Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California and Imported Table Grapes; Change in Regulatory Periods
This rule revises the regulatory period when minimum grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements apply to southeastern California grapes under Marketing Order No. 925 (order), and to imported grapes under the table grape import regulation, from April 20 through August 15 of each year to April 10 through July 10 of each year. The order regulates the handling of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California and is administered locally by the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (Committee). The change to the regulatory period beginning date is needed to ensure that imported table grapes marketed in competition with domestic grapes are subject to the grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements of the order. Section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (Act) provides authority for such change. The change to the regulatory period ending date is needed to realign the regulatory period with current shipping trends for grapes in the order's production area. This rule also clarifies the maturity (soluble solids) requirements for southeastern California and imported Flame Seedless variety grapes.
United States Standards for Livestock and Meat Marketing Claims, Naturally Raised Claim for Livestock and the Meat and Meat Products Derived From Such Livestock
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is establishing a voluntary standard for a naturally raised marketing claim that livestock producers may request to have verified by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This standard incorporates revisions made as a result of comments received from an earlier proposed standard. A number of livestock producers make claims associated with production practices in order to distinguish their products in the marketplace and there are a growing number of entities that are capturing value-added opportunities by using alternative production methods to meet the demands of consumers and markets seeking meat and meat products from naturally raised livestock. This voluntary standard will allow livestock producers to utilize AMS' voluntary, third party verification services to provide validity to such naturally raised livestock claims and, in certain cases, access to markets that require AMS verification. AMS verification of this claim would be accomplished through an audit of the production process in accordance with procedures that are contained in Part 62 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR part 62).
Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty Crops-Import Regulations; Proposed Revision to Reporting Requirements
This rule revises the reporting requirements for imports of commodities regulated under section 608(e) (hereinafter referred to as ``8e'') of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. These changes require that the inspection certificates generated for each lot of such commodities include the entry number from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP or Customs) documentation that accompanies that lot. The changes also require that importers of raisins, dates, and dried prunes report products exempt from 8e import regulations on AMS Form FV-6``Importers' Exempt Commodity Form,'' which is the same form that is currently used by importers of all other commodities exempt from 8e import regulations. These changes are intended to streamline the tracking of imported products and provide uniformity in electronic reporting systems used by the industries and the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken, Goat Meat, Wild and Farm-Raised Fish and Shellfish, 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 contained a number of provisions that amended the COOL provisions in the Act. These changes included the addition of chicken, goat, macadamia nuts, pecans, and ginseng as covered commodities, the addition of provisions for labeling products of multiple origins, as well as a number of other changes. 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, on August 1, 2008, the Department published an interim final rule with a request for comments for all of the covered commodities other than wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish. The Agency is issuing this final rule for all covered commodities. This final rule contains definitions, the requirements for consumer notification and product marking, and the recordkeeping responsibilities of both retailers and suppliers for covered commodities.
Milk in the Mideast Marketing Area; Recommended Decision and Opportunity To File Written Exceptions on Proposed Amendments to Tentative Marketing Agreement and Order
This decision recommends adoption of a proposal to adjust Class I prices in certain counties of the Mideast Federal milk marketing order. Class I prices are recommended to be unchanged in 193 counties within the marketing area and to be increased by up to $0.20 per hundredweight in 110 counties in the southern portion of the marketing area. The original hearing proposal to adjust Class I prices is recommended for adoption, except it is modified to recommend a $0.20 increase in the Class I price at Charleston, West Virginia.
Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West; Salable Quantities and Allotment Percentages for the 2009-2010 Marketing Year
This rule would establish the quantity of spearmint oil produced in the Far West, by class that handlers may purchase from, or handle for, producers during the 2009-2010 marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2009. This rule invites comments on the establishment of salable quantities and allotment percentages for Class 1 (Scotch) spearmint oil of 842,171 pounds and 42 percent, respectively, and for Class 3 (Native) spearmint oil of 1,196,109 pounds and 53 percent, respectively. The Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee (Committee), the agency responsible for local administration of the marketing order for spearmint oil produced in the Far West, recommended these limitations for the purpose of avoiding extreme fluctuations in supplies and prices to help maintain stability in the spearmint oil market.
Tomatoes Grown In Florida; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule increases 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 will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.