Tart Cherries Grown in the States of Michigan, et al.; Free and Restricted Percentages for the 2016-17 Crop Year for Tart Cherries
This rule implements a recommendation from the Cherry Industry Administrative Board (Board) to establish free and restricted percentages for the 2016-17 crop year under the marketing order for tart cherries grown in the states of Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin (order). The Board locally administers the marketing order and is comprised of producers and handlers of tart cherries operating within the production area, and a public member. This action establishes the proportion of tart cherries from the 2016 crop which may be handled in commercial outlets at 71 percent free and 29 percent restricted. These percentages should stabilize marketing conditions by adjusting supply to meet market demand and help improve grower returns.
Irish Potatoes Grown in Certain Designated Counties in Idaho, and Malheur County, Oregon; Decreased Assessment Rate
This rule implements a recommendation from the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Potato Committee (Committee) to decrease the assessment rate established for the 2017-2018 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0025 to $0.002 per hundredweight of potatoes handled. The Committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of potatoes grown in certain designated counties in Idaho, and Malheur County, Oregon. Assessments upon potato 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 will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California and Imported Table Grapes; Removing Varietal Exemptions
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (Committee) to remove varietal exemptions from the regulations established under the California table grape marketing order (order) and the table grape import regulation (import regulation). The order regulates the handling of table grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California and is administered locally by the Committee. The import regulation is authorized under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended, and regulates the importation of table grapes into the United States. In conjunction with this proposed rule, administrative exemptions that were previously granted for other varieties of imported grapes, including those that are genetically related to the four varieties exempted under the order's regulations and import regulation, would be removed.
United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing amendments to the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef (beef standards). Specifically, AMS is proposing amendments to the beef standards that would allow dentition and documentation of actual age as additional methods of classifying maturity of carcasses presented to USDA for official quality grading. Currently, the standards include only skeletal and muscular evidence as a determination of classifying maturity of carcasses for the purposes of official USDA quality grading. Official USDA quality grading is used as an indication of meat palatability and is a major determining factor in live cattle and beef value.
Beef Promotion and Research; Reapportionment
This final rule adjusts representation on the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board (Board), established under the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 (Act), to reflect changes in domestic cattle inventories and changes in levels of imported cattle, beef, and beef products that have occurred since the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) last reapportioned the Board in July 2014. These adjustments are required by the Beef Promotion and Research Order (Order) and will result in a decrease in Board membership from 100 to 99, effective with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) appointments for terms beginning early in the year 2018.
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; Establishment of Assessment Rates
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the American Pecan Council (Council) to establish the initial assessment rates for the 2016-2017 and subsequent fiscal years at $0.03 per pound for improved varieties, $0.02 per pound for native and seedling varieties, and $0.02 for substandard pecans handled under the pecan marketing order (order). The Council administers the order and is comprised of growers and handlers of pecans operating within the production area and a public member. Assessments upon pecan handlers would be used by the Council to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal year begins October 1 and ends September 30. The assessment rates would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Hazelnuts Grown in Oregon and Washington; Recommended Decision and Opportunity To File Written Exceptions to Proposed Amendment of Marketing Order No. 982
This recommended decision proposes amendments to Marketing Order No. 982 (order), which regulates the handling of hazelnuts grown in Oregon and Washington. The proposed amendments are based on the record of a public hearing held on October 18, 2016, in Wilsonville, Oregon. Two amendments are proposed by the Hazelnut Marketing Board (Board), which is responsible for local administration of the order. The proposed amendments would add both the authority to regulate quality for the purpose of pathogen reduction and the authority to establish different regulations for different markets. In addition, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposed to make any such changes as may be necessary to the order to conform to any amendment that may result from the public hearing. The proposals are intended to aid in pathogen reduction and meet the needs of different market destinations.
National Organic Standards Board (NOSB): Call for Nominations
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) was established to assist in the development of standards for substances to be used in organic production and to advise the Secretary on the implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA). Through this Notice, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing its call for nominations to fill one (1) upcoming vacancy for an individual with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation. The five-year term will begin January 24, 2018, and end January 23, 2023. Additionally, the USDA seeks nominations for a pool of candidates that the Secretary of Agriculture can draw upon as replacement appointees if unexpected vacancies occur. A person appointed to fill an unexpected vacancy will serve for the remainder of the 5-year term of the vacant position. Previous applicants who wish to be considered must reapply.