Almonds Grown in California; Revision of Outgoing Quality Control Requirements
This rule revises the outgoing quality control regulations issued 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 revises the term ``validation'' under the Salmonella bacteria (Salmonella) treatment program by specifying that validation data must be both submitted to and accepted by the Board's Technical Expert Review Panel (TERP) for all treatment equipment prior to its use under this program. This will help ensure that all treatment equipment meets a 4-log reduction of Salmonella in almonds.
Nectarines and Peaches Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rates
This rule decreases the assessment rates established for the Nectarine Administrative Committee and the Peach Commodity Committee (Committees) for the 2009-10 and subsequent fiscal periods. The Nectarine Administrative Committee (NAC) program decreased its assessment rate from $0.06 to $0.0175 per 25-pound container or container equivalent of nectarines handled. The Peach Commodity Committee (PCC) program decreased its assessment rate from $0.06 to $0.0025 per 25-pound container or container equivalent of peaches handled. The Committees locally administer the marketing orders which regulate the handling of nectarines and peaches grown in California. Assessments upon nectarine and peach handlers are used by the Committees to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the programs. The fiscal periods run from March 1 through the last day of February. The assessment rates will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Soybean Promotion and Research: Amend the Order To Adjust Representation on the United Soybean Board
This proposed rule would adjust the number of members on the United Soybean Board (Board) to reflect changes in production levels that have occurred since the Board was last reapportioned in 2006. As required by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act (Act), membership on the Board is reviewed every 3 years and adjustments are made accordingly. This proposed change would result in an increase in Board membership for one State, increasing the total number of Board members from 68 to 69. These changes would be reflected in the Soybean Promotion and Research Order (Order) and would be effective for the 2010 appointment process.
Amendments to Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order and Referendum Order
This rule proposes to amend provisions of the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order (Order) to reapportion membership of the Mushroom Council (Council) to reflect shifts in United States mushroom production as well as to add language to the powers and duties section of the Order allowing the Council the power to develop and propose good agricultural and handling practices and related activities for mushrooms. Section 10104 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) (Pub. L. No. 110- 246) amended sections 1925(b)(2) and (c) of the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1990 (Act) [7 U.S.C. 6101- 6112]. Specifically, section 10104 changes the Act's requirements for geographic regions used to appoint producer members of the Council from four to three, and adjusts the pounds required by each region for Council membership, which will reallocate Council member representation in two of the three producer geographic regions (Regions 1 and 2). Section 10104 also added language to the powers and duties section of the Act that authorizes the Council to develop and propose good agricultural practices and related activities for mushrooms. This rule proposes changes to the Order based on these amendments to the Act. A referendum will be conducted among eligible producers and importers of mushrooms to determine whether they favor the amendments to the Order.
User Fees for 2009 Crop Cotton Classification Services to Growers
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will 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 rule will 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.
Kiwifruit Grown in California; Change in Reporting Requirements and New Information Collection
This rule invites comments on proposed changes to the reporting requirements currently prescribed under the marketing order that regulates the handling of kiwifruit grown in California. The order is administered locally by the Kiwifruit Administrative Committee (Committee). This rule would require handlers who ship 100,000 or more trays per season to file weekly shipment and price information with the Committee. Shipments of organic kiwifruit would be exempt from this requirement. The Committee would use this information to prepare its marketing policy statements and annual reports and to provide timely information to the industry to assist them in making marketing decisions throughout the season. This proposal also announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request approval from Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of a new information collection.
Cotton Research and Promotion Program: Referendum Procedures
This proposed rule would establish procedures which the Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use in conducting a referenda considering amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion Order (7 CFR part 1205) (Order) implementing section 14202 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246), herinafter the ``2008 Farm Bill.'' USDA is considering amendments to the Order, in a separate action, and referendum procedures would need to be in place prior for the industry to vote and consider these amendments. Referenda among cotton producers and cotton importers are required by the Cotton Research and Promotion Act (7 U.S.C. 2101-2118) (Act) to implement, amend, continue, or when appropriate to suspend, or to terminate the Order or any of its provisions. The provisions of this rule would be used for these referenda.
National Organic Program; Proposed Amendments to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (Crops and Processing)
This proposed rule would amend the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) to reflect recommendations submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) on November 30, 2007, and May 22, 2008. The