Hops Produced in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California; Proposed Marketing Agreement and Order No. 991; Opportunity To File Additional Argument
This notice provides the opportunity to file additional argument relating to the establishment of an appropriate representative base period for the allocation of initial base under a proposed marketing agreement and order concerning hops grown in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. The proposal to establish a hop marketing order was submitted by the Hop Marketing Order Proponent Committee (committee), a group of industry members who support a marketing order for hops. A public hearing on the proposal was held in October 2003, where USDA heard testimony and received evidence from industry participants. This invitation for additional argument is intended to assist USDA in its further consideration of the proposal before rendering a recommended decision.
Marketing Order Regulating the Handling of Spearmint Oil Produced in the Far West; Revision of the Salable Quantity and Allotment Percentage for Class 3 (Native) Spearmint Oil for the 2004-2005 Marketing Year
This rule amends a prior interim final rule that increased the quantity of Class 3 (Native) spearmint oil produced in the Far West that handlers may purchase from, or handle for, producers during the 2004-2005 marketing year. The prior interim final rule increased the Native spearmint oil salable quantity from 773,474 pounds to 1,095,689 pounds, and the allotment percentage from 36 percent to 51 percent. This rule increases the Native spearmint oil salable quantity by an additional 171,873 pounds from 1,095,689 pounds to 1,267,562 pounds, and the allotment percentage by an additional 8 percent from 51 percent to 59 percent. The Spearmint Oil Administrative Committee (Committee), the agency responsible for local administration of the marketing order for spearmint oil produced in the Far West, unanimously recommended this rule to avoid extreme fluctuations in supplies and prices and to help maintain stability in the Far West spearmint oil market.
Melons Grown in South Texas; Temporary Suspension of Handling and Assessment Collection Regulations
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule suspending, for the 2004-05 fiscal period, the minimum grade, quality, maturity, container, pack, inspection, assessment collection, and other related requirements currently prescribed under the South Texas melon (cantaloupes and honeydews) marketing order (order). It also continues in effect the action that suspends reporting requirements, except for the acreage planting reports, which continue to be required during the suspension period. The order regulates the handling of melons grown in South Texas and is administered locally by the South Texas Melon Committee (Committee). This rule reduces handler costs while the industry evaluates whether the marketing order should be continued.
Olives Grown in California, Increased Assessment Rate
This proposed rule would increase the assessment rate established for the California Olive Committee (committee) for the 2005 and subsequent fiscal years from $12.18 to $15.68 per ton of olives handled. The committee locally administers the marketing order regulating the handling of olives grown in California. Authorization to assess olive handlers enables the committee to incur expenses that are reasonable and necessary to administer the program. The fiscal year began January 1 and ends December 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
USDA Farmers Market Operating Procedures
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking comments on procedures to administer the USDA Farmers Market at 12th Street & Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC. These procedures would allow AMS the means to demonstrate and experiment with direct marketing techniques (operate a farmers market), while at the same time educate consumers on the significance of small farms, the nutritional benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, and the merits of food recovery. Included in this proposed rule is the establishment of vendor criteria, selection procedures, and guidelines for governing the operation of the USDA Farmers Market. Information collection requirements are also included to establish a one-time yearly submission on a required application form.
Beef Promotion and Research: Certification and Nomination for the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board
Notice is hereby given that the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is accepting applications from State cattle producer organizations or associations and general farm organizations, as well as cattle or beef importer organizations, who desire to be certified to nominate producers or importers for appointment to vacant positions on the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board (Board). Organizations which have not previously been certified that are interested in submitting nominations must complete and submit an official application form to AMS. Previously certified organizations do not need to reapply. Notice is also given that vacancies will occur on the Board and that during a period to be established, nominations will be accepted from eligible organizations and individual importers.
Milk in the Mideast Marketing Area; Notice of Hearing on Proposed Amendments to Tentative Marketing Agreement and Order
A public hearing is being held to consider proposals that would amend certain provisions of the Mideast Federal milk marketing order. Proposals under consideration address: Eliminating the ability of the same milk to be simultaneously pooled on the Mideast order and on a State operated order with marketwide pooling; Changing the supply plant performance standards and diversion limits; Increasing the number of days a dairy farmer's milk production must be delivered to a pool plant for the milk of the dairy farmer to be eligible for diversion; Limiting the pooling of producer milk that was not pooled in a prior month(s); Establishing a ``dairy farmer for other markets'' provision; Establishing a transportation credit for milk; and Changing the producer-handler definition.
Tart Cherries Grown in the States of Michigan, et al.; Final Free and Restricted Percentages for the 2004-2005 Crop Year
This rule establishes final free and restricted percentages for the 2004-2005 crop year. The percentages are 72 percent free and 28 percent restricted and would establish the proportion of tart cherries from the 2004 crop which may be handled in commercial outlets. The percentages are intended to stabilize supplies and prices, and strengthen market conditions. The percentages were recommended by the Cherry Industry Administrative Board, the body that locally administers the marketing order. The marketing order regulates the handling of tart cherries grown in the States of Michigan, New York, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Cranberries Grown in the States of Massachusetts, et al.; Order Amending Marketing Agreement and Order No. 929
This final rule amends the marketing agreement and order for cranberries grown in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York. The amendments are based on those proposed by the Cranberry Marketing Committee (Committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order and other interested parties representing cranberry growers and handlers. The amendments will: Revise the volume control provisions; add authority for paid advertising; authorize the Committee to reestablish districts within the production area and reapportion grower membership among the various districts; clarify the definition of handle; and incorporate administrative changes. The amendments are intended to improve the operation and functioning of the cranberry marketing order program.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Washington; Secretary's Decision and Referendum Order on Proposed Amendments to Marketing Agreement and Order No. 946
This decision proposes amending the marketing agreement and order (order) for Irish potatoes grown in Washington, and provides producers with the opportunity to vote in a referendum to determine if they favor the changes. The amendments are based on those proposed by the State of Washington Potato Committee (Committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order. These amendments include: adding authority for container and marking regulations; requiring Committee producer members to have produced potatoes for the fresh market in at least 3 out of the last 5 years prior to nomination; updating order provisions pertaining to establishment of districts and apportionment of Committee membership among those districts; requiring Committee nominees to submit a written background and acceptance statement prior to selection by USDA; allowing for nominations to be held at industry meetings or events; adding authority to change the size of the Committee; and adding authority to allow temporary alternates to serve when a Committee member and that member's alternate are unable to serve. The USDA proposed two additional amendments: to establish tenure limitations for Committee members, and to require that continuance referenda be conducted on a periodic basis to ascertain producer support for the order. The proposed amendments are intended to improve the operation and functioning of the marketing order program.
