Rules of Practice and Procedure Governing Formal Rulemaking Proceedings Instituted by the Secretary
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting a final rule to establish rules of practice and procedure governing formal rulemaking proceedings instituted by the Secretary. This final rule applies to rulemakings that are not subject to the rules of practice and procedure for the promulgation of, or an amendment to, marketing orders or research and promotion orders.
Office of Tribal Relations; Council for Native American Farming and Ranching
This notice announces a forthcoming meeting of The Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (CNAFR), a public advisory committee of the Office of Tribal Relations (OTR). Notice of the meetings are provided in accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended. This will be the first meeting held during fiscal year 2018 and will consist of, but not be limited to: Hearing public comments, subcommittee report outs, and discussion of potential recommendations. This meeting will be open to the public.
Black Stem Rust; Additions of Rust-Resistant Species and Varieties
On September 5, 2017, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published a direct final rule. The direct final rule notified the public of our intention to amend the black stem rust quarantine and regulations by adding 15 varieties to the list of rust-resistant Berberis species and varieties and 2 varieties to the list of rust- resistant Mahonia species and varieties. We received two comments, which are addressed in this document.
Availability of an Environmental Assessment for the Biological Control of Yellow Toadflax
We are extending the comment period for our draft environmental assessment relative to the control of yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris), which considers the effects of, and alternatives to, the field release of a stem gall weevil, Rhinusa pilosa, into the continental United States for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of yellow toadflax infestations. This action will allow interested persons additional time to prepare and submit comments.
Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request: Collection of Contact Information of Schools That Participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Organizations That Participate in the USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for Sharing Team Nutrition's Nutrition Education, Training, and Technical Assistance Resources
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on this proposed information collection. This is a new collection for facilitating a communication network among CACFP organizations and USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Child Nutrition Programs, as well as between schools participating in the National School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch programs, both via the Team Nutrition initiative.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; Approval of Information Collection Request
The final rule and interim final rule titled Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 was published on January 6, 2017 (82 FR 2010). The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cleared the associated information collection requirements on July 13, 2017. This document announces approval of the ICR.
Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board
The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board (Board) will meet in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Board is established consistent with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, of 1972, the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, the National Forest Management Act of 1976, and the Federal Public Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Additional information concerning the Board, including the meeting summary/minutes, can be found by visiting the Board's Web site at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/blackhills/workingtogether/ advisorycommittees.
Report Prepared Pursuant to Executive Order 13783-Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service (Forest Service) has prepared its final report pursuant to Section 2 of Executive Order 13783Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth (E.O. 13783). Section 2 of E.O. 13783 mandates an immediate review of all Federal agency actions that potentially unduly burden the safe, efficient development of domestic energy resources, and requires heads of Federal agencies to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions (collectively, agency actions) that potentially unduly burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources. E.O. 13783 also requires Federal agencies to make recommendations that could alleviate or eliminate aspects of their actions that unduly burden domestic energy production.
Newspapers for Publication of Legal Notices in the Eastern Region
Forest Service administrative review procedures require agency officials to publish legal notices in newspapers of record for certain opportunities to comment and opportunities to file pre-decisional objections. Forest Service officials in the Eastern Region will publish those legal notices in the newspapers listed in this notice. The Eastern Region consists of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New York, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The public shall be advised through a Federal Register Notice, of the newspaper of record to be utilized for publishing legal notice of comment and objection opportunities required by those Parts and their associated procedures. This notice fulfills that requirement for the Eastern Region.
Information Collection; Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the extension with no revision of a currently approved information collection, Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery.
Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Importation of Plants for Planting; Establishing a Category for Plants for Planting Not Authorized for Importation Pending Pest Risk Analysis
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the category of plants for planting that are not authorized for importation pending pest risk analysis.
Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Importation of Tomatoes From France, Morocco, Western Sahara, Chile, and Spain
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the regulations for the importation of fresh tomatoes from France, Morocco, Western Sahara, Chile, and Spain.
Bayer CropScience LP; Availability of Petition for Determination of Nonregulated Status of Cotton Genetically Engineered for Resistance to Glyphosate and Isoxaflutole
We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has received a petition from Bayer CropScience LP seeking a determination of nonregulated status of cotton designated as event GHB811, which has been genetically engineered for dual resistance to the herbicides glyphosate and isoxaflutole. The petition has been submitted in accordance with our regulations concerning the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms and products. We are making the Bayer CropScience LP petition available for review and comment to help us identify potential environmental and interrelated economic issues and impacts that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service may determine should be considered in our evaluation of the petition.
Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request
The Department of Agriculture published a document in the Federal Register on October 18, 2017, page number 48476 concerning a request for comments on information collection 0535New ``Fast Track Generic Clearance for Qualitative Feedback on Customer Satisfaction Surveys.'' That notice was missing the comment and contact information. The following replacement notice contains this information. The Department of Agriculture will submit the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 on or after the date of publication of this notice. Comments are requested regarding: (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC; New Executive Office Building, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503. Commenters are encouraged to submit their comments to OMB via email to: OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250- 7602. Comments regarding these information collections are best assured of having their full effect if received by November 27, 2017. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8681. An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on the following information collection for which RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order; De Minimis Quantity Exemption Threshold
This rule establishes a de minimis quantity exemption threshold under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) regulations regarding a national research and promotion program for softwood lumber. In response to a 2016 federal district court decision, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducted a new analysis to determine a reasonable and appropriate de minimis threshold. Based on that analysis, this rule establishes the de minimis quantity threshold at 15 million board feet (mmbf) and entities manufacturing (and domestically shipping) or importing less than 15 mmbf per year will be exempt from paying assessments under the regulations.
Meeting of the National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule
The National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule Committee (Committee) will meet in El Dorado Hills, California. Attendees may also listen via webinar and conference call. The Committee operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Additional information relating to the Committee, including the meeting summary/ minutes, can be found by visiting the Committee's Web site at: http:// www.fs.usda.gov/main/planningrule/committee.
National Organic Program: Notice of Interim Instruction, Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Imports
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the availability of an interim instruction document intended for use by USDA-accredited organic certifying agents (certifiers). The interim instruction is entitled as follows: Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Imports (NOP 4013). This interim instruction explains the USDA organic regulations' current requirements for certifiers engaged in the oversight of organic products imported into the United States. It also recommends best practices that certifiers may use in order to comply with the existing regulations. AMS invites organic handlers, certifying agents, importers, consumers, and other interested parties to submit comments on the interim instruction. Specifically, comments should address the parts of the instruction that recommend best practices that certifiers may use to ensure compliance with the USDA organic regulations. This document is not intended to request comments on the existing USDA organic regulations found at 7 CFR part 205.
Multi-Family Housing Program Requirements To Reduce Financial Reporting Requirements
The Rural Housing Service (RHS) is revising its existing regulations regarding financial reporting. This action is necessary to align RHS requirements with those of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) utilizing a risk-based threshold reporting which will reduce the burden on the borrower to produce multiple financial reports; focus on high-risk properties; and, reduce the financial cost of reporting on properties.
Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico; Decreased Assessment Rate
This rule implements a recommendation from the Administrative Committee for Pistachios (Committee) for a decrease in the assessment rate established for the 2017-18 and subsequent production years from $0.0010 to $0.0001 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, and a public member. Assessments upon pistachio handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The production year begins September 1 and ends August 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
Animal Welfare; Procedures for Applying for Licenses and Renewals
We are extending the comment period for our advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding potential revisions to the licensing requirements under our Animal Welfare Act regulations. This action will allow interested persons additional time to prepare and submit comments.
United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking public comment on revisions to the United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses (pork standards). The last revision to the pork standards occurred in 1985 and the standards no longer accurately reflect value differences in today's pork products. Modern pork production is characterized by products with improved color and higher marbling content, two factors that have been consistently identified by researchers as the main components affecting pork eating quality.
Information Collection Activity; Comment Request
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on this information collection for which RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels for the Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities Grant Program
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a document in the Federal Register on October 12, 2017 announcing the availability of up to $10 million in fiscal year 2017 (FY17) and application deadlines for competitive grants to assist communities with extremely high energy costs. The current version of one of the required forms to be included with the Application was not correctly identified.
Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA); Dairy Assistance Program for Puerto Rico (DAP-PR) in Response to 2017 Hurricanes
This NOFA is in response to the devastation to dairy operations left by 2017 hurricanes in Puerto Rico. This NOFA announces the availability of an estimated $12 million to provide assistance to dairy operations in Puerto Rico for buying feed from feed dealers in Puerto Rico. Each dairy operation in Puerto Rico can apply to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to receive a voucher to purchase a one-month supply of feed for 100 percent of the feed cost, as calculated by FSA. At the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture, additional assistance may be provided for additional days of feed or for purchasing fuel if funds remain available, taking into consideration, among other things, the value of the feed vouchers. DAP-PR assistance will be provided to help the dairy industry in Puerto Rico with the production and marketing of dairy.
