Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order; Termination of Rulemaking Proceeding
This action terminates a rulemaking proceeding that proposed to establish a Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order (Order) under authority in the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act). The Order was proposed by the proponent group, the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC), and would have authorized a national research and promotion program for hardwood lumber and hardwood plywood. USDA issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking in response to the extensive comments received. Based on comments received, outstanding substantive questions and significant proposed modifications from stakeholders, USDA is terminating the proceeding. Termination of this proceeding will remove ex parte communication prohibitions and allow USDA to engage fully with all interested parties to discuss and consider the evolving needs of the industry going forward.
Walnuts Grown in California; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule implements a recommendation from the California Walnut Board (Board) for an increase of the assessment rate established for the 2015-16 and subsequent marketing years from $0.0189 to $0.0379 per kernelweight pound of walnuts handled under the marketing order. The Board locally administers the marketing order and is comprised of growers and handlers of walnuts operating within the area of production. Assessments upon walnut handlers are used by the Board to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The marketing year begins September 1 and ends August 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Domestic Dates Produced or Packed in Riverside County, California; Decreased Assessment Rate
This rule implements a recommendation from the California Date Administrative Committee (committee) for a decrease in the assessment rate established for the 2015-16 and subsequent crop years from $0.20 to $0.10 per hundredweight of dates handled. The committee locally administers the marketing order, which regulates the handling of dates grown or packed in Riverside County, California. Assessments upon date handlers are used by the committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The crop year begins October 1 and ends September 30. The new assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Pecans Grown in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas; Recommended Decision and Opportunity To File Written Exceptions To Proposed Marketing Agreement and Order No. 986
This Recommended Decision proposes the issuance of a marketing agreement and order (order) under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 to cover pecans grown in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. The proposed order would provide authority to collect industry data and to conduct research and promotion activities. In addition, the order would provide authority for the industry to recommend grade, quality and size regulation, as well as pack and container regulation, subject to approval by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program would be financed by assessments on pecan handlers and would be locally administered, under USDA oversight, by a Council of seventeen growers and shellers (handlers) nominated by the industry and appointed by USDA. This rule also announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's intention to request approval by the Office of Management and Budget of new information collection requirements to implement this program.
Defining Bona Fide Cotton Spot Markets for the World Cotton Futures Contract
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is amending the regulatory language to designate which bona fide cotton spot markets will be used to determine actual commercial differences in value for various grades above or below the basis grade in the settlement of World cotton futures contracts on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Designating bona fide cotton spot markets for the World cotton futures contract in the regulatory language will allow for AMS to collect spot market price data and publish spot quotes for the settlement of these specific contracts.
Soybean Promotion and Research: Amend the Order To Adjust Representation on the United Soybean Board
This final rule adjusts 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 2012. 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 change will result in an increase in Board membership for three States, resulting in an increase in the total number of Board members from 70 to 73. These changes will be reflected in the Soybean Promotion and Research Order (Order) and will be effective for the 2016 appointment process.
Raisins Produced From Grapes Grown in California; Proposed Amendments to Marketing Order
This proposed rule invites public comments on proposed amendments to Marketing Order No. 989, which regulates the handling of raisins produced from grapes grown in California. The Raisin Administrative Committee (Committee), which is responsible for the local administration of the order and is comprised of producers and handlers of raisins operating within the production area, recommended the amendments that would authorize the Committee to borrow from a commercial lending institution and authorize the establishment of a monetary reserve equal to up to one year's budgeted expenses. Allowing the Committee to utilize these customary business practices would help to improve administration of the order.
Plant Variety Protection Board; Open Meeting
Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing a meeting of the Plant Variety Protection Board (Board). The meeting is being held to discuss a variety of topics including, but not limited to, work and outreach plans, subcommittee activities, and proposals for procedure changes. The meeting is open to the public. This notice sets forth the schedule and location for the meeting.
Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; Proposed Amendments to Marketing Order and Referendum Order
This rulemaking proposes three amendments to Marketing Order No. 925 (order), which regulates the handling of table grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California. Two amendments are based on proposals made by the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (Committee), which is responsible for the local administration of the order. These two amendments would increase term lengths for Committee members and alternates from one to four fiscal periods and would allow new members and alternates to agree to accept their nominations prior to selection. The amendments are intended to increase the Committee's effectiveness and bolster industry participation in Committee activities. In addition to the Committee's two amendments, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) would amend the order to add authority for periodic continuance referenda which would allow producers to indicate whether or not there is continuing support for the order.
Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California and Imported Table Grapes; Revision to the Administrative Rules and Regulations for Shipments to Charitable Organizations
This proposed rule invites comments on a recommendation from the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (Committee) to revise the administrative rules and regulations of the Federal marketing order for grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California (order) and the table grape import regulation. The Committee is responsible for the local administration of the order. This proposal would allow handlers and importers to ship grapes that do not meet the minimum grade and size quality requirements to be donated to charitable organizations. Any such grapes would not be used for resale. This proposal also announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to seek the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval on a new form that would revise the currently approved information collection issued under the order. The import regulation is authorized under section 608e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 and regulates the importation of table grapes into the United States. The proposal would provide an additional outlet for grapes regulated under the order and would assist USDA's efforts to reduce food waste in support of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge.