Specialty Crop Block Grant Program-Farm Bill
This rule finalizes regulations to administer the Specialty Crop Block Grant ProgramFarm Bill (SCBGP-FB) to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. This action finalizes eligibility and application requirements and grant administration procedures for the SCBGP-FB consistent with the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) amendments to the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004. This program is separate from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP).
User Fees for 2009 Crop Cotton Classification Services to Growers
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing to raise user fees for cotton producers for 2009 crop cotton classification services under the Cotton Statistics and Estimates Act. These user fees also are authorized under the Cotton Standards Act of 1923. The 2008 user fee for this classification service was $2.00 per bale. This proposal would raise the fee for the 2009 crop to $2.20 per bale. The proposed fee and the existing reserve are sufficient to cover the costs of providing classification services, including costs for administration and supervision.
Tart Cherries Grown in the States of Michigan, et al.; Change to Fiscal Period
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule changing the fiscal period prescribed under the tart cherry marketing order (order). The order regulates the handling of tart cherries grown in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin and is administered locally by the Cherry Industry Administrative Board (Board). This rule continues in effect an action that changed the fiscal period from July 1 through June 30 to October 1 through September 30. This will improve the administration and the fiscal operation of the Board.
Kiwifruit Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rate
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule which decreased the assessment rate established for the Kiwifruit Administrative Committee (Committee) for the 2008-09 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.045 to $0.035 per 9-kilo volume-fill container or equivalent of kiwifruit. The Committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of kiwifruit grown in California. Assessments upon kiwifruit handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period begins on August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Notice of Meeting of the National Organic Standards Board
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing a forthcoming meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
Regulations Under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, 1930; Section 610 Review
This notice summarizes the results of an Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) review of the Regulations (Other than Rules of Practice) under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, 1930, as amended, under the criteria contained in section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). Based upon its review, AMS has determined that the Regulations (Other than Rules of Practice) under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, 1930, as amended, should be continued without change.
Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California and Imported Table Grapes; Relaxation of Handling Requirements
This rule relaxes the handling requirements prescribed under the California table grape marketing order (order) and the table grape import regulation. The order regulates the handling of table grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California and is administered locally by the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (committee). The import regulation is authorized under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 and regulates the importation of table grapes into the United States. This rule relaxes the one-quarter pound minimum bunch size requirement for the 2009 season for grapes packed in containers holding 2 pounds net weight or less. Under the relaxation, up to 20 percent of the weight of such containers may consist of single, unattached stems or clusters of at least five berries each. This action provides California desert grape handlers and importers the flexibility to respond to a marketing opportunity on a test basis for one season to meet consumer needs.
Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) Inviting Applications for the 2009 Farmers' Market Promotion Program (FMPP)
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces funding of approximately $5 million in competitive grant funds for fiscal year (FY) 2009 to increase domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. Examples of direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities include new farmers' markets, roadside stands, community supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to- consumer infrastructures. AMS hereby requests proposals from eligible entities from the following categories: (1) An agricultural cooperative or a producer network or association, (2) local governments, (3) nonprofit corporations, (4) public benefit corporations, (5) economic development corporations, (6) regional farmers' market authorities, and (7) Tribal governments. The maximum award per grant is $100,000. No matching funds are required. AMS strongly recommends that each applicant visit the AMS Web site at https://www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP to review a copy of the FMPP Guidelines and application package preparation information to assist in preparing the proposal narrative and application. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the information collection requirements have been previously approved by the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) under 0581-0235.
Nominations for Members of the National Organic Standards Board
The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990, as amended, requires the establishment of a National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The NOSB is a 15-member board that is responsible for developing and recommending to the Secretary a proposed National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The NOSB also advises the Secretary on all other aspects of the National Organic Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is requesting nominations to fill five (5) upcoming vacancies on the NOSB. The positions to be filled are: organic producer (2 positions), retailer (1 position), organic handler (1 position), and an environmentalist (1 position). The Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a person to each position to serve a 5-year term of office that will commence on January 24, 2010, and run until January 24, 2015. USDA encourages eligible minorities, women, and persons with disabilities to apply for membership on the NOSB.
