Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Tangelos Grown in Florida; Relaxing Grade Requirements on Valencia and Other Late Type Oranges
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that changed the minimum grade requirements prescribed under the marketing order for oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and tangelos grown in Florida (order). The interim rule reduced the minimum grade requirement for Valencia and other late type oranges shipped to interstate markets from a U.S. No. 1 to a U.S. No. 1 Golden from May 15 through June 14 each season and to a U.S. No.2 external/U.S. No. 1 internal from June 15 through August 31 each season. This rule provides additional Valencia and other late type oranges for late season markets, helping to maximize fresh shipments.
National Organic Program (NOP); Amendments to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (Crops and Processing)
This final rule amends the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) to reflect a recommendation submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) on October 18, 2012, and removes two previously expired substances. Consistent with the recommendation from the NOSB, this final rule adds biodegradable biobased mulch film to the National List with restrictive annotations. This action also adds a new definition for biodegradable biobased mulch film. This rule also removes two listings for nonorganic agricultural substances from the National List, hops (Humulus lupulus) and unmodified rice starch, as their use exemptions expired on January 1, 2013, and June 21, 2009, respectively. Two other substances that were recommended by the NOSB to the Secretary for addition to the National List, Citrus hystrix, leaves and fruit, and curry leaves (Murraya koenigii), have not been added to the National List based on comments received on the proposed rule.
United States Standard of Identity for Honey; Extension of Comment Period
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the comment period for the solicitation of comments on how a Federal standard of identity for honey would be in the interest of consumers, the honey industry, and U.S. agriculture.
National Sheep Industry Improvement Center
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is affirming without changes, its interim rule to promulgate rules and regulations as provided under the Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) amends the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (NSIIC) regulations to redesignate the statutory authority from the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, amends the definition of Act consistent with the redesignated statutory authority, and amends the regulations by increasing the administrative cap for the use of the fund from 3 percent to 10 percent.
Avocados Grown in South Florida and Imported Avocados; Change in Maturity Requirements
This rule changes the maturity requirements currently prescribed under the Florida avocado marketing order (order). The order regulates the handling of avocados grown in South Florida and is administered locally by the Avocado Administrative Committee (Committee). The corresponding change in the avocado import regulation is required under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. This rule changes the maturity shipping schedule to allow certain sizes and weights of the Choquette avocado variety to be shipped to the fresh market earlier. With this change, the maturity schedule will better reflect the current maturity rate for the Choquette variety, facilitating the shipment of this variety as it matures.
Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Program: Amendment of Procedures and Notification of Request for Referendum
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is affirming without changes its interim rule (79 FR 12037) to amend the procedures to Request a Referendum at 7 CFR Part 1220 by removing the specific number of soybean producers eligible to request a referendum under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information program, commonly known as the Soybean Checkoff Program. The number of soybean producers will be replaced with language that allows the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) to update this number based on information provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Additionally, this rule removes specific USDA and Farm Service Agency (FSA) Web site and office addresses and replaces them with more flexible language. These changes will enable AMS to announce future Requests for Referendum without engaging in additional informal rulemaking.
Results of Soybean Request for Referendum
The results of the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) Request for Referendum indicate that too few soybean producers wanted a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order (Order) for one to be conducted. The Request for Referendum was conducted from May 5, 2014, through May 30, 2014, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency county offices. To trigger a referendum, 56,999 soybean producers needed to complete a valid Request for Referendum. The total number of soybean producers participating in the referendum was 355. The number of valid petitions received was 324.
Process for Establishing Rates Charged for AMS Services
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing to amend its regulations to provide for a set of standardized formulas by which fees are calculated. The methodology used to calculate and implement the fees charged by AMS user-funded programs would be specified in the regulations. Currently, AMS publishes separate rules for each of the service fees it collects. The fees are calculated using formulas to account for all costs incurred by AMS in providing these services. Each year, fees would be announced in a notice in the Federal Register by June 1 and take effect at the start of the fiscal year, crop year, or as required by specific laws. This would provide greater transparency to the customers we serve as to how the fees are derived. The standardized formulas would be used to calculate fees that AMS charges for providing voluntary grading, inspection, certification, auditing and laboratory services for a variety of agricultural commodities including meat and poultry, fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy products, and cotton and tobacco. The fees would also apply to those persons requesting such services including producers, handlers, processors, importers and exporters. Fees charged for inspection of fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops subject to the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 also would be affected by this rule. Provisions of this proposed rule would not supersede rates established by Memorandum of Understanding, Marketing Orders, or by cooperative agreements already in place. Furthermore, the cotton program would continue to consult with its industry before rates are established.
Notice of Meeting of the National Organic Standards Board
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, (5 U.S.C. App.), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing an upcoming meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Written public comments are invited in advance of the meeting, and the meeting will include scheduled time for oral comments from the public.
Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee
Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing a meeting of the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (Committee). The meeting is being convened to examine the full spectrum of fruit and vegetable issues and provide recommendations and ideas to the Secretary of Agriculture on how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can tailor programs and services to better meet the needs of the U.S. produce industry. The meeting is open to the public. This notice sets forth the schedule and location for the meeting.