National Organic Program; Periodic Residue Testing
This proposed rule would clarify a provision of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and the regulations issued thereunder that require periodic residue testing of organically produced agricultural products by accredited certifying agents. The proposed rule would amend the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) regulations to make clear that accredited certifying agents must conduct periodic residue testing of agricultural products that are to be sold, labeled, or represented as ``100 percent organic,'' organic,'' or ``made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)).'' The proposed rule would expand the amount of residue testing of organically produced agricultural products by clarifying that sampling and testing are required on a regular basis. The proposed rule would require that certifying agents, on an annual basis, sample and conduct residue testing from a minimum of five percent of the operations that they certify. This action would help further ensure the integrity of products produced and handled under the NOP regulations.
Proposed National Marketing Agreement Regulating Leafy Green Vegetables; Recommended Decision and Opportunity To File Written Exceptions to Proposed Marketing Agreement No. 970
This recommended decision proposes the issuance of a marketing agreement (agreement) under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 to cover the handling of fresh leafy green vegetables in the United States. Leafy green vegetables include lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and similar items. The proposed agreement would authorize the development and implementation of production and handling regulations (audit metrics) to reflect United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Good Handling Practices (GHPs). The program would be voluntary, and cover both United States and imported leafy green vegetables. Signatory handlers would agree to only handle leafy green vegetables that meet the requirements of the program. The program would be financed primarily by assessments collected from signatory first handlers. A Board, whose members would be appointed by the Secretary, would administer the proposed agreement with USDA oversight. This rule also announces USDA Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request approval by the Office of Management and Budget for new information collection requirements to implement this program.
Wholesale Pork Reporting Negotiated Rulemaking Committee
This document announces the third meeting of the Wholesale Pork Reporting Negotiated Rulemaking Committee (Committee). The primary purpose of the Committee is to develop proposed language to amend the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) regulations to implement mandatory pork price reporting, as directed by the Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-239).
Notice of Meeting of the National Organic Standards Board
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced on March 4, 2011 a forthcoming meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) (76 FR 12013). The March 4, 2011 notice provided for five-minute public comment slots. Due to the overwhelming number of people who have signed up to present comments, AMS is informing the public that each public comment slot will be three minutes.
Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order
This rule proposes a Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order (Order). Softwood lumber is used in products like flooring, siding and framing. The program would be financed by an assessment on softwood lumber domestic manufacturers and importers and would be administered by a board of industry members selected by the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary). The initial assessment rate would be $0.35 per thousand board feet of softwood lumber shipped within or imported to the United States. The purpose of the program would be to strengthen the position of softwood lumber in the marketplace, maintain and expand markets for softwood lumber, and develop new uses for softwood lumber within the United States. This rule also announces that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is conducting a referendum among eligible domestic softwood lumber manufacturers and importers to determine whether they favor implementation of the program. The program would be implemented if it is favored by a majority of those voting in the referendum who also represent a majority of the volume of softwood lumber represented in the referendum. A separate final rule on referendum procedures is being published in this issue of the Federal Register.
Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order; Referendum Procedures
This rule establishes procedures for conducting a referendum to determine whether issuance of a proposed Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order (Order) is favored by domestic manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber. Softwood lumber is used in products like flooring, siding and framing. The procedures will also be used for any subsequent referendum under the Order. The proposed Order is being published separately in this issue of the Federal Register.
Nectarines and Peaches Grown in California; Suspension of Handling Requirements
This rule suspends the quality, inspection, reporting, and assessment requirements specified under the California nectarine and peach marketing orders (orders). The orders regulate the handling of nectarines and peaches grown in California. During recent referenda, less than the required two-thirds majority of growers, by number and production volume, favored continuation of the orders. After consideration of the referendum results and other factors, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided to seek termination of the orders. Suspension of the handling regulations for the 2011 and subsequent marketing seasons will relieve handlers of all regulatory burden under the orders while USDA processes the terminations. Termination of the orders must be delayed until after a 60-day Congressional notification period following issuance of a proposed rule, which will be published in a future issue of the Federal Register.
Plant Variety Protection Board; Open Meeting
This notice is intended to notify the public of their opportunity to attend an open meeting of the Plant Variety Protection Board.
Fresh Prunes Grown in Designated Counties in Washington and in Umatilla County, OR; Termination of Marketing Order 924
This final rule terminates the Federal marketing order regulating the handling of fresh prunes grown in designated counties in Washington and in Umatilla County, Oregon, and the rules and regulations issued thereunder. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined that the marketing order is no longer an effective marketing tool for the fresh prune industry, and that termination best serves the current needs of the industry while also eliminating the costs associated with the operation of the marketing order.
Notice of Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Collection
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this notice announces that the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget of a revision to a currently approved information collection ``Laboratory Approval Programs'' in support of U.S. agricultural commodities.
Grapes Grown in Designated Area of Southeastern California; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule increases the assessment rate established for the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (Committee) for the 2011 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.01 to $0.0125 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled. The Committee locally administers the marketing order, which regulates the handling of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California. Assessments upon grape handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period began January 1 and ends December 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended or terminated.
Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act: Impact of Post-Default Agreements on Trust Protection Eligibility
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is amending the regulations under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) to allow, if there is a default in payment as defined in the regulations, a seller, supplier, or agent who has met the PACA trust eligibility requirements to enter into a scheduled agreement for payment of the past due amount without foregoing its trust eligibility. USDA is also amending 7 CFR 46.46(e)(2) by adding the words ``prior to the transaction.'' This change clarifies that the 30-day maximum time period for payment to which a seller can agree and still qualify for coverage under the trust refers to pre-transaction agreements.
Beef Promotion and Research; Reapportionment
This proposed rule would adjust representation on the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board (Board), established under the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 (Act), to reflect changes in cattle inventories and cattle and beef imports that have occurred since the most recent Board reapportionment rule became effective in October 2008. These adjustments are required by the Beef Promotion and Research Order (Order) and would result in a decrease in Board membership from 106 to 103, effective with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) appointments for terms beginning early in the year 2012.
Raisins Produced From Grapes Grown in California; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule increases the assessment rate established for the Raisin Administrative Committee (committee) for the 2010-11 and subsequent crop years from $7.50 to $14.00 per ton of free tonnage raisins acquired by handlers and reserve tonnage raisins released or sold to handlers for use in free tonnage outlets. The committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of California raisins produced from grapes grown in California. Assessments upon raisin handlers are used by the committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The 2010-11 crop year began August 1 and ends July 31. No volume regulation will be implemented for the 2010-11 crop year, and no reserve pool will be established for this crop. Some committee expenses usually covered by reserve pool revenues must therefore be covered by handler assessments, necessitating an increased assessment rate. The $14.00 per ton assessment would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Notice of Request for Approval of a New 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 approval, from the Office of Management and Budget, for a new information collection titled Data Collection for Container Availability.
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 (1 position), organic handler (1 position), consumer/public interest (1 position), scientist (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, 2012, and run until January 24, 2017. USDA encourages eligible individuals who can demonstrate an ability to represent minorities, women, and persons with disabilities to apply for membership on the NOSB.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Washington; Decreased Assessment Rate
This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the State of Washington Potato Committee (Committee) for the 2011-2012 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0035 to $0.003 per hundredweight of potatoes handled. The Committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of Irish potatoes grown in Washington. Assessments upon Washington potato handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period begins July 1 and ends June 30. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.