Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on this information collection for which RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S. C. Chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), invites comments on this information collection for which approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be requested.
Performance Review Board Appointments
This notice announces the appointment of the members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and Senior Level (SL) and Scientific or Professional (ST) Performance Review Boards (PRB) for the Department of Agriculture, as required by 5 U.S.C. 4314(c)(4). Agriculture has a total of six PRBs: the Secretary's PRB; Departmental Management and Staff Offices PRB; Natural Resources and Environment PRB; Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Rural Development, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services PRB; Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Food Safety PRB; and Research, Education, and Economics PRB. The PRBs comprise of career and noncareer executives and Chairpersons to make recommendations on the performance of executives to the Secretary, including performance ratings and bonuses for SES, SL, and ST employees. The boards meet annually to review and evaluate performance appraisal documents and provide written recommendations to the Secretary for final approval of performance ratings and base salary increases.
Project Financing Loans, Grants, and Loan Guarantees
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) seeks public comments on implementing the provisions of Section 6019 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) relating to water and waste disposal direct and guaranteed loans. RUS is requesting written comments regarding the Section 6019 provisions and their relation to project financing requirements. This public input will allow all affected stakeholders to contribute to the development of agency procedures for implementing these provisions that will continue to support the agency's mission of facilitating the development of affordable, reliable utility infrastructure to improve the quality of life and promote economic development in rural America. As part of our implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill, RUS will be hosting a listening session. The listening session will provide an opportunity for stakeholders and other interested parties to offer their comments, concerns or requests regarding the implementation of these provisions. Instructions regarding registering for and attending the listening session are in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION of this notice.
J.R. Simplot Co.; Availability of Petition for Determination of Nonregulated Status of Potato Genetically Engineered for Late Blight Resistance, Low Acrylamide Potential, Reduced Black Spot Bruising, and Lowered Reducing Sugars
We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has received a petition from the J.R. Simplot Company seeking a determination of nonregulated status for Innate\TM\ Potato designated as Russet Burbank event W8, which has been genetically engineered for late blight resistance, low acrylamide potential, reduced black spot bruising, and lowered reducing sugars. The petition has been submitted in accordance with our regulations concerning the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms and products. We are making the J.R. Simplot Company petition available for review and comment to help us identify potential environmental and interrelated economic issues and impacts that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service may determine should be considered in our evaluation of the petition.
Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics International; Determination of Nonregulatory Status of Genetically Engineered Alfalfa
We are advising the public of our determination that an alfalfa event developed by the Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics International, designated as event KK179, which has been genetically engineered to express reduced levels of guaiacyl lignin, is no longer considered a regulated article under our regulations governing the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms. Our determination is based on our evaluation of data submitted by the Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics International in its petition for a determination of nonregulatory status, our analysis of available scientific data, and comments received from the public in response to our previous notices announcing the availability of the petition for nonregulated status and its associated environmental assessment and plant pest risk assessment. This notice also announces the availability of our written determination and finding of no significant impact.
J.R. Simplot Co.; Determination of Nonregulated Status of Potato Genetically Engineered for Low Acrylamide Potential and Reduced Black Spot Bruise
We are advising the public of our determination that potatoes designated as InnateTM potatoes (events E12, E24, F10, F37, J3, J55, J78, G11, H37, and H50), which have been genetically engineered for low acrylamide potential (acrylamide is a human neurotoxicant and potential carcinogen that may form in potatoes and other starchy foods under certain cooking conditions) and reduced black spot bruise, are no longer considered a regulated article under our regulations governing the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms. Our determination is based on our evaluation of data submitted by J.R. Simplot Company in its petition for a determination of nonregulated status, our analysis of available scientific data, and comments received from the public in response to our previous notices announcing the availability of the petition for nonregulated status and its associated environmental assessment and plant pest risk assessment. This notice also announces the availability of our written determination and finding of no significant impact.
Brucellosis Class Free States and Certified Brucellosis-Free Herds; Revisions to Testing and Certification Requirements
We are adopting as a final rule, with changes, an interim rule that amended the brucellosis regulations to, among other things, reduce the amount of testing required to maintain Class Free status for States that have been Class Free for 5 or more years and have no Brucella abortus in wildlife. This document amends the interim rule to change the age at which cattle and domestic bison are included in herd blood tests from 6 months to 18 months of age for all sexually intact cattle and domestic bison, except when conducting herd blood tests as part of affected herd investigations or other epidemiological investigations. In addition, the rule allows certain States the option of either conducting brucellosis ring tests and participating in the slaughter surveillance program or developing an alternative surveillance plan that would have to meet or exceed the level of disease detection provided by combined brucellosis ring testing and slaughter surveillance testing. The rule also makes several minor changes in order to clarify the regulations. These changes are necessary to create flexibility in the brucellosis program, to refocus resources to control and prevent the spread of brucellosis, and to protect and maintain the economic viability of the domestic livestock industry.
Notice of Inquiry; Request for Comments on a New Beef Promotion, Research, and Information Order
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) requests public comments to inform its development of a beef promotion, research, and information order under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act). This request for comments offers the opportunity for interested individuals and organizations to provide views concerning provisions that would be included in an industry-funded promotion, research, and information program for beef and beef products. The proposed order would be in addition to the existing beef promotion and research program established under the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 (1985 Act). A referendum on an order established under the 1996 Act would be conducted 3 years after assessments begin to determine whether beef producers favor the program and if it should continue. A second referendum would be held within 7 years of the start of the program.