Milk in the Appalachian and Southeast Marketing Areas; Order To Terminate Proceeding on Proposed Amendments to Marketing Agreements and Orders
This action terminates a rulemaking proceeding on two proposed amendments that sought to amend the producer-handler provisions of the Appalachian and Southeast milk marketing orders. Other proposed amendments considered as part of the rulemaking proceeding were addressed in previously issued decisions.
United States Standards for Livestock and Meat Marketing Claims, Naturally Raised Claim for Livestock and the Meat and Meat Products Derived From Such Livestock
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 (OMB), for a new information collection for CFR Part 62Quality Systems Verification Program (QSVP). AMS established 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 will become effective once this information collection is approved by OMB. 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). After approval, AMS will submit a request to merge this information collection into the currently approved OMB Number 0581-0124, 7 CFR Part 54 Meats, Prepared Meats and Meat Products (Grading, Certification & Standards) and 7 CFR Part 62 Quality Systems Verification Program (QSVP).
Raisins Produced From Grapes Grown in California; Final Free and Reserve Percentages for 2008-09 Crop Natural (Sun-Dried) Seedless Raisins
This rule establishes final volume regulation percentages for 2008-09 crop Natural (sun-dried) Seedless (NS) raisins covered under the Federal marketing order for California raisins (order). The order regulates the handling of raisins produced from grapes grown in California and is locally administered by the Raisin Administrative Committee (Committee). The volume regulation percentages are 87 percent free and 13 percent reserve. The percentages are intended to help stabilize raisin supplies and prices, and strengthen market conditions.
Vegetables, Import Regulations; Partial Exemption to the Minimum Grade Requirements for Fresh Tomatoes
This rule invites comments on a proposed partial exemption to the minimum grade requirements under the tomato import regulation. The Florida Tomato Committee (Committee) which locally administers the marketing order for tomatoes grown in Florida (order) recommended the change for Florida tomatoes. The change in the import regulation is required under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. A separate rule amending the rules and regulations under the order to exempt Vintage Ripes TM tomatoes (Vintage Ripes TM) from the shape requirements associated with the U.S. No. 2 grade is being issued by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This rule would provide the same partial exemption under the import regulation so it would conform to the regulations under the order.
Soybean Promotion, Research, and Information Program: Opportunity To Request a Referendum
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces that soybean producers may request a referendum to determine if producers want a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order (Order), as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act (Act). If at least 10 percent (not in excess of one- fifth of which may be producers in any one State) of the 589,182 eligible producers, as determined by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), participate in the Request for Referendum, a referendum will be held within 1 year from that determination. If results of the Request for Referendum indicate that a referendum is not supported, a referendum would not be conducted. The results of the Request for Referendum will be published in a Notice in the Federal Register.
Walnuts Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rate
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule which decreased the assessment rate established for the California Walnut Board (Board) for the 2008-09 and subsequent marketing years from $0.0158 to $0.0131 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 marketing year began September 1 and ends August 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Soybean Promotion, Research, and Information Program: Amend Procedures To Request a Referendum
This final rule amends the procedures to request a referendum under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information program, commonly known as the soybean checkoff program, by updating the number of soybean producers in the United States. The number of soybean producers, based on information provided by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA), is 589,182. Additionally, this rule amends the regulations pursuant to administrative changes to Web site addresses and office locations made for the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
Walnuts Grown in California; Changes to Regulations Governing Board Nominations
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, with a change, an interim final rule revising the administrative rules and regulations governing nominations for the California Walnut Board (Board). The Board locally administers the marketing order that regulates the handling of walnuts grown in California (order). This rule continues in effect an action that removes references to independent handlers, revises specifications under which groups of growers may submit nominations for certain grower positions on the Board, and corrects numerical references to other sections of the order. These changes are needed to bring the administrative rules and regulations into conformance with recently enacted amendments to the order concerning Board structure and nomination procedures.