Avocados Grown in South Florida; Recommended Decision on Proposed Amendments of Marketing Order No. 915
This is a recommended decision regarding proposed amendments to Marketing Order No. 915 (order), which regulates the handling of avocados grown in Florida. The amendments were proposed by the Florida Avocado Administrative Committee (Committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order. The amendments included in this recommended decision would: add authority for the Committee to borrow funds; revise voting requirements for changing the assessment rate; allow for District 1 nominations to be conducted by mail; and add authority for the Committee to accept voluntary contributions. The proposed amendments are intended to improve the operation and functioning of the marketing order program. This recommended decision invites written exceptions on the proposed amendments. This rule also announces AMS's intention to request approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of a new information collection.
Changes in Hourly Fee Rates for Science and Technology Laboratory Services-Fiscal Years 2007-2009
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is changing the hourly fee rates for Science and Technology (S&T) Laboratory Services. The agency is raising these rates to reflect, among other factors, national and locality pay increases for Federal employees and inflation, operating costs, instrumentation and training, and program and agency administrative overhead costs. In the past, AMS has amended its regulations on an as needed basis in order to recover laboratory program costs. With this regulation, AMS is providing for three annual standard hourly fee rate increases for fiscal years 2007-2009. This will provide the agricultural commodity industries and other stakeholders with more timely and relevant information regarding user fees for voluntary laboratory testing services. The agency is also removing tables and schedules with listings of individual tests and services. Three annual hourly fee rate adjustments are established by this action for appeals, holiday, and overtime services to reflect the anticipated increase cost of providing these laboratory services each fiscal year. The regulations also are updated to identify current facility addresses. Part 92 is obsolete and therefore has been removed.
Almonds Grown in California; Outgoing Quality Control Requirements
This rule adds outgoing quality control requirements under the administrative rules and regulations of the California almond marketing order (order). The order regulates the handling of almonds grown in California and is administered locally by the Almond Board of California (Board). This rule provides for a mandatory program under the order to reduce the potential for Salmonella bacteria in almonds. This action will help ensure that quality almonds are available for human consumption.
United States Standards for Grades of Sweet Cherries
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), has reviewed the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable grade standards for usefulness in serving the industry. As a result, AMS is proposing to revise the sweet cherry standard to include standardized row sizes into the standard. These standardized row sizes would establish a uniform basis for defining size in the industry.