Revision of User Fees for 2005 Crop Cotton Classification Services to Growers
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will raise user fees for cotton producers for 2005 crop cotton classification services under the Cotton Statistics and Estimates Act. The 2004 user fee for this classification service was $1.65 per bale. This rule will raise the fee for the 2005 crop to $1.85 per bale with the program. This fee and the existing reserve are sufficient to cover the costs of providing classification services, including costs for administration and supervision.
Dried Prunes Produced in California; Suspension of Handling and Reporting Requirements, Extension of the Suspension of Outgoing Inspection and Volume Control Regulations, and Extension of the Suspension of the Prune Import Regulation
This rule suspends indefinitely all remaining handling and most reporting requirements under Marketing Order No. 993, beginning August 1, 2005. The marketing order regulates the handling of dried prunes produced in California and is administered locally by the Prune Marketing Committee (committee). This rule also indefinitely extends the suspensions of the outgoing inspection and prune import regulations, and volume control regulations, currently temporarily suspended until August 1, 2006, and August 1, 2008, respectively.
Tomatoes Grown in Florida; Revisions in Requirements for Certificates of Privilege
This rule invites comments on revisions to the Certificate of Privilege (COP) requirements currently prescribed under the Florida tomato marketing order (order). The order regulates the handling of tomatoes grown in Florida and is administered locally by the Florida Tomato Committee (Committee). This rule would require those interested in receiving Florida tomatoes shipped under a COP to apply to the Committee to become an approved receiver. This rule would also clarify the definitions for processing and pickling as used in the rules and regulations under the order. These changes would assist the Committee in assuring that COP tomatoes are disposed of into COP outlets.
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
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, the provisions of three interim final rules 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. This rule continues in effect the actions that increased the Native spearmint oil salable quantity by an additional 580,024 pounds from 773,474 pounds to 1,353,498 pounds, and the allotment percentage by an additional 27 percent from 36 percent to 63 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.
Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California and Imported Table Grapes; Proposed Change in Regulatory Periods
This proposed rule would revise the regulatory periods when minimum grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements apply to southeastern California grapes under Marketing Order No. 925 (order), and to imported grapes under the table grape import regulation. The current regulatory periods for both domestic and imported grapes are April 20 through August 15 of each year. The California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (Committee), which locally administers the order, unanimously recommended changing the date when these requirements expire for grapes grown in California to July 10 because few grapes are normally shipped after that date. A corresponding change for imported table grapes is required under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. The Desert Grape Growers League of California (the ``League'') requested that the beginning date of the regulatory period for imported table grapes be changed from April 20 to April 1. The League requested this change to prevent the marketing of grape imports that do not meet the California grape order's grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements. The Act provides authority for such change. If implemented, the regulatory period for domestic grapes would be April 1-July 10 so both sets of requirements apply during the same time period. This proposed rule also would clarify the maturity (soluble solids) requirements for southeastern California and imported Flame Seedless variety grapes.
Department of Agriculture Civil Monetary Penalties Adjustment
In accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended, this final rule adjusts civil monetary penalties imposed by agencies within USDA to incorporate an inflation adjustment.
Milk in the Appalachian and Southeast Marketing Areas; Partial Recommended Decision and Opportunity To File Written Exceptions on Proposed Amendments to Tentative Marketing Agreements and to Orders
This document recommends adoption of provisions that would expand the Appalachian milk marketing area, eliminate the ability to simultaneously pool the same milk on the Appalachian or Southeast order and a State-operated milk order that has marketwide pooling, and amend the transportation credit provisions of the Southeast and Appalachian orders. This decision does not recommend adopting a proposal that would merge the Appalachian and Southeast milk marketing areas and a proposal that would create a ``Mississippi Valley'' marketing order. Proposals regarding the producer-handler provisions of the Appalachian and Southeast orders will be addressed in a separate decision.
Winter Pears Grown in Oregon and Washington; Order Amending Marketing Order No. 927
This rule amends the marketing order (order) for winter pears grown in Oregon and Washington. The amendments are based on recommendations jointly proposed by the Winter Pear Control Committee and the Northwest Fresh Bartlett Marketing Committee, which are responsible for local administration of orders 927 and 931, respectively. Marketing Agreement and Order No. 931 regulates the handling of fresh Bartlett pears grown in Oregon and Washington. The amendments would combine the winter pear and fresh Bartlett orders into a single program under marketing order 927, and would add authority to assess pears for processing. All of the proposals were favored by pear growers in a mail referendum, held March 22 through April 8, 2005. These amendments are intended to streamline industry organization and improve the administration, operation, and functioning of the program.
Plant Variety Protection Office, Supplemental Fees
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is establishing supplemental fees for the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Office covering a variety of administrative services that are not currently charged by the program. These include administrative service requests for: Replenishment of seed low in germination or seed number; submission of new application data after notice of allowance, but prior to certificate issuance; recording any revision, withdrawal, or revocation of an assignment; and protest to the issuance of a certificate. The allowance and issuance fee is increased also to recover the costs of enhancing the PVP program's electronic archiving capabilities. Also, technical amendments are made which revise or remove obsolete language.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Washington; Modification of Special Purpose Shipment Regulations
This rule invites comments on modifications to the special purpose shipment regulations currently prescribed under the Washington potato marketing order. The marketing order regulates the handling of Irish potatoes grown in Washington, and is administered locally by the State of Washington Potato Committee (Committee). This rule would modify the reporting requirements, procedures, and safeguard provisions for making certain special purpose potato shipments. Under the marketing order, such special purpose shipments may be exempted from the quality, assessment, or inspection requirements. The changes include removal of the special purpose exemption for exported potatoes, clarify the reporting procedures for potatoes diverted to processing, and add safeguard provisions for shipments of seed potatoes and shipments to charitable organizations. These changes would help facilitate special purpose shipments, while enhancing the Committee's compliance program.
United States Standards for Grades of Canned Sweetpotatoes
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting comments on the proposed revision to the United States Standards for Grades of Canned Sweetpotatoes. AMS received two petitions from food processors asking USDA to consider revising the current definition for the style of ``Whole'' in the United States Standards for Grades of Canned Sweetpotatoes. The change was requested to reflect newer varieties, new sorting techniques, and canning processes.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Colorado; Relaxation of Handling Regulation for Area No. 2 and Certain Imported Potatoes
This rule would relax the minimum grade requirements for potatoes handled under the Colorado potato marketing order, Area No. 2. This rule was recommended by the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee for Area No. 2 (Committee), the agency responsible for the local administration of the marketing order. For all potato varieties produced in Area No. 2 measuring from 1\1/2\-inch minimum diameter to 2\1/4\-inch maximum diameter (size B), and from 1-inch minimum diameter to 1\3/4\-inch maximum diameter, this rule changes the minimum grade from U.S. No. 1 to U.S. Commercial. This rule also would relax the minimum grade requirements between October 1 through June 30 of each year for imported red-skinned round type potatoes of the same size categories under the import regulations as required by section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. The changes are intended to provide potato handlers and importers with more marketing flexibility, growers with increased returns, and consumers with a greater supply of small potatoes, and to bring the section 8e potato import regulation into conformity with the marketing order.
Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Tangelos Grown in Florida; Change in the Minimum Maturity Requirements for Fresh Grapefruit
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule reducing the minimum maturity requirements for fresh grapefruit under the marketing order for Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Tangelos Grown in Florida (order). The Citrus Administrative Committee (Committee), which locally administers the order, recommended this change. This rule continues in effect the action that reduced the minimum maturity requirement for soluble solids (sugars) from 8.0 percent to 7.5 percent until July 31, 2005. This action makes additional quantities of grapefruit available for the fresh market and will help reduce the losses sustained by the grapefruit industry during the recent hurricanes in Florida.
Pistachios Grown in the State of California; Termination of Language in Table 3, “Maximum Defect and Minimum Size Levels”
This proposed rule would terminate language in Table 3, ``Maximum Defect and Minimum Size Levels,'' of the marketing order regulating pistachios produced in the State of California. This language was erroneously included in Table 3 at the time of promulgation of the order. Correction of the table was unanimously recommended by the Administrative Committee for Pistachios, the committee responsible for local administration of the order.
Lamb Promotion, Research, and Information Program
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing that lamb producers, feeders, seedstock producers, and first handlers of lamb and lamb products voting in a national referendum from January 31, 2005, through February 28, 2005, have approved the continuation of the Lamb Promotion, Research, and Information Order (Order).
United States Standards for Grades of Pea Pods
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), prior to undertaking research and other work associated with official grade standards, is soliciting comments on the possible development of the United States Standards for Grades of Pea Pods. At a 2003 meeting with the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, AMS was asked to identify commodities that may be better served if grade standards are developed. The standards would provide industry with a common language and uniform basis for trading, thus promoting the orderly and efficient marketing of pea pods.