Blueberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order; Withdrawal of a Proposed Rule
This action withdraws a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on July 27, 2009 (74 FR 36955), to amend the Blueberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order (Order) by increasing the assessment rate on producers and importers who produce or import more than 2,000 pounds of highbush blueberries annually from $12 to $24 per ton. The Order is administered by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (Council). Assessments are used by the Council to fund a nationally coordinated program of research, development, advertising, and promotion of highbush blueberries in the marketplace. The Council recommended increasing the assessment rate to expand its promotional and research activities to bridge the potential gap between demand and future supply. Several comments were received in opposition to the proposed increase in assessment rate. Accordingly, based upon comments received, the proposed rule is being withdrawn.
Kiwifruit Grown in California; Secretary's Decision and Referendum Order on Proposed Amendments to Marketing Order No. 920
This decision proposes amendments to Marketing Order No. 920 (order), which regulates the handling of kiwifruit grown in California, and provides growers with the opportunity to vote in a referendum to determine if they favor the changes. The amendments are based on proposals by the Kiwifruit Administrative Committee (committee), which is responsible for local administration of the order. These proposed amendments would redefine the districts into which the production area is divided and reallocate committee membership among the districts, revise committee nomination and selection procedures, authorize the committee to conduct research and promotion programs, and revise committee meeting and voting procedures. The proposals are intended to improve the operation and administration of the order and provide the industry with additional tools for the marketing of kiwifruit.
Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee
The purpose of this notice is to notify all interested parties that the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will hold a Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (Committee) meeting that is open to the public. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the Committee to examine the full spectrum of issues faced by the fruit and vegetable industry and to provide suggestions and ideas to the Secretary of Agriculture on how USDA can tailor its programs to meet the fruit and vegetable industry's needs. This notice sets forth the schedule and location for the meeting.
Blueberry and Hass Avocado Promotion, Research, and Information Orders; Section 610 Reviews
This document announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) plans to review the Blueberry and Hass Avocado Promotion, Research, and Information Orders (Orders). Both reviews will be conducted under criteria contained in Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).
National Organic Program; Access to Pasture (Livestock)
This final rule amends livestock and related provisions of the NOP regulations. Under the NOP, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) oversees national standards for the production and handling of organically produced agricultural products. AMS has taken this action to ensure that NOP livestock production regulations have sufficient specificity and clarity to enable AMS and accredited certifying agents to efficiently administer the NOP and to facilitate and improve compliance and enforcement. This action is also intended to satisfy consumer expectations that ruminant livestock animals graze on pastures during the grazing season. This action provides clarification and specificity to the livestock feed and living conditions provisions and establishes a pasture practice standard for ruminant animals. In doing so, producers are required to: provide year-round access for all animals to the outdoors, recognize pasture as a crop, establish a functioning management plan for pasture, incorporate the pasture management plan into their organic system plan (OSP), provide ruminants with pasture throughout the grazing season for their geographical location, and ensure ruminants derive not less than an average of 30 percent of their dry matter intake (DMI) requirement from pasture grazed over the course of the grazing season. The proposed requirements for fencing of water bodies and providing water at all times, indoors and outdoors, and the requirement for a sacrificial pasture have been deleted in this final rule. In addition, the proposed amendment to the origin of livestock section has been deleted in this final rule as issues pertaining to that topic will be reviewed and evaluated separately from this action.
Proposed Processed Raspberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order
This rule proposes the establishment of an industry-funded promotion, research, and information program for processed raspberries. The proposed program, Processed Raspberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order (Proposed Order), was submitted to the Department of Agriculture (Department) by the Washington Red Raspberry Commission (WRRC). Under the Proposed Order, producers of raspberries for processing and importers of processed raspberries would pay an assessment of up to one cent per pound, with the initial assessment rate being one cent per pound, which would be paid to the proposed National Processed Raspberry Council (Council). Producers and importers of less than 20,000 pounds annually of raspberries for processing and processed raspberries, respectively, would be exempt from the assessment. The proposed program would be implemented under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act). The Department is conducting an initial referendum to ascertain whether the persons to be covered by and assessed under the Proposed Order favor the implementation of the program prior to it going into effect. In addition, USDA is announcing that the referendum will be conducted among eligible producers of raspberries for processing and importers of processed raspberries to determine whether they favor the implementation of the Proposed Order. The Proposed Order would be implemented if it is approved by a majority of producers and importers voting in the referendum. A separate final rule on referendum procedures is being published in this issue of the Federal Register.
Processed Raspberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order; Referendum Procedures
This rule establishes procedures which the Department of Agriculture (USDA or the Department) will use in conducting a referendum to determine whether the issuance of the proposed Processed Raspberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order (Proposed Order) is favored by producers of raspberries for processing and importers of processed raspberries. The Proposed Order will be implemented if it is approved by a simple majority of the eligible producers and importers voting in the referendum. These procedures will also be used for any subsequent referendum under the Proposed Order, if it is approved in the initial referendum. The Proposed Order is being published separately in this issue of the Federal Register. This proposed program is implemented under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act).
Cranberries Grown in the States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York; Revised Nomination and Balloting Procedures
This rule invites comments on revisions to the nomination and balloting procedures for independent growers on the Cranberry Marketing Committee (Committee). The order regulates the handling of cranberries produced in the States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York, and is administered locally by the Committee. This rule would revise the nomination and balloting procedures for independent growers to allow them to participate in the election process for either a member or alternate member on the Committee. The current procedures do not provide for an election process for each position separately.
Cranberries Grown in the States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York; Changes to Reporting Dates
This rule invites comments on proposed changes to the reporting dates prescribed under the marketing order that regulates the handling of cranberries grown in the States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York. The order is administered locally by the Cranberry Marketing Committee (Committee). This rule would revise the due dates of handler reports to provide more time for handlers to file their reports with the Committee, and would improve handler compliance with the order's reporting regulations.
Notice of Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this notice announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request approval, from the Office of Management and Budget, for an extension of and revision to the currently approved information collection, Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP).
Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California and Imported Table Grapes; Change in Regulatory Periods
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule revising the regulatory period 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, from April 20 through August 15 of each year to April 10 through July 10 of each year. The order regulates the handling of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California and is administered locally by the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (Committee). The change to the regulatory period beginning date is needed to help ensure that imported table grapes marketed in competition with domestic grapes are subject to the grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements of the order. Section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (Act) provides authority for such change. The change to the regulatory period ending date is needed to realign the regulatory period with current shipping trends for grapes in the order's production area. This rule also continues in effect the action that clarified the maturity (soluble solids) requirements for southeastern California and imported Flame Seedless variety grapes.
Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) Inviting Applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program-Farm Bill (SCBGP-FB)
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces the availability, of $55,000,000 in grant funds, less USDA administrative costs, to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. SCBGP- FB funds are authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the Farm Bill). State departments of agriculture are encouraged to develop their grant applications promptly. State departments of agriculture interested in obtaining grant program funds are invited to submit applications to USDA. State departments of agriculture, meaning agencies, commissions, or departments of a State government responsible for agriculture within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to apply.