United States Standards for Grades of Peppers (Other Than Sweet Peppers)
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting comments on the proposed voluntary United States Standards for Grades of Peppers (Other Than Sweet Peppers). This action is being taken at the request of the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, which asked AMS to identify commodities that needed grade standards developed to facilitate commerce. The proposed standards would provide industry with a common language and uniform basis for trading, thus promoting the orderly and efficient marketing of peppers that are not sweet peppers.
Avocados Grown in South Florida; Hearing on Proposed Amendments to Marketing Agreement and Order No. 915
Notice is hereby given of a public hearing to receive evidence on proposed amendments to Marketing Order No. 915 (order), which regulates the handling of avocados grown in south Florida. The amendments are proposed by the Florida Avocado Administrative Committee (Committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order. The proposed amendments would: Provide the Committee authority to borrow funds, revise the voting requirements for changing the assessment rate, allow District I nominations to be conducted by mail, and provide the Committee authority to accept voluntary contributions. The proposed amendments are intended to improve the operation and functioning of marketing order program.
Amendment to Egg Research and Promotion Rules and Regulations
This action will amend the Egg Research and Promotion Rules and Regulations by changing the State composition of the six geographic areas on the American Egg Board. The Board approved this change and requested that the Secretary amend the Rules and Regulations accordingly. This adjustment is based on changing geographic trends in egg production and would become effective beginning with the 2007-08 membership term.
Soybean Promotion and Research: Amend the Order to Adjust Representation on the United Soybean Board
This proposed rule would adjust the number of members for certain States on the United Soybean Board (Board) to reflect changes in production levels that have occurred since the Board was reapportioned in 2003, which became effective with 2004 nominations. These adjustments are required by the Soybean Promotion and Research Order (Order) and would result in an increase in Board membership from 64 to 68 effective with the Secretary's 2007 nominations and appointments.
Sweet Cherries Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Removal of Container Regulations
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule that removed the container regulations prescribed under the Washington sweet cherry marketing order. Specifically, this rule finalizes the removal of the requirement that dark-colored sweet cherries be handled in containers having a certain net weight. The marketing order regulates the handling of fresh sweet cherries grown in designated counties in the State of Washington, and is administered locally by the Washington Cherry Marketing Committee (Committee). By eliminating the container requirements, this regulatory relaxation provides handlers with the ability to meet the rapidly changing wholesale, retail, and consumer demand for innovative product packaging. This is expected to enhance industry marketing flexibility and efficiency.
United States Standards for Grades of Parsley
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), prior to undertaking research and other work associated with revising official grade standards, is soliciting comments on the possible revisions to the United States Standards for Grades of Parsley. At a meeting with the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, AMS was asked to review the fresh fruit and vegetable grade standards for usefulness in serving the industry. As a result, AMS has identified the United States Standards for Grades of Parsley for possible revision. AMS is considering proposed revisions that would allow that percentages be determined by count and not weight and eliminate the unclassified category. AMS is seeking comments regarding these changes as well as any other revisions to the parsley standards that may be necessary to better serve the industry.
United States Standards for Grades of Canned Sweet Potatoes
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is revising the United States Standards for Grades of Canned Sweet Potatoes. The change was requested to reflect newer varieties, new sorting techniques, and canning processes.
Updating Administrative Requirements for Voluntary Shell Egg, Poultry, and Rabbit Grading
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is amending the administrative requirements in the regulations governing the voluntary shell egg, poultry, and rabbit grading programs. The amendments update the administrative requirements and make minor, nonsubstantive changes for clarity and uniformity of style. This improves operational efficiency of the grading programs by making the administrative requirements more accurate, clear, consistent, and easier to use.