Notice of Meeting of the National Organic Standards Board
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing a forthcoming meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
Walnuts Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rate
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, an interim final rule which decreased the assessment rate established for the Walnut Marketing Board (Board) for the 2004-05 and subsequent marketing years from $0.0101 to $0.0094 per kernelweight pound of assessable walnuts. The Board locally administers the marketing order (order) which regulates the handling of walnuts grown in California. Authorization to assess walnut handlers enables the Board to incur expenses that are reasonable and necessary to administer the program. The marketing year began August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Sweet Cherries Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Establishment of Minimum Size and Maturity Requirements for Lightly Colored Sweet Cherry Varieties
This rule establishes a minimum size requirement of 11-row size (\61/64\-inch diameter) and a minimum maturity requirement of 17 percent soluble solids for all lightly colored sweet cherry varieties shipped to fresh markets under the Washington sweet cherry marketing order. This rule was recommended by the Washington Cherry Marketing Committee (Committee), the agency responsible for local administration of the marketing order. Previously, only the Rainier variety of lightly colored sweet cherries met these requirements. This rule is intended to enhance the quality and image of all lightly colored sweet cherry varieties shipped to the fresh market, thereby increasing sales and improving returns to producers.
Beef Promotion and Research; Reapportionment
This final rule adjusts representation on the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board (Board), established under the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 (Act), to reflect changes in cattle inventories and cattle and beef imports that have occurred since the most recent Board reapportionment rule became effective in 2002. These adjustments are required by the Beef Promotion and Research Order (Order) and will result in a decrease in Board membership from 108 to 104, effective with the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) appointments for terms beginning early in the year 2006.
Sweet Cherries Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Secretary's Decision and Referendum Order on Proposed Amendments to Marketing Agreement and Order No. 923; Correction
The Agricultural Marketing Service published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2005, a Secretary's Decision and Referendum Order on proposed amendments to the Washington sweet cherry marketing order. This docket corrects the representative period for voting in the referendum from April 1, 2003, through March 31, 2004, to April 1, 2004, through February 28, 2005.
Raisins Produced From Grapes Grown in California; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule increases the assessment rate established for the Raisin Administrative Committee (Committee) for the 2004-05 and subsequent crop years from $8.00 to $11.00 per ton of free tonnage raisins acquired by handlers, and reserve tonnage raisins released or sold to handlers for use in free tonnage outlets. The Committee locally administers the Federal marketing order which regulates the handling of raisins produced from grapes grown in California (order). Authorization to assess raisin handlers enables the Committee to incur expenses that are reasonable and necessary to administer the program. The crop year runs from August 1 through July 31. The 2004-05 crop is smaller than normal, and no volume regulation will be implemented this year. As a result, some expenses funded by handler assessments will increase. The $8.00 per ton assessment rate will not generate enough revenue to cover expenses. The $11.00 per ton assessment will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Olives Grown in California; Redistricting and Reapportionment of Producer Membership on the California Olive Committee
This rule redefines the producer districts and reapportions each district's membership on the California Olive Committee (committee). The Federal marketing order for California olives (order) regulates the handling of canned ripe olives grown in California and is administered locally by the committee. This rule reduces the number of producer districts in the production area from four to two and reapportions the committee representation from each district to reflect the consolidation. These changes reflect recent shifts in olive acreage and producer numbers within the production area and should provide equitable committee representation from each district.
Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Tangelos Grown in Florida; Limiting the Volume of Small Red Seedless Grapefruit
This rule removes the weekly percentages established for the first 22 weeks of the 2004-05 season beginning September 20, 2004. The Citrus Administrative Committee voted to take this action following the crop losses the industry sustained from Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne. It is expected that this action will provide more red seedless grapefruit for shipment to the fresh fruit market.
Dried Prunes Produced in California; Increased Assessment Rate
This rule would increase the assessment rate established for the Prune Marketing Committee (committee) under Marketing Order No. 993 for the 2004-05 and subsequent crop years from $4.00 to $6.00 per ton of salable dried prunes. The committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of dried prunes grown in California. Authorization to assess dried prune handlers enables the committee to incur expenses that are reasonable and necessary to administer the program. The committee recommended a higher assessment rate because the 2004-05 crop is very small, and the higher assessment rate is needed to generate funds to meet program expenses and provide an adequate financial reserve. The crop year begins August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
National Organic Program: Development, Issuance, and Use of Guidance Documents
This notice sets forth the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) procedures for the development, issuance, and use of guidance documents. This document is intended to make the NOP's procedures clearer to the public.