use by the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. The proposed total rate of assessment would be calculated by adding together the $1 per bale equivalent assessment and the supplemental assessment, and adjusting the sum to account for the estimated amount of U.S. cotton contained in imported textile products. The proposed adjustment would reduce the assessable portion of the cotton content of imported textile products by the estimated average amount of U.S. cotton contained therein. Exemptions and refunds would continue to be provided for importers wishing to document the U.S. cotton content of specific goods. The proposed rule would continue to ensure that the total assessment collected on imported cotton and the cotton content of imported products remain similar to those paid on domestically produced cotton, and that the U.S. cotton content of imported products is not subject to more than one assessment.
Plant Variety Protection Office, Supplemental Fees
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposes supplemental fees for the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Office covering a variety of administrative services that are not currently charged by the program. These include administrative service requests for: replenishment of seed low in germination or seed number; submission of new application data after notice of allowance, but prior to certificate issuance; recording any revision, withdrawal, or revocation of an assignment; and protest to the issuance of a certificate. The allowance and issuance fee will be increased also to recover the costs of enhancing the PVP program's electronic archiving capabilities. Also, technical amendments are proposed which would revise or remove obsolete language.
Hazelnuts Grown in Oregon and Washington; Continuance Referendum
This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible growers of hazelnuts in Oregon and Washington, to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order regulating the handling of hazelnuts grown in the production area.
Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule would increase the assessment rate established for the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (committee) for the 2005 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.015 to $0.0175 per 18- pound lug of grapes handled. The committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California. Authorization to assess grape handlers enables the committee to incur expenses that are reasonable and necessary to administer the program. The fiscal period begins January 1 and ends December 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Pistachios Grown in California; Delay of the Effective Date for Aflatoxin, Size and Quality Requirements
This document delays the effective date from February 1, 2005, to August 1, 2005, for aflatoxin, size and quality requirements established under Marketing Order No. 983 (order). The order regulates the handling of pistachios produced in California. Sections 983.38 through 983.45 of the order establish maximum aflatoxin along with minimum size and quality requirements for California pistachios. The Administrative Committee for Pistachios, which is responsible for locally administering the order, recommended the delay in the effective date. Postponing the effective date of the regulations will provide the industry and the newly established administrative committee with additional preparation time needed to meet the aflatoxin, size and quality requirements of the order. Also, the postponed effective date would correspond with the beginning of the 2005 crop year.