Notice of Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program
This notice invites the following eligible States: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming, to submit an Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424), and to enter into a Cooperative Agreement with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for the Allocation of Organic Certification Cost-Share Funds. The AMS has allocated $1.5 million for this organic certification cost-share program in Fiscal Year 2008. Funds will be available under this program to 16 designated States to assist organic crop and livestock producers certified under the National Organic Program (NOP). Eligible States interested in obtaining cost-share funds for their organic producers will have to submit an Application for Federal Assistance, and will have to enter into a cooperative agreement with AMS for the allocation of such funds.
Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Tangelos Grown in Florida; Temporary Suspension of Order Provisions Regarding Continuance Referenda
This rule invites comments on a temporary suspension of the order provision requiring periodic continuance referenda under the Florida citrus marketing order (order). This rule would suspend for the current cycle the order requirement that a continuance referendum be held every sixth year. The suspension is intended to minimize the confusion that could result from the overlap of the continuance referendum and another referendum associated with the amendatory process. It would also allow producers time to evaluate the results of the amendatory process before voting on the continuance of the order.
Request for an Extension to a Currently Approved Information Collection
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this notice announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget, for an extension of the currently approved information collection for the Farmers Market Questionnaire.
Domestic Dates Produced or Packed in Riverside County, CA; Decreased Assessment Rate
This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the California Date Administrative Committee (Committee) for the 2008-09 and subsequent crop years from $0.75 to $0.60 per hundredweight of dates handled. The Committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of dates grown or packed in Riverside County, California. Assessments upon date handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The crop year begins October 1 and ends September 30. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Dried Prunes Produced in California; Decreased Assessment Rate
This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the Prune Marketing Committee (Committee) for the 2008-09 and subsequent crop years from $0.60 to $0.30 per ton of salable dried prunes. The Committee locally administers the marketing order that regulates the handling of dried prunes in California. Assessments upon dried prune handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The crop year began August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Avocados Grown in South Florida; Continuance Referendum
This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible Florida avocados growers to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order regulating the handling of avocados grown in South Florida.
Plant Variety Protection Board; Open Teleconference Meeting
This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of a forthcoming teleconference meeting of the Plant Variety Protection Board. Notice of this meeting is required under section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. This document is intended to notify the general public of their opportunity to attend the meeting.
Amendment of General Regulations for Fruit, Vegetable and Nut Marketing Agreements and Marketing Orders; Addition of Supplemental Rules of Practice for Amendatory Formal Rulemaking Proceedings
This rule amends the general regulations for federal fruit, vegetable and nut marketing agreements and marketing orders by establishing supplemental rules of practice for amendatory formal rulemaking proceedings in accordance with section 1504 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill). The supplemental rules of practice add procedures to the rulemaking process relating to amendments to fruit, vegetable and nut marketing agreements and marketing orders; authorize the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to impose assessments on affected industries to supplement funds necessary to improve or expedite an amendatory hearing process; and authorize the use of informal rulemaking (5 U.S.C. 553) to amend such agreements and orders. Section 1504 of the 2008 Farm Bill also applies to amendments of federal milk marketing agreements and orders. The supplemental rules of practice for federal milk marketing agreements and orders are addressed in a separate rulemaking document.
Amendment of General Regulations for Federal Milk Marketing Agreements and Marketing Orders; Addition of Supplemental Rules of Practice for Amendatory Formal Rulemaking Proceedings
This final rule amends the general regulations for Federal milk marketing agreements and marketing orders by establishing supplemental rules of practice for amendatory formal rulemaking proceedings in accordance with section 1504 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill). This rule provides for supplemental guidelines, timeframes and procedures for amending Federal milk marketing agreements and orders; authorizes the use of informal rulemaking (5 U.S.C. 553) to amend such agreements and orders; and establishes provisions that permit the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to impose assessments on pooled milk under a Federal milk marketing agreement or order to fund expedited amendatory formal rulemaking. Such assessments would supplement appropriated funds for the procurement of services required by USDA to perform rulemaking functions. Section 1504 of the 2008 Farm Bill also applies to amendments to the fruit, vegetable and nut marketing agreements and orders. The supplemental rules of practice for fruit, vegetable and nut marketing agreements and orders are addressed in a separate rulemaking document.
Apricots Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule would increase the assessment rate established for the Washington Apricot Marketing Committee (Committee) for the 2008-09 and subsequent fiscal periods from $1.50 to $2.00 per ton for Washington apricots. The Committee is responsible for local administration of the marketing order regulating the handling of apricots grown in designated counties in Washington. Assessments upon handlers of apricots are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period for the marketing order begins April 1 and ends March 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended or terminated.
Almonds Grown in California; Order Amending Marketing Order No. 981
This final rule amends the marketing order for almonds grown in California. The amendments were proposed by the Almond Board of California (Board), which is responsible for local administration of the order. The amendments will authorize the establishment of different outgoing quality requirements for different markets and authorize the establishment of bulk container marking and labeling requirements. The amendments are intended to provide additional flexibility in administering the quality control provisions of the order and provide the industry with additional tools for the marketing of almonds.
Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken, Goat Meat, Perishable Agricultural Commodities, Peanuts, Pecans, Ginseng, and Macadamia Nuts
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill), the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act (2002 Appropriations), and the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (Act) to require retailers to notify their customers of the country of origin of covered commodities. Covered commodities include muscle cuts of beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, and ground pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; perishable agricultural commodities; macadamia nuts; pecans; ginseng; and peanuts. The implementation of mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for all covered commodities, except wild and farm- raised fish and shellfish, was delayed until September 30, 2008. The 2008 Farm Bill contains a number of provisions that amended the COOL provisions in the Act. These changes include the addition of chicken, goat, macadamia nuts, pecans, and ginseng as covered commodities, the addition of provisions for labeling products of multiple origin, as well as a number of other changes that are discussed more fully in the Supplementary Information portion of this rule. However, the implementation date of September 30, 2008, was not changed by the 2008 Farm Bill. Therefore, in order to meet the September 30, 2008, implementation date and to provide the newly affected industries the opportunity to provide comments prior to issuing a final rule, the Department is issuing this interim final rule. This interim final rule contains definitions, the requirements for consumer notification and product marking, and the recordkeeping responsibilities of both retailers and suppliers for covered commodities. The provisions in this interim final rule do not affect the regulatory requirements for fish and shellfish that were published in the October 5, 2004, Federal Register.