National Organic Program: Notice of Draft Guidance on Treated Lumber
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the availability of a draft guidance document intended for use by accredited certifying agents and organic producers. The draft guidance document is entitled: Treated Lumber (NOP 5036). This draft guidance document is intended to inform the public of the National Organic Program's (NOP) current thinking on this topic. The AMS invites interested parties to submit comments about these guidance provisions.
National Organic Program: Notice of Interim Instruction on Material Review
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the availability of an interim instruction document intended for use by accredited certifying agents. The interim instruction document is entitled: NOP 3012: Material Review. This instruction specifies the criteria and process that USDA accredited organic certifying agents (certifiers) must follow when approving substances for use in organic production and handling. This instruction is directed at certifiers, who must meet certain terms and conditions as part of their accreditation. The AMS invites interested parties to submit comments about this instruction document.
Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order; Revision of Time Frame for Continuance Referenda
This interim rule invites comments on revising the time frame for continuance referenda under the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order (Order). The Order is administered by the Softwood Lumber Board (Board) with oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Order requires USDA to conduct a continuance referendum five years after the program took effect (2011). This action revises this time frame from five years (2016) to no later than seven years (2018). This will allow time for USDA to complete a separate rulemaking action on the Order's exemption threshold. That rulemaking is being initiated in response to a federal district court decision in Resolute Forest Products Inc., v. USDA, et al. (Resolute). Once USDA completes that action, a continuance referendum will be conducted. The results of the exemption threshold rulemaking could impact who votes in the referendum and who pays assessments under the Order.
United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public comments on a petition requesting revision to the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef. Specifically, AMS is requesting comments concerning a petition that requests that the beef standards be amended to include dentition and documentation of actual age as an additional determination of maturity grouping for official quality grading. Currently, the standards only include skeletal and muscular evidence as a determination of maturity grouping for the purposes of official quality grading. Official quality grading is used as an indication of meat palatability and is a major determining factor in live cattle and beef value.
Amendment to the Beef Promotion and Research Rules and Regulations
This proposed rule would amend the Beef Promotion and Research Order (Order) established under the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 (Act) to add six Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) codes for imported veal and veal products and update assessment levels for imported veal and veal products based on revised determinations of live animal equivalencies.
Apricots Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Increased Assessment Rate
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Washington Apricot Marketing Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2016-17 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.75 to $1.40 per ton of Washington apricots handled under the marketing order. The Committee, which is composed of growers and handlers, locally administers the order which regulates the handling of apricots grown in designated counties in Washington. Assessments upon apricot handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period begins April 1 and ends March 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Almonds Grown in California; Change in Quality Control Requirements
This rule implements a recommendation from the Almond Board of California (Board) to change the quality control requirements currently prescribed under the California almond marketing order (order). The order regulates the handling of almonds grown in California. The Board locally administers the order and is comprised of growers and handlers operating within California. This rule relaxes incoming quality requirements by increasing the inedible kernel tolerance from 0.50 percent to 2 percent. This relaxation decreases California almond handlers' disposition obligation. This change also allows handlers more flexibility in their operations while continuing to maintain quality control and ensuring compliance with the order's requirements.
Oranges and Grapefruit Grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas; Increased Assessment Rate
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Texas Valley Citrus Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2016-17 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.08 to $0.09 per 7/10-bushel carton or equivalent of oranges and grapefruit handled under the marketing order (order). The Committee locally administers the order and is comprised of producers and handlers of oranges and grapefruit operating within the area of production. Assessments upon orange and grapefruit handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period begins August 1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico; Continuance Referendum
This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible producers of pistachios grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order that regulates the handling of pistachios produced in the production area.
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 for report forms under the Federal milk marketing order program.
National Dairy Promotion and Research Program; Amendments to the Order
This final rule amends the Dairy Promotion and Research Order (Dairy Order). The amendment modifies the number of National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (Dairy Board) importer members. The total number of importer members would be reduced from 2 members to 1 member, and the domestic Dairy Board members would remain the same at 36. The Dairy Order requires that at least once every three years, after the initial appointment of importer members on the Dairy Board, the Secretary shall review the average volume of domestic production of dairy products compared to the average volume of imports of dairy products into the United States during the previous three years, and, on the basis of that review, if warranted, reapportion the importer representation on the Dairy Board to reflect the proportional shares of the United States market served by domestic production and imported dairy products.
