Agricultural Marketing Service December 2016 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico; Decreased Assessment Rate
Document Number: 2016-31532
Type: Rule
Date: 2016-12-30
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that implemented a recommendation from the Administrative Committee for Pistachios (Committee) to decrease the assessment rate established for pistachios grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico for the 2016-2017 and subsequent production years from $0.0035 to $0.0010 per pound of assessed weight pistachios handled under the marketing order (order). The Committee locally administers the order and is comprised of producers and handlers of pistachios operating within the area of production. The interim rule was necessary to allow the Committee to reduce its financial reserve while still providing adequate funding to meet program expenses.
United States Standards for Grades of Canned Vegetables
Document Number: 2016-30619
Type: Rule
Date: 2016-12-21
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is revising 18 U.S. grade standards for canned vegetables issued on or before August 3, 1998. AMS is replacing the two-term grading system (dual nomenclature) with a single term to describe each quality level for the grade standards identified in this document. Terms using the letter grade will be retained and the descriptive term will be eliminated. For example, grade standards using the term ``U.S. Grade A'' or ``U.S. Fancy'' will be revised to use only the term ``U.S. Grade A.'' Likewise, grade standards using the term ``U.S. Grade B'' or ``U.S. Extra Standard'' will be revised to use the single term ``U.S. Grade B.'' These changes will bring the grade standards in line with the present quality levels being marketed today and provide guidance in the effective use of these products. Editorial changes will also be made to the grade standards that conform to recent changes made in other grade standards.
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 929 and Referendum Order
Document Number: 2016-30571
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2016-12-21
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
This rule proposes an amendment to Marketing Order No. 929 (order), 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 amendment is based on a proposal made by the Cranberry Marketing Committee (Committee), which is responsible for the local administration of the order. The amendment would authorize the Committee to receive and expend voluntary contributions from domestic sources. Contributed funds would be used solely for research and development activities authorized under the order and would be free from any encumbrances as to their usage by the donor.
Revisions to Inspection Application Requirements
Document Number: 2016-30570
Type: Rule
Date: 2016-12-21
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
This rule amends the inspection, certification and standards requirements for fresh fruits, vegetables and other products and processed fruits and vegetables, processed products and certain other processed food products (7 CFR parts 51 and 52) by adding an option to allow for electronic submissions of inspection applications. This rule also eliminates outdated terminology referencing submission of inspection applications by telegraph.
Domestic Dates Produced or Packed in Riverside County, California; Decreased Assessment Rate
Document Number: 2016-30303
Type: Rule
Date: 2016-12-20
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that implemented a recommendation from the California Date Administrative Committee (committee) to decrease the assessment rate established for the committee for the 2016-17 and subsequent crop years from $0.10 to $0.05 per hundredweight of dates handled under the marketing order (order). The committee locally administers the order and is comprised of producers and handlers of dates operating within the area of production. The interim rule was necessary to allow the committee to reduce its financial reserve while still providing adequate funding to meet program expenses.
Cherries Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Increased Assessment Rate
Document Number: 2016-30302
Type: Rule
Date: 2016-12-20
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
This rule implements a recommendation from the Washington Cherry Marketing Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2016-2017 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.15 to $0.25 per ton of Washington cherries handled. The Committee locally administers the marketing order and is comprised of growers and handlers of cherries operating within the production area. Assessments upon cherry handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the marketing order. The fiscal period begins April 1 and ends March 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended or terminated.
Almonds Grown in California; Increased Assessment Rate
Document Number: 2016-30264
Type: Rule
Date: 2016-12-20
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
This rule implements a recommendation from the Almond Board of California (Board) for an increase of the assessment rate established for the 2016-17 through the 2018-19 crop years from $0.03 to $0.04 per pound of almonds handled under the marketing order (order). Of the $0.04 per pound assessment, 60 percent (or $0.024 per pound) is available as credit-back for handlers who conduct their own promotional activities. The assessment rate will return to $0.03 for the 2019-20 and subsequent crop years, and the amount available for handler credit- back will return to $0.018 per pound (60 percent). The Board locally administers the order and is comprised of growers and handlers of almonds grown in California. Assessments upon almond handlers are used by the Board to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The crop year began on August 1 and ends on July 31. The $0.04 assessment rate will remain in effect until July 31, 2019. Beginning August 1, 2019, the assessment rate will return to $0.03 and will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. Two comments period were provided to interested individuals. Comments will be addressed later in this document.
Walnuts Grown in California; Increased Assessment Rate
Document Number: 2016-30307
Type: Rule
Date: 2016-12-19
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
This rule implements a recommendation from the California Walnut Board (Board) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2016-17 and subsequent marketing years from $0.0379 to $0.0465 per kernelweight pound of assessable walnuts. The Board locally administers the marketing order and is comprised of growers and handlers of walnuts operating within the area of production. Assessments upon walnut handlers are used by the Board to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The marketing year began on September 1 and ends August 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Amendment to the Egg Research and Promotion Rules and Regulations To Update Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, and Information Provisions
Document Number: 2016-29988
Type: Rule
Date: 2016-12-14
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
This final rule amends the Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, Publications, and Product Formulations (IP) language of the Egg Research and Promotion Rules and Regulations (Regulations) to conform with commodity research and promotion program orders created under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act).
