Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Program: Submission of Information; Withdrawal of Proposed Rule
This action withdraws a proposed rule published in the March 13, 2003 [68 FR 11996], issue of the Federal Register, which intended to add a section to the regulations implementing the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order (Order) that would require remitters of pork checkoff assessments, upon request by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), to submit to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) the names, addresses, and any other information deemed necessary to identify persons from whom they collected assessments. This information would have been used to establish the total number of pork producers and importers in the United States, from which AMS would determine the number of respondents necessary to meet a threshold requirement of 15 percent to conduct a referendum, as contained in the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act. Based upon further review and consideration, AMS has determined that the most accurate representation of total number of pork producers and importers would result from utilizing the most recent data published by USDA's National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) in its February 2008 ``Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations'' report to determine the total number of farm operations with hogs and pigs and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs) to determine the total number of importers who imported hogs, pigs, pork, or pork products.
Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Program: Request for Referendum
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) intends to conduct a Request for Referendum among eligible pork producers and importers of hogs, pigs, pork, and pork products to determine if those persons want a referendum on the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order (Order), commonly known as the Pork Checkoff Program, as authorized by the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985. The Request for Referendum is being conducted as a result of a settlement of a lawsuit entered into February 28, 2001, with USDA and the Michigan Pork Producers Association, Inc., et al. (Plaintiffs). Under the settlement agreement, USDA will conduct a Request for Referendum among eligible pork producers and importers to determine whether producers and importers favor holding a referendum on the Pork Checkoff Program. Eligible producers and importers will be able to participate during a specified period announced by USDA. If the Request for Referendum indicates that 15 percent of the total number of eligible producers and importers want a referendum on the Pork Checkoff Program, the referendum will be conducted within 1 year after the results of the Request for Referendum are announced. If results of the Request for Referendum indicate that a referendum is not supported, a referendum would not be conducted. AMS also is withdrawing in this issue of the Federal Register, the proposed rule concerning submission of information that was published on March 13, 2003 [68 FR 11996].