National Organic Program; Origin of Livestock
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS) proposes to amend the origin of livestock requirements for dairy animals under the USDA organic regulations. This proposed action would specify that a producer can transition dairy animals into organic production once. This proposed action would clarify that, after completion of this one-time transition, any new dairy animals that a producer adds to a dairy farm would need to be managed organically from the last third of gestation or sourced from dairy animals that already completed their transition into organic production. This proposed action would also clarify how breeder stock should be managed on organic livestock farms.
Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Information Order; Assessment Rate Increase
This rule amends the Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Information Order (Order) to increase the assessment rate from $0.01 per pound to $0.015 per pound on honey and honey products, over a two-year period. The Order limits an increase in the assessment rate to no more than one-quarter cent per pound per year. Thus, the rate will increase to $0.0125 per pound for the period January 1 through December 31, 2015, and to $0.015 per pound on and after January 1, 2016. This increase was unanimously recommended by the Honey Packers and Importers Board (Board) which administers the Order with oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Under the program, assessments are collected from first handlers (packers) and importers and used for research and promotion projects designed to maintain and expand the market for honey and honey products in the United States and abroad. Additional funds will allow the Board to expand its production research activities and promotional efforts. The Board's production research focuses on maintaining the health of honey bee colonies. Increasing demand for honey and honey products will benefit the honey industry as a whole. This action also makes three additional changes to: Clarify that the assessment rate applies not only to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule numbers but to any other numbers used to identify honey; change the length of time that books and records are to be held; and change the exemption requirements.
Cranberries Grown in States of Massachusetts, et al.; Revising Determination of Sales History
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Cranberry Marketing Committee (Committee) to revise the determination of sales history provisions currently prescribed under the cranberry marketing order (order). The Committee, which consists of 13 growers and 1 public member, locally administers the order regulating the handling of cranberries grown in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York. Under the order, there are two different sales history calculations that have been established for this program. This action would clarify when the different methods for calculating sales history would be used. This action would also remove the fresh fruit exemption from one of the calculations.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Colorado and Imported Irish Potatoes; Relaxation of the Handling Regulation for Area No. 2 and Import Regulations
This rule revises the minimum quantity exception for potatoes handled under the Colorado potato marketing order, Area No. 2 (order). The order regulates the handling of Irish potatoes grown in Colorado and is administered locally by the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, Area No. 2 (Committee). This action increases the quantity of potatoes that may be handled under the order without regard to the order's handling regulation requirements from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds. The change in the import regulation is required under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. This action allows for the importation which, in the aggregate, does not exceed 2,000 pounds for all other round type potatoes, except red skinned, round type or long type potatoes that continue to remain at a 500 pound limit, to be imported without regard to the import regulations. This action is expected to benefit producers, handlers, and importers.
Avocados Grown in South Florida and Imported Avocados; Change in Maturity Requirements
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that changed the maturity requirements prescribed under the Florida avocado marketing order (order) and avocado import regulation. The interim rule changed 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 better reflects the current maturity rate for the Choquette variety, facilitating the shipment of this variety as it matures.
Cranberries Grown in States of Massachusetts, et. al.; Continuance Referendum
This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible producers of cranberries grown in the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York, to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order regulating the handling of cranberries grown in the production area.
Cotton Research and Promotion Program: Procedures for Conduct of Sign-Up Period
This proposed rule would amend the rules and regulations regarding the procedures for the conduct of a sign-up period for eligible cotton producers and importers to request a continuance referendum on the 1991 amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion Order (Order) provided for in the Cotton Research and Promotion Act (Act) amendments of 1990. The amendments would update various dates, name changes, addresses, and make other administrative changes.
2015 Rates Charged for AMS Services
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the 2015 rates it will charge 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 2015 regular, overtime, holiday, and laboratory services rates will be applied at the beginning of the crop year, fiscal year or as required by law (June 1 for cotton programs) depending on the commodity. This action established the rates for user-funded programs based on costs incurred by AMS.
National Organic Standards Board (NOSB): Call for Nominations
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) was established to assist in the development of standards for substances to be used in organic production and to advise the Secretary on the implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA). Through this Notice, The USDA is requesting nominations to fill five (5) upcoming vacancies on the NOSB. The positions are as follows: Farmers/growers (2), consumer/public interest advocates (2), and a USDA Accredited Certifying Agent (1). The Secretary of Agriculture will appoint one person to each of these five positions to serve a 5-year term of office that will commence on January 24, 2016, and end January 23, 2021.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Southeastern States; Suspension of Marketing Order Provisions
This rule continues the previous suspension of the marketing order regulating the handling of Irish potatoes grown in Southeastern states (order). Representatives of the Virginia/North Carolina Irish potato industry met and requested that the suspension of all provisions of the order, and the rules and regulations implemented thereunder be continued through March 1, 2017. The request was based on the belief that the industry needs more time to study changes in the industry, and any new developments which could affect the need for, or status of the order. If the industry does not petition to have the order reactivated by the end of the suspension period, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will propose to terminate the order.