Regulations Under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA): Growers' Trust Protection Eligibility and Clarification of “Written Notification”
Document Number: 2016-29983
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2016-12-14
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), is proposing to amend the regulations under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA or Act) to enhance clarity and improve the administration and enforcement of the PACA. The proposed revisions to the regulations would provide greater direction to the industry of how growers and other principals that employ selling agents may preserve their PACA trust rights. The proposed revisions would further provide greater direction to the industry on the definition of ``written notification'' and the jurisdiction of USDA to investigate alleged PACA violations.
Provisions for Removing Commodity Research and Promotion Board Members and Staff
Document Number: 2016-29852
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2016-12-13
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
Notice is hereby given that the comment period on proposed amendments to the provisions for removal of board and council members or staff of the research and promotion ordersor the regulations under the ordersoverseen by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is extended to December 23, 2016. The proposed rule would provide uniform authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to initiate action to remove board members and staff who fail to perform their duties or who engage in dishonest actions or willful misconduct. Such action is necessary to ensure the boards can continue to fulfill their intended purposes with minimal disruption.
National Organic Program: Notice of Draft Guidance for Calculating the Percentage of Organic Ingredients in Multi-Ingredient Products
Document Number: 2016-29173
Type: Notice
Date: 2016-12-06
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the availability of a draft guidance document intended for use by accredited certifying agents and certified handling operations. The draft guidance document is entitled as follows: Calculating Percentage Organic in Multi-Ingredient Products (NOP 5037). This draft guidance document is intended to inform the public of AMS' current thinking on this topic. AMS invites organic producers, handlers, certifying agents, material evaluation programs, consumers and other interested parties to submit comments.
Changes to Reporting Requirements-Vegetable and Specialty Crop Import Regulations; and Other Clarifying Changes-Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty Crop Import Regulations
Document Number: 2016-29016
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2016-12-06
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
This proposed rule would change the reporting requirements for certain Irish potatoes, tomatoes, and onions regulated under Sec. 608(e) of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (section 8e of the Act) by requiring importers of those regulated commodities that have been certified by a designated governmental inspection service other than the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service as meeting 8e requirements to provide the inspection certificate number and a copy of the certificate to AMS (currently, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is the only entity so designated). In addition, the pistachio import regulations would be changed to provide for the electronic filing of aflatoxin test results and to eliminate a requirement to report the disposition of reworked or failed lots of pistachios. Other changes would be made to several of the 8e regulations to remove or replace outdated information. These changes would allow AMS to confirm that section 8e regulatory requirements are being met and would also support the International Trade Data System (ITDS), a key White House economic initiative that will automate the filing of import and export information by the trade.
Changes to Reporting and Notification Requirements and Other Clarifying Changes for Imported Fruits, Vegetables, and Specialty Crops
Document Number: 2016-29022
Type: Rule
Date: 2016-12-05
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
This rule updates reporting and notification requirements associated with, and makes clarifying changes to, the fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop import regulations for certain commodities regulated under section 608(e) (hereinafter referred to as ``8e'') of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. The updates include shifting the exempt reporting requirement for imported tomatoes destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes from the tomato import regulations to the safeguard procedures section of the vegetable import regulations. In addition, the pistachio import regulations will be updated by removing reference to a paper-based notification of entry process. Other administrative changes will be made to several of the 8e regulations to replace outdated information. These changes to the import regulations support the International Trade Data System (ITDS), a key White House economic initiative that will streamline and automate the filing of import and export information by the trade.
National Organic Program: Notice of Final Guidance on Classification of Materials and Materials for Organic Crop Production
Document Number: 2016-29018
Type: Notice
Date: 2016-12-05
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
This notice announces availability of final guidance intended for use by accredited certifying agents, certified operations, material evaluation programs, and other organic industry stakeholders. The first set of guidance documents, NOP 5033, follows recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) concerning the classification of materials under the USDA organic regulations (7 CFR part 205). The Classification of Materials guidance, NOP 5033, details the procedures and decision trees for classifying materials used for organic crop production, livestock production, and handling. The second set of guidance documents, NOP 5034, clarifies certain materials for use in organic crop production. These documents include an illustrative list of allowed natural and synthetic materials and a limited appendix of materials prohibited in organic crop production. The guidance explains the policy of the National Organic Program (NOP) concerning the portions of the regulations in question, referenced herein.
Regulations Issued Under Authority of the Export Apple Act and Export Grapes and Plums; Changes to Export Reporting Requirements
Document Number: 2016-29017
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2016-12-05
Agency: Agricultural Marketing Service, Department of Agriculture
This proposed rule would change the reporting of export certificate information under regulations issued pursuant to the Export Apple Act (7 CFR part 33) and the Export Grape and Plum Act (7 CFR part 35). This change would require shippers of apples and grapes exported from the United States to electronically enter an Export Form Certificate number or a USDA-defined exemption code into the Automated Export System (AES). This rule would also define ``shipper,'' shift the current file retention requirement from carriers to shippers, and require shippers to provide, upon request, copies of the certificates to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). These changes would enable AMS to track exported apple and grape shipments to ensure that exports meet inspection and certification requirements. This action is also required to support the International Trade Data System (ITDS), a key White House economic initiative that will automate the filing of export and import information by the trade. This proposal would also remove obsolete regulations and make clarifying changes. It also announces AMS' intention to request revision to a currently approved information collection for exported apples and grapes.