Apricots Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Temporary Relaxation of the Minimum Grade Requirement
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule that relaxed the minimum grade requirement prescribed under the Washington apricot marketing order for the 2006 shipping season. The marketing order regulates the handling of fresh apricots grown in designated counties in the State of Washington, and is administered locally by the Washington Apricot Marketing Committee (Committee). This rule continues in effect the action that relaxed the fresh apricot minimum grade requirement from Washington No. 1 grade to Washington No. 2 grade. Taking into consideration pre-harvest hail damage, this change was made for the purpose of increasing the supply of marketable fresh apricots while increasing the potential for higher producer returns.
Tart Cherries Grown in the States of Michigan, et al.; Change in Certain Provisions/Procedures Under the Handling Regulations for Tart Cherries
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, with a change, an interim final rule removing volume limitations on new product development, new market development and market expansion activities to facilitate such activities; allowing handlers to receive diversion credit for the voluntary destruction of finished, marketable products that have deteriorated in condition to provide handlers more flexibility; adding a procedure to keep Cherry Industry Administrative Board (Board) representation in line with current district production levels; and revising grower application and mapping procedures under the grower diversion program to make the process less burdensome. These changes are intended to improve the operation of the marketing order and to increase the demand for tart cherries and tart cherry products. The changes were unanimously recommended by the 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, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.