Raisins Produced From Grapes Grown in California; Recommended Decision and Opportunity To File Written Exceptions to Proposed Amendment of Marketing Order No. 989
This recommended decision proposes amendments to Marketing Order No. 989 (order), which regulates the handling of raisins grown in California. Five amendments are proposed by the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC or Committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order. These proposed amendments would: Authorize production research; establish new nomination procedures for independent producer member and alternate member seats; add authority to regulate quality; add authority to establish different regulations for different markets; and add a continuance referenda requirement. In addition, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposed two amendments. These amendments would remove order language pertaining to volume regulation and reserve pool authority and would establish term limits for Committee members. In addition, AMS proposed to make any such changes as may be necessary to the order to conform to any amendment that may result from the hearing. These proposed amendments are intended to update the order to reflect changes in the industry and potential future changes, and to improve the operation and administration of the order.
Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order; De Minimis Quantity Exemption Threshold
This action proposes to establish a de minimis quantity exemption threshold under the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order (Order). The Order is administered by the Softwood Lumber Board (Board) with oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In response to a 2016 federal district court decision, USDA conducted a new analysis to determine a reasonable and appropriate de minimis threshold. Based on that analysis contained herein, this proposal would establish the de minimis quantity threshold at 15 million board feet (mmbf) and entities manufacturing (and domestically shipping) or importing less than 15 mmbf per year would be exempt from paying assessments under the Order.
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), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is announcing a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to assist the USDA in the development of standards for substances to be used in organic production and to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on any other aspects of the implementation of Organic Foods Production Act.
Beef Promotion and Research Rules and Regulations
This final rule amends the Beef Promotion and Research Order (Order) established under the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 (Act) by adding six Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes for imported veal and veal products and updating assessment levels for imported veal and veal products based on revised determinations of live animal equivalencies. In addition to the foregoing, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is amending the Order's definition of ``Imported beef or beef products'' by deleting its reference to tariff numbers that are no longer in use and obsolete.
Walnuts Grown in California; Proposed Amendment to Marketing Order 984 and Referendum Order
This rule proposes one amendment to Marketing Order No. 984 (order), which regulates the handling of walnuts grown in California, and provides growers with the opportunity to vote in a referendum to determine if they favor the change. This amendment was proposed by the California Walnut Board (Board), which is responsible for the local administration of the order and is comprised of walnut growers and handlers operating within the production area. The amendment would authorize the Board to borrow from a commercial lending institution to fund operations and marketing/research expenses. This proposed amendment is intended to reflect a customary business practice that will provide greater flexibility to the Board while increasing its effectiveness.
Minimum Quality and Handling Standards for Domestic and Imported Peanuts Marketed in the United States; Change to the Quality and Handling Requirements
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Peanut Standards Board (Board) to revise the minimum quality and handling standards for domestic and imported peanuts marketed in the United States (Standards). The Board advises the Secretary of Agriculture regarding potential changes to the Standards and is comprised of producers and industry representatives. This action would relax the allowance for damaged kernels in farmers stock peanuts when determining segregation. This change would increase the allowance for damaged kernels under Segregation 1 from not more than 2.49 percent to not more than 3.49 percent. The requirements for Segregation 2 would also be adjusted to reflect this change. The Board recommended this change to align the incoming standards with recent changes to the outgoing quality standards and to help increase returns to producers.
Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West; Salable Quantities and Allotment Percentages for the 2017-2018 Marketing Year
This final rule implements a recommendation from the Far West Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee (Committee) to establish the quantity of spearmint oil produced in the Far West, by class, that handlers may purchase from, or handle on behalf of, producers during the 2017-2018 marketing year, which begins on June 1, 2017. The Far West production area includes the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and designated parts of Nevada and Utah. The Committee locally administers the marketing order and is comprised of spearmint oil producers operating within the area of production. This action establishes salable quantities and allotment percentages for Class 1 (Scotch) spearmint oil of 774,645 pounds and 36 percent, respectively, and for Class 3 (Native) spearmint oil of 1,075,051 pounds and 44 percent, respectively. The Committee recommended these salable quantities and allotment percentages to help maintain stability in the spearmint oil market.
Changes to Reporting and Notification Requirements and Other Clarifying Changes for Imported Fruits, Vegetables, and Specialty Crops
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that updated reporting and notification requirements associated with, and made clarifying changes to, the fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop import regulations for certain commodities regulated under section 608(e) (hereinafter referred to as ``8e'') of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. The interim rule shifted the exempt reporting requirement for imported tomatoes destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes from the tomato import regulations to the safeguard procedures section of the vegetable import regulations. In addition, the pistachio import regulations were updated by removing reference to a paper-based notification of entry process. Other administrative changes were made to several of the 8e regulations to replace outdated information. These changes to the import regulations support the International Trade Data System (ITDS), a system that streamlines and automates the filing of import and export information by the trade.
Tart Cherries Grown in the States of Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin; Modification of Allocation of Assessments
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Tart Cherry Industry Administrative Board (Board) to increase the portion of assessments allocated to research and promotion activities from $0.005 to $0.006 per pound of tart cherries and decrease the portion allocated to administrative expenses from $0.0025 to $0.0015 per pound of tart cherries handled under the marketing order (order). The overall assessment rate would remain unchanged at $0.0075 per pound of tart cherries. The Board locally administers the order and is comprised of producers and handlers of tart cherries operating within the area of production, and one public member. Assessments upon tart cherry handlers are used by the Board to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period begins October 1 and ends September 30. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
United States Standards for Grades of Cauliflower
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is revising the United States Standards for Grades of Cauliflower. The revision amends the color requirement to allow all colors of cauliflower to be certified to a U.S. grade. In addition, AMS is amending the size requirement to allow curds less than 4 inches in diameter to be certified to a grade, adding marking requirements for curd sizes less than 4 inches in diameter, and removing references to an unclassified category of cauliflower.
Notice of Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request approval, from the Office of Management and Budget, for an extension of and revision to the currently approved information collection for the Child Nutrition Labeling Program.
National Organic Program (NOP); Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Second Proposed Rule
This proposed rule sets forth the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) intention to pursue one of several actions on the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Final Rule (FR) published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017, by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). USDA is asking the public to comment on the possible actions USDA should take in regards to the disposition of the FR. The FR amends the organic livestock and poultry production requirements in the USDA organic regulations by adding new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions; and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices and mammalian living conditions. The FR was originally set to take effect on March 20, 2017, and is now being extended to November 14, 2017.
National Organic Program (NOP); Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices
The United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is delaying the effective date of the rule published on January 19, 2017, for an additional six months to November 14, 2017, to allow time for further consideration by USDA. The effective date for this rule was initially March 20, 2017, and was subsequently delayed to May 19, 2017, by a document published in the Federal Register on February 9, 2017. The final rule amends the organic livestock and poultry production requirements by adding new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions; and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices and mammalian living conditions.
2017 Rates Charged for AMS Services
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the 2017 rates it will charge for 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 2017 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 most cotton programs) depending on the commodity. Other starting dates are added to this notice based on cotton industry practices. This action establishes the rates for user-funded programs based on costs incurred by AMS.