Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA); Purchase of Fruit, Vegetable, Dairy, and Meat Products Due to COVID-19 National Emergency-USDA Food Box Distribution Program
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces the availability of $3 billion in funds for the purchase and distribution of fresh produce and dairy and meat products for Americans facing challenges due to the COVID-19 national emergency. AMS is utilizing an existing commodity procurement infrastructure to streamline and expand delivery of fresh produce and dairy and meat products to non-profit and governmental organizations that can distribute the commodities to Americans in need. Interested entities may apply for program participation through AMS's solicitation process.
Administrative Procedures Governing Formulation of a Research and Promotion Order
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) invites comments on the proposed establishment of administrative procedures to govern formulation of new research and promotion programs under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (Act). This rule would specify the process for proposing such programs to USDA. The proposed rule would further clarify that AMS will continue to require associations of producers or individuals proposing new programs to post a bond or other collateral to reimburse USDA for the costs of program development.
Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West; Increased Assessment Rate
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2020-2021 and subsequent marketing years. The proposed assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan; Realignment
This proposal invites comments on realigning the representation on the National Watermelon Promotion Board (Board) prescribed in the Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan (Plan) by reducing the number of production districts and reducing the number importers on the Board, accordingly. This action would contribute to effective administration of the program.
National Organic Program (NOP); Request for Comment on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Economic Analysis Report
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) requests public comment on an Economic Analysis Report related to the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule (OLPP Rule), published on January 19, 2017, and the final rule withdrawing the OLPP Rule (Withdrawal Rule), published on March 13, 2018. The public comment process for the Economic Analysis Report is being conducted consistent with an Order of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which granted USDA's Motion to Remand a legal challenge to the Withdrawal Rule for purposes of clarifying and supplementing the record regarding the economic analysis underlying both the OLPP Rule and the Withdrawal Rule. (See Organic Trade Association v. USDA; Civil Action No. 17-1875 (RMC) (March 12, 2020), ECF No. 112).
Grain Inspection Advisory Committee Meeting; Postponed
On March 17, 2020, The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a notice that announced the next meeting for the Grain Inspection Advisory Committee, which was scheduled for April 1, 2020, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. & April 2, 2020, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. AMS is publishing this notice to announce that this federal advisory committee meeting has been postponed and will be re-scheduled at a later date.
2020/2021 Rates Charged for AMS Services
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the 2020/2021 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 2020/2021 regular, overtime, holiday, and laboratory services rates will be applied at the beginning of the crop year, fiscal year or as required by law 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. This year, all AMS user fee rates will remain unchanged.
Walnuts Grown in California; Hearing on Proposed Amendment of Marketing Order No. 984; Correction
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA, published a document in the Federal Register of February 11, 2020, announcing a public hearing to receive evidence on proposed amendments to Federal Marketing Order No. 984 (Order) regulating the handling of walnuts grown in California. The California Walnut Board (Board), which locally administers the Order, recommended proposed amendments that would add authority for the Board to provide credit for certain market promotion expenses paid by handlers against their annual assessments due under the Order and establish requirements to effectuate the new authority. In addition, AMS proposed to make changes to the Order as may be necessary to conform to any amendment that may result from the hearing. The date and method of the hearing have changed.
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; Changes to Reporting Requirements
This rule revises the reporting requirements prescribed under the Federal marketing order regulating the handling of pecans. This action reduces the number of monthly reporting requirements, revises the requirements for inter-handler transfers, and makes other conforming changes to the reporting requirements.
Subpart Nomenclature Change; Technical Amendment
This document makes nomenclature changes to subpart headings in the Agricultural Marketing Service's regulations to bring the language into conformance with the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) requirements.
Exceptions to Geographic Boundaries
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is issuing this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) in response to recent changes to the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA or Act). The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) amended the USGSA to allow customers to obtain grain inspection services from other than the designated official inspection agency (OA) for the customer's geographic area if the customer has not been receiving services from the designated OA. AMS is seeking public comment on criteria to evaluate requests submitted under this provision, known as the ``nonuse of service'' exception. The Agency is also seeking input on criteria to evaluate requests submitted under another USGSA exception provision, ``timely service.''