Dairy Forward Pricing Program
This final rule establishes a program for producers and cooperative associations of producers to voluntarily enter into forward price contracts with handlers for milk used for Class II, III, or IV purposes under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (AMAA). The program allows handlers regulated under the Federal milk marketing order program to pay producers and cooperative associations in accordance with the terms of a forward contract and not have to pay the minimum Federal order blend price for milk. This program is established in accordance with section 1502 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill).
National Organic Program (NOP)-Access to Pasture (Livestock)
This proposed rule would amend livestock and related provisions of the NOP. Comments have been received from consumers, producers, certifying agents, trade associations, retailers, organic associations, animal welfare organizations, consumer groups, and various industry groups seeking greater detail on the role of pasture in organic livestock production. Also since implementation of the NOP in 2002, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has made several recommendations regarding the role of pasture. As a result of comments, complaints, and noncompliances, we are proposing amendments to the livestock provisions of the NOP. This proposed rule provides greater detail for selected provisions of the existing livestock regulations, especially as they relate to pasture and ruminant animals. By specifying in greater detail that producers are to provide ruminants with pasture, recognize pasture as a crop, and incorporate pasture into their organic system plan, producers will have better records and tools for managing pasture and demonstrating compliance with the livestock regulations. Certifying agents will have better tools for measuring compliance with the livestock regulations. Consumers will have better assurances that the organic label is applied in ways that meet their expectations that ruminant livestock animals graze pastures during the growing season. This proposed rule would also clarify the replacement animal provision for dairy animals.
Tomatoes Grown In Florida; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule would increase the assessment rate established for the Florida Tomato Committee (Committee) for the 2008-09 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0325 to $0.0375 per 25-pound carton of tomatoes handled. The Committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of tomatoes grown in Florida. Assessments upon tomato handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period begins August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Washington; Modification of Late Payment and Interest Charge Regulation
This rule invites comments on a modification of the late payment and interest charge regulation prescribed under the Washington potato marketing order. The marketing order regulates the handling of Irish potatoes grown in Washington, and is administered locally by the State of Washington Potato Committee (Committee). This rule would revise the date interest is charged on late assessment payments from 30 to 60 days from the billing date shown on the handler's assessment statement received from the Committee. This rule would contribute to the efficient operation of the marketing order by reducing billing for nominal late payment interest charges on handlers who pay within 60 days of the billing date, while continuing those interest charges necessary to encourage payment, thereby ensuring that adequate funds are available to cover the Committee's authorized expenses.
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 (Act) of 1985, to reflect changes in cattle inventories and cattle and beef imports that have occurred since the most recent Board reapportionment rule became effective in February of 2005. These adjustments are required by the Beef Promotion and Research Order (Order) and will result in an increase in Board membership from 104 to 106, effective with the Department of Agriculture's (Department) appointments for terms beginning early in the year 2009.
National Organic Program (NOP), Sunset Review (2008)
This final rule amends the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) regulations to enact recommendations submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The amendments addressed in this final rule pertain to the continued exemption (use) and prohibition of 12 substances in organic production and handling. Consistent with the recommendations from the NOSB, this final rule renews 11 exemptions and 1 prohibition on the National List (along with any restrictive annotations) and corrects the Tartaric acid listings by adding annotations originally recommended to the Secretary.
Notice of Request for Extension of 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 an extension of a currently approved information collection for the Regulations Governing the Inspection and Grading Services of Manufactured or Processed Dairy Products, and the Certification of Sanitary Design and Fabrication of Equipment Used in the Slaughter, Processing, and Packaging of Livestock and Poultry Products.
Walnuts Grown in California; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule increases the assessment rate established for the California Walnut Board (Board) for the 2008-09 marketing year from $0.0122 to $0.0158 per kernelweight pound of assessable walnuts. The Board locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of walnuts grown in California. Assessments upon walnut handlers are used by the Board to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The 2008-09 marketing year began on September 1, 2008, and ends on August 31, 2009. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.