Implementation of Revised Lacey Act Provisions
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 amended the Lacey Act to provide, among other things, that importers submit a declaration at the time of importation for certain plants and plant products. The declaration requirements of the Lacey Act became effective on December 15, 2008, and enforcement of those requirements is being phased in. In 2009, we initiated a blanket declaration pilot program for participants in U.S. Customs and Border Protection's expedited border release programs. In this notice, we are announcing the end of the blanket declaration pilot program and providing guidance on how participants in the program may continue to file declarations as required by the Lacey Act.
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 action relaxes the allowance for damaged kernels in farmers stock peanuts when determining segregation. This change increases the allowance for damaged kernels under Segregation 1 from not more than 2.49 percent to not more than 3.49 percent. The requirements for Segregation 2 are also adjusted to reflect this change. The Board recommended this change to align the incoming standards with recent changes to the outgoing quality standards and to help increase returns to producers.
Announcement of Loan Refinancing Procedures, and Deadlines for the Refinancing of Federal Financing Bank Loans Pilot Program (Refinancing Program)
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is soliciting Letters of Intent and opening a window for a pilot program to refinance a loan, or any part thereof, consisting of one or more whole but not partial advance(s), made under a loan by the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) and guaranteed by RUS. RUS is announcing the process for the Refinancing of Federal Financing Bank Loans Pilot Program (Refinancing Program) made to RUS Electric Program borrowers operating as an electric utility (Eligible entity). This notice describes the eligibility requirements, the process and deadlines, and the criteria that will be used by RUS to assess refinancing requests from Eligible entities with outstanding FFB debt. The Refinancing Program will refinance a higher interest rate loan or a portion thereof i.e., one or more advance under a FFB loan at the interest rate available as of the date of the advance of the new FFB loan used to refinance the outstanding FFB loan. A new FFB loan will be advanced to prepay the FFB loan. A maximum amount for refinancing per Eligible entity is also being announced. The new FFB loan will be made for the amount identified solely by FFB and RUS to prepay the outstanding FFB loan together with the required prepayment premium, if applicable. In order to maximize the Refinancing Program and the benefits to electric consumers, the Eligible entity will have the option of paying the prepayment premium or rolling the amount into the new FFB loan. The Refinancing Program is made available under Section 749 of the Public Law 115-31, Consolidated Appropriations, Act 2017 (section 749).
Scope of Sections 202(a) and (b) of the Packers and Stockyards Act
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), Packers and Stockyards Program is withdrawing the interim final rule (IFR) published in the Federal Register on December 20, 2016. Had the IFR become effective, it would have added a paragraph to the regulations issued under the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act) addressing the scope of sections 202(a) and (b) of the P&S Act, which enumerate unlawful practices under the Act. Specifically, the IFR would have added a paragraph to the regulations further explaining the scope of sections 202(a) and (b) of the P&S Act such that certain conduct or actions, depending on their nature and the circumstances, could be found to violate the P&S Act without a finding of harm or likely harm to competition. GIPSA accepted and analyzed comments on the IFR received on or before March 24, 2017. In addition, in the April 12, 2017 Federal Register, GIPSA solicited and analyzed comments received on or before June 12, 2017, on four alternative actions regarding the disposition of the IFR. After careful review and consideration of all comments received, GIPSA is withdrawing the IFR.
Unfair Practices and Undue Preferences in Violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act
The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), Packers and Stockyards Program (P&SP) is notifying the public that after review and careful consideration of the public comments received, GIPSA will take no further action on the proposed rule published on December 20, 2016.
Notice of the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics Meeting
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announces a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics.
Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive License
Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, intends to grant to the CALIFORNIA TABLE GRAPE COMMISSION of FRESNO, CALIFORNIA, an exclusive license to the variety of table grape described in U.S. Plant Patent Application Serial No. 15/731,420, ``GRAPEVINE NAMED `SOLBRIO,' '' filed on JUNE 6, 2017.
Notice of Determination of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease Status of Japan
We are advising the public that we are recognizing Japan as being free of highly pathogenic avian influenza and Newcastle disease. This recognition is based on a risk evaluation we prepared and made available for public review and comment.
Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Gypsy Moth Identification Worksheet and Checklist
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the gypsy moth program.
Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Black Stem Rust; Identification Requirements for Addition of Rust-Resistant Varieties
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request an extension of approval of an information collection associated with the black stem rust quarantine and regulations.
Availability of a Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a Release of Three Parasitoids for Biological Control of the Lily Leaf Beetle
We are advising the public that an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact have been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service relative to the release of three parasitoids, Diaparsis jucunda, Lemophagus errabundus, and Tetrastichus setifer, for the biological control of the lily leaf beetle in the contiguous United States. Based on its finding of no significant impact, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact statement need not be prepared.