Nectarines and Peaches Grown in California; Order Amending Marketing Order Nos. 916 and 917
This rule amends Marketing Orders Nos. 916 and 917 (orders), which regulate the handling of nectarines and peaches grown in California. The amendments are based on those proposed by the Nectarine Administrative Committee (NAC), the Peach Commodity Committee (PCC), and the Control Committee (part of M.O. No. 917) (Committees), which are responsible for local administration of orders 916 and 917. The amendments to order 917 only apply to peaches. The amendments would: update definitions for ``handle'', ``grower'', and add a definition for ``pure grower'' to both orders; increase committee membership of the NAC from eight to thirteen members and modify sections of order 916 to conform to the increased membership; eliminate the Shippers Advisory Committee in order 916; allow the Control Committee under order 917 to be suspended if the provisions of one commodity are suspended and transfer applicable duties and responsibilities to the remaining Commodity Committee; authorize interest and late payment charges on assessments paid late in both orders; and other related amendments. With the exception of the proposal to allow the Peach Commodity Committee to borrow funds, all of the proposals were favored by nectarine and peach growers in a mail referendum, held March 6 through 24, 2006. The amendments are intended to streamline and improve the administration, operation, and functioning of the orders.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Colorado; Suspension of Continuing Assessment Rate
This rule suspends the continuing assessment rate established for the Area No. 3 Colorado Potato Administrative Committee (Committee) for the 2006-2007 and subsequent fiscal periods. The Committee, which locally administers the marketing order regulating the handling of potatoes grown in Northern Colorado, made this recommendation for the purpose of lowering the monetary reserve to a level consistent with program requirements. The fiscal period begins July 1 and ends June 30. The assessment rate will remain suspended until an appropriate rate is reinstated.
Apricots Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Temporary Suspension of Container Regulations
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule that suspends the container regulations prescribed under the Washington apricot marketing order for the 2006 shipping season only. The marketing order regulates the handling of fresh apricots grown in designated counties in the State of Washington, and is administered locally by the Washington Apricot Marketing Committee (Committee). This relaxation of the regulations provides the apricot industry with increased marketing flexibility by allowing handlers to pack and ship apricots in any size, shape, or type of container. The Committee recommended a temporary suspension of the container regulations so that it can thoroughly evaluate the impact the relaxation has on the apricot industry prior to taking any action for subsequent seasons.
National Organic Program (NOP); Proposed Amendments to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (Livestock)
This proposed rule would amend the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) regulations to reflect recommendations submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) from October 30, 2000, through March 3, 2005. Consistent with the recommendations from the NOSB, this proposed rule would add thirteen substances, along with any restrictive annotations, to the National List.
Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California and Imported Table Grapes; Extension of Comment Period on Changing Regulatory Periods
Notice is hereby given that the comment period on proposed changes in 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 is reopened and extended.
Processed Fruits and Vegetables
This proposed rule would revise the regulations governing inspection and certification for processed fruits, vegetables, and processed products. A projected fee increase ranging from 19 to 26 percent is proposed. Furthermore, it is proposed that an applicant entering into a year round inspection contract with AMS will incur costs for the plant survey and sanitation inspection. Finally, it is proposed that an applicant entering into a year round inspection contract, less than year round (four or more consecutive 40 hour weeks) contract, or lot inspection will incur costs for Sunday differential when an employee works on Sunday. These revisions are necessary in order to recover, as nearly as practicable, the costs of performing inspection services under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 and to ensure the program's financial stability. Also affected are the fees charged to persons required to have inspections on imported commodities in accordance with the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1937. In addition, various editorial changes are being proposed to enhance clarity.
Nectarines and Peaches Grown in California; Increased Assessment Rates
This rule would increase the assessment rates established for the Nectarine Administrative Committee and the Peach Commodity Committee (committees) for the 2006-07 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.20 to $0.21 per 25-pound container or container equivalent of nectarines and peaches handled. The committees locally administer the marketing orders that regulate the handling of nectarines and peaches grown in California. Authorization to assess nectarine and peach handlers enables the committees to incur expenses that are reasonable and necessary to administer the programs. The fiscal period runs from March 1 through the last day of February. The assessment rates would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
National Organic Program (NOP); Proposed Amendments to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (Crops and Livestock)
This proposed rule would amend the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) regulations to reflect recommendations submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) on August 17, 2005. Consistent with the recommendations from the NOSB, this proposed rule would add two substances, along with any restrictive annotations, to the National List.