United States Standards for Grades of Beet Greens
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is revising the voluntary United States Standards for Grades of Beet Greens. Specifically, AMS is removing the ``Unclassified'' category from the standards.
United States Standards for Grades of Potatoes
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a final rule in the Federal Register on March 21, 2008 (FR Doc. 08-1058), revising the United States Standards of Grades of Potatoes. As published, the final regulations contain errors in Sec. Sec. 51.1545, 51.1546, 51.1664, and 51.1565 that are misleading and are in need of clarification. This document corrects those errors.
Cotton Board Rules and Regulations: Adjusting Supplemental Assessment on Imports (2008 Amendments)
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is amending the Cotton Board Rules and Regulations by increasing the value assigned to imported cotton for calculating supplemental assessments collected for use by the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. An amendment is required to adjust the assessments collected on imported cotton and the cotton content of imported products to be the same as those paid on domestically produced cotton. In addition, AMS is removing Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) numbers that were absorbed into other HTS categories since the last assessment adjustment.
Kiwifruit Grown in California; Hearing on Proposed Amendment of Marketing Order No. 920
Notice is hereby given of a public hearing to receive evidence on proposed amendments to Marketing Order No. 920 (order), which regulates the handling of kiwifruit grown in California. The amendments are proposed by the Kiwifruit Administrative Committee (committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order. The proposed amendments would redefine the districts into which the production area is divided, and provide for reallocation of committee membership; revise the committee selection and nomination processes; add authority for the committee to recommend and conduct research and market development programs; and revise committee meeting and voting procedures. In addition, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposes to make any such changes as may be necessary to the order to conform to any amendment that may result from the hearing. The proposals are intended to provide additional flexibility in administration of the order and provide the industry with additional tools to aid in the marketing of kiwifruit.
Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Program: Request for Referendum
This Notice announces that the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will 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. The Request for Referendum will be conducted on December 8, 2008 through January 2, 2009. Participation is voluntary. Only those persons who want a referendum on the Pork Checkoff Program will participate. 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 agreed to 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. If the results of the the Request for Referendum show 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.
Avocados Grown in South Florida; Revisions to Grade and Container Requirements
This rule changes the grade and container requirements currently prescribed under the marketing order for avocados grown in South Florida (order). The order regulates the handling of avocados grown in South Florida and is administered locally by the Avocado Administrative Committee (Committee). This change establishes a minimum grade of a U.S. No. 2 for shipments within the production area, requiring these shipments to meet the same grade as currently prescribed for shipments leaving the production area. This rule also makes changes to the container and container marking requirements under the order. These changes provide a grade and a pack to meet consumer demand and improve the identification and traceability of avocado shipments.
Almonds Grown in California; Relaxation of Incoming Quality Control Requirements
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule relaxing the incoming quality control requirements prescribed under 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 continues in effect the action that changed the date by which almond handlers must satisfy their inedible disposition obligation from August 31 to September 30 of each year. This change provides handlers more flexibility in their operations in light of larger almond crops.
Notice of Amendment to 2008 National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program
On September 22, 2008, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published in the Federal Register (73 FR 54555), a Notice of Funds Availability inviting all States of the United States of America, its territories, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, (collectively hereinafter called States) to submit an Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424), and to enter into a cooperative agreement with AMS for the allocation of National Organic Certification Cost-Share Funds. This Notice informs that the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (Program) is being amended to provide cost-share assistance through participating States, to organic producers and handlers receiving certification or continuation of certification by a USDA-accredited certifying agent commencing October 1, 2007, rather than the originally announced October 1, 2008. To effectuate this amendment to the Program, AMS will issue amended cooperative agreements to participating States. Funding will be available for fiscal year 2008 (October 1, 2007, through September 30, 2008) in all States signing and returning an amended cooperative agreement. This action will make funds available to a greater number of eligible persons and achieve Congress' intent that use of National Organic Certification Cost-Share Funds begin with fiscal year 2008. AMS has allocated a total of $22.0 million for the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program commencing in fiscal year 2008. Funds are available under this Program to interested States to assist organic producers and handlers certified under the National Organic Program (NOP), as appropriate.