National Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Programs; 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 document announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). AMS requests an extension of and revision to the currently approved information collection 0581-0093 the National Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Programs.
Notice of Meeting of the National Organic Standards Board
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 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.
Pears Grown in Oregon and Washington; Continuance Referendum
This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible Oregon and Washington pear growers to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order regulating the handling of pears grown in Oregon and Washington.
Olives Grown in California; Suspension and Revision of Incoming Size-Grade Requirements
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that suspended the incoming size- grade authority under the California olive marketing order, which regulates the handling of olives in California. The rule, which was recommended by the California Olive Committee (Committee), also made conforming changes to the corresponding size-grade requirements in the order's rules and regulations and two Committee forms. The Committee locally administers the order and is comprised of producers and handlers of olives operating within the area of production. The interim rule suspended the incoming size-grade authority of the marketing order and revised the corresponding size-grade requirements in the order's rules and regulations. The change is expected to benefit handlers because the current size-grading requirements hinder handler operations and flexibility, increase costs, and diminish their competitiveness.
U.S. Standards for Grades of Shelled Walnuts and Walnuts in the Shell
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposes to revise the U.S. Standards for Grades of Shelled Walnuts and the U.S. Standards for Grades of Walnuts in the Shell. AMS proposes to include red colored walnuts. In addition, AMS proposes to remove the ``Unclassified'' section. The changes will modernize the standards, and meet growing consumer demand by providing greater marketing flexibility.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Colorado; Modification of the Handling Regulation for Area No. 2
This rule implements 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 rule relaxes 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 will 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.
Tomatoes Grown in Florida; Increased Assessment Rate
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Florida Tomato Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2016-17 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.03 to $0.035 per 25-pound carton of tomatoes handled under the marketing order (order). The Committee locally administers the order and is comprised of producers of tomatoes operating within the area of production. Assessments upon Florida tomato 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.
United States Standards for Grades of Frozen Onions
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting comments on its proposal to create new United States Standards for Grades of Frozen Onions. The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) petitioned AMS to develop new grade standards for frozen onions. AMS has received additional industry comments on several discussion drafts of the proposed standards. The grade standards would provide a common language for trade, a means of measuring value in the marketing of frozen onions, and guidance on the effective use of frozen onions.
Raisins Produced From Grapes Grown in California and Imported Raisins; Removal of Language
This rule removes language from the California raisin marketing order's minimum grade standards and the import regulations' grade and size requirements. The marketing order regulates the handling of raisins produced from grapes grown in California, and is administered locally by the Raisin Administrative Committee (committee). The change to the import regulations is required under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended. Recently, the U.S. Standards for Grades of Processed Raisins (standards) were amended to remove the word ``midget.'' This rule makes the marketing order and the import regulations consistent with the amended standards.
Request for Approval of a New Information Collection for the Processed Egg and Egg Products Verification Program
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), this notice announces the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), for a new information collection for the Processed Egg and Egg Products Verification Program. One new form is introduced in this information collection.
Provisions for Removing Commodity Research and Promotion Board Members and Staff
This proposal would amend the research and promotion orders or the regulations under the ordersoverseen by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to provide uniform authority for the removal of board members and staff who fail to perform their duties or who engage in dishonest actions or willful misconduct. The removal provisions in 13 of the orders would be modified to allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take action necessary to ensure the boards can continue to fulfill their intended purposes with minimal disruption. Removal provisions would be added to the six orders that do not currently provide for such action.
Amendments to Quality Systems Verification Programs and Conforming Changes
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposes to amend its regulations to better reflect the current needs of Quality Systems Verification Program (QSVP) activities and to implement changes created by the merger of the AMS Livestock and Seed Program and the AMS Poultry Programs. These proposed changes include amending the Livestock, Meat, and Other Agricultural Commodities QSVP to expand the commodities under the QSVP to include those authorized under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (hereafter referred to as ``the Act''), remove reference to ``Livestock, Meat, and Other Commodities'' in the title, more clearly identify and define the types of programs and services offered under QSVP, and make other technical and administrative changes. Simultaneously, AMS proposes to make conforming changes to the regulations pertaining to the Voluntary Grading of Shell Eggs and Voluntary Grading of Poultry Products and Rabbit Products to remove references to audit activities.