Fees for Rice Inspection Services and Removal of Specific Fee References
This final rule revises the regulations governing the sampling, inspection, weighing, and certification of rice performed under authority of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (AMA), as amended, by decreasing fees by 20 percent for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and by another 20 percent for FY 2021. These revisions are necessary to lower the balance in the program's operating reserve to a level adequate to cover three to six months' expenses. AMS is implementing the standardized AMS user-fee calculations used in other AMS programs for rice inspection services beginning in FY 2022.
Revision of Three U.S. Grade Standards for Carrots
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposes to revise the U.S. Standards for Grades of Topped Carrots, U.S. Standards for Grades of Bunched Carrots, and U.S. Standards for Grades of Carrots with Short Trimmed Tops. AMS is proposing to add more U.S. No. 1 grades to accommodate carrots of colors other than orange, orange red, and orange scarlet. The current U.S. No. 1 grades would remain unchanged. In addition, AMS is proposing to remove the Unclassified section and renumber sections due to the additional grades.
Revisions to the Federal Seed Act Regulations
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) invites comments on proposed revisions to regulations that implement the Federal Seed Act (FSA). The proposals include revisions to seed labeling, testing, and certification requirements. The proposed revisions would add certain seed species to the lists of covered kinds of seed and update the lists to reflect current scientific nomenclature; update regulations related to seed quality, germination and purity standards, and acceptable seed testing methods; and update seed certification and recertification requirements, including new eligibility standards and the recognition of current breeding techniques. AMS intends to align FSA regulations with current industry practices, harmonize FSA testing methods with industry standards, and clarify confusing or contradictory language in the existing regulations. AMS expects the proposed revisions to reduce trade burden associated with interstate seed commerce and encourage compliance with State and Federal laws.
National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard; Validation of Refining Processes
Notice is hereby given that the comment period for a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on December 17, 2019, is reopened. The document invited comments on draft instructions for validation of refining processes as it pertains to the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (Standard).
Walnuts Grown in California; Stays of Reserve Obligation and Its Requirements
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the California Walnut Board (Board) to stay the reserve obligation and its requirements currently prescribed under the Federal marketing order for walnuts grown in California. The proposed rule would also make conforming changes to remove references to the reserve obligation and its requirements.
Privacy Act of 1974: New System of Records
In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposes to add a system of records to its inventory of records systems. The system of records will cover information collected under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program in AMS. This notice is necessary to meet the Privacy Act requirement that a Federal Register notice describing the existence and character of record systems to be maintained by the agency be published.
Undue and Unreasonable Preferences and Advantages Under the Packers and Stockyards Act
Comments are invited on the proposed establishment of a new regulation under the Packers and Stockyards Act, which protects fair trade, financial integrity, and competitive marketing for livestock, meat, and poultry. The proposed regulation would specify criteria the Secretary of Agriculture would consider when determining whether an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage has occurred in violation of that Act. Establishment of these criteria is required by a provision of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill).
Beef Promotion and Research Rules and Regulations
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is amending the Beef Promotion and Research Order (Order) by updating the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes for imported cattle, beef, veal, and beef product to conform with recent updates by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) and used by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to assist in the collection of beef checkoff assessments.
Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Apricots Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Increased Assessment Rate
This final rule implements a recommendation from the Washington Apricot Marketing Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2019-2020 and subsequent fiscal periods. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Regulations and Procedures Under the Plant Variety Protection Act
This final rule revises the regulations, fees for services, and procedures established under the Plant Variety Protection Act. The revisions are necessary to conform with recent amendments to the Plant Variety Protection Act, which added authority for the Plant Variety Protection Office to issue certificates of protection for varieties of plants that are reproduced asexually. This rule adds references to the term ``asexual reproduction'' to the regulations established under the Plant Variety Protection Act and establishes procedures for obtaining variety protection for asexually reproduced plant varieties. This rule also modernizes the regulations by simplifying the fee schedule for PVPO services and updating the regulations relating to administrative procedures to reflect current business practices.