Livestock Mandatory Reporting: Reauthorization of Livestock Mandatory Reporting and Revision of Swine and Lamb Reporting Requirements
On April 2, 2001, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) implemented the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) program as required by the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999 (1999 Act). The LMR program was reauthorized in October 2006 and September 2010. On September 30, 2015, the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015 (2015 Reauthorization Act) reauthorized the LMR program for an additional 5 years until September 30, 2020, and directed the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) to amend the LMR swine reporting requirements. This final rule incorporates the swine reporting revisions contained within the 2015 Reauthorization Act and a minor revision to the lamb reporting requirements under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, USDA Livestock Mandatory Reporting regulations.
Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders; 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 an extension and revision to the approved forms and information collection for marketing orders covering various vegetable and specialty crops.
Removal of Program To Assess Organic Certifying Agencies in 7 CFR Part 37
This final rule informs the public that the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is removing the Program to Assess Organic Certifying Agencies from the Code of Federal Regulations. This action removes unnecessary regulations from the CFR. Since the publication of the organic regulations, the Program to Assess Organic Certifying Agencies is no longer applicable or necessary.
Cotton Board Rules and Regulations: Adjusting Supplemental Assessment on Imports (2016 Amendments)
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is amending the Cotton Board Rules and Regulations, decreasing the value assigned to imported cotton for the purposes of calculating supplemental assessments collected for use by the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. This amendment is required each year to ensure that assessments collected on imported cotton and the cotton content of imported products will be the same as those paid on domestically produced cotton.
U.S. Standards for Grades of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Fruits and Vegetables for Processing, Nuts, and Specialty Crops
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is revising 41 U.S. Standards for Grades of fresh fruits and vegetables, fruits and vegetables for processing, nuts, and specialty crops by removing the ``Unclassified'' category from each standard. This revision brings these grade standards in line with other recently amended standards and current terminology. The change also updates the standards to more accurately represent today's marketing practices and provide the industry with greater flexibility.
Pecans Grown in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas; Order Regulating Handling
This rule establishes a marketing agreement and order (order) for pecans grown in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. The order provides authority to collect industry data and to conduct research and promotion activities. In addition, the order provides authority for the industry to recommend grade, quality and size regulation, as well as pack and container regulation, subject to approval by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program will be financed by assessments on handlers of pecans grown in the production area and will be locally administered, under USDA oversight, by a Council of seventeen growers and shellers (handlers) nominated by the industry and appointed by USDA.
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; Proposed Amendment to Marketing Order
This proposed rule invites comments on a proposed amendment to Marketing Orders, which 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 Cranberry Marketing Committee (Committee), which is responsible for the local administration of the order and is comprised of growers of cranberries operating within the production area, recommended adding authority to accept donations from domestic contributors. Contributed funds would be used solely for research and development activities authorized under the regulation of the order and would be free from any encumbrances as to their usage by the donor.
National Organic Program (NOP); Sunset 2016 Amendments to the National List
This final rule addresses recommendations submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) following their April 2015 meeting. These recommendations pertain to the 2016 sunset review of substances on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). Consistent with the recommendations from the NOSB, this final rule removes five nonorganic nonagricultural substances from the National List for use in organic handling: Egg white lysozyme, cyclohexylamine, diethylaminoethanol, octadecylamine, and tetrasodium pyrophosphate when their use exemptions (allowances) expire on September 12, 2016.
Minimum Quality and Handling Standards for Domestic and Imported Peanuts Marketed in the United States; Change to the Quality and Handling Requirements
This rule implements a recommendation from the Peanut Standards Board (Board) to revise the minimum quality and handling standards for domestic and imported peanuts marketed in the United States (Standards). The Board advises the Secretary of Agriculture regarding potential changes to the Standards and is comprised of producers and industry representatives. This rule revises the minimum quality, positive lot identification, and reporting and recordkeeping requirements under the Standards. It also makes numerous other changes to better reflect current industry practices and revises outdated language. The Board believes these changes will make additional peanuts available for sale, help increase efficiencies, and reduce costs to the industry.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Colorado; Modification of the Handling Regulation for Area No. 2
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, Area No. 2 (Committee) to revise the grade requirement currently prescribed for 1\1/2\-inch minimum to 2\1/4\-inch maximum diameter (Size B) potatoes under the Colorado potato marketing order (order). The Committee locally administers the order and is comprised of producers and handlers of potatoes operating within the area of production. This action would relax the current minimum grade requirement for Size B red potatoes from U.S. Commercial grade or better to U.S. No. 2 grade or better. Relaxing this grade requirement would allow area handlers to supply new markets with U.S. No. 2 grade Size B red potatoes and is expected to benefit producers, handlers, and consumers.
Notice of Meeting of the National Organic Standards Board
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, (5 U.S.C. App.), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is announcing a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to assist the USDA in the development of standards for substances to be used in organic production and to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on any other aspects of the implementation of Organic Foods Production Act.