Restructuring of Regulations on the Importation of Plants for Planting
We are restructuring the regulations governing the importation of plants for planting. In the new structure, restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting will no longer be found in the regulations, but instead will be found in the Plants for Planting Manual. We will make changes to the restrictions in the manual after taking public comment through notices published in the Federal Register. As part of this restructuring, we are grouping together restrictions in the plants for planting regulations that apply to the importation of most or all plants for planting, and we are adding general requirements for the development of integrated pest risk management measures that we may use to mitigate the risk associated with the importation of a specific type of plants for planting. We are also amending our foreign quarantine regulations to remove various provisions regarding the importation of specific types of plants for planting that are not currently subject to the general plants for planting regulations; these provisions will also be found in the Plants for Planting Manual. This action does not make any major changes to the restrictions that currently apply to the importation of plants for planting. These changes will make restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting easier for readers to find and less cumbersome for us to change.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) No.: 10.443-Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits applications from community-based and non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Tribal entities to compete for financial assistance through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (hereinafter known as the ``2501 Program''). Individual applicants do not meet the eligibility criteria. Funding is being provided to eligible entities who, in partnership with the Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO), will conduct outreach initiatives and training to achieve the overall goal of the 2501 Programto assist socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in owning and operating farms and ranches while increasing their participation in agricultural programs and services provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Catastrophic Risk Protection Endorsement; Area Risk Protection Insurance Regulations; and the Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Basic Provisions
This document contains necessary amendments to address corrections in the final rule with request for comments for the Catastrophic Risk Protection Endorsement, the Area Risk Protection Insurance Basic Provisions, and the Common Crop Insurance Policy Basic Provisions which published in the Federal Register on November 24, 2017.
Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest; Montana; Stonewall Vegetation Project
The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, Lincoln Ranger District, Montana, intends to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Stonewall Vegetation Project. The project area was impacted by wildfire in 2017 and a preliminary analysis of those effects has shown that supplemental analysis should be completed to assess the change in conditions resulting from the Park Creek Fire.
Guaranteed Loanmaking and Servicing Regulations; Corrections
On June 3, 2016, the Rural Business-Cooperative Service promulgated changes to its Guaranteed Loanmaking and Servicing Regulations. Following final implementation of this final rule, RBS found two technical corrections that are necessary.
Fees for Official Inspection and Official Weighing Services Under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA); Correction
This document corrects an error introduced into our regulations by a final rule that was published in the February 14, 2018, Federal Register. The final rule used the Roman numeral (v) consecutively in a table. This document corrects the table by renumbering the last six items in the table.
Solicitation of Nominations for Members of the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee
The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee). The Advisory Committee meets twice annually to advise AMS on the programs and services it delivers under the U.S. Grain Standards Act (USGSA). Recommendations by the Advisory Committee help AMS better meet the needs of its customers who operate in a dynamic and changing marketplace. The realignment of offices within the U.S. Department of Agriculture authorized by the Secretary's Memorandum dated November 14, 2017, eliminates the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA) as a standalone agency. The grain inspection activities formerly part of GIPSA are now organized under AMS.
Christmas Tree Promotion Research, and Information Order; Referendum
This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible producers and importers of Christmas trees to determine whether they favor continuance of the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) regulations regarding a national Christmas tree research and promotion program.
Privacy Act of 1974; New System of Records
In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposes a new Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) system of records entitled: USDA/FSIS-0004, Public Health Information System (PHIS). PHIS is a Web-based system that collects information generated from FSIS inspection, compliance verification, notification and monitoring activities regarding the slaughter, processing, import and export of meat, and poultry and egg products. Within PHIS, FSIS maintains contact and other identifying information about employees and contractors of USDA, government officials, representatives of regulated establishments, and third parties.
Low Pathogenicity Avian Influenza Program; Public Meeting
We are notifying stakeholders and interested persons that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is hosting a public meeting to provide information on the Agency's current thinking regarding low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) indemnity, compensation, and controlled marketing. The meeting will include an overview of the concepts we are developing with respect to LPAI indemnity, compensation, and controlled marketing and provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss issues of interest.
National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council
The National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (Council) will meet via teleconference. The Council is authorized under Section 9 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act (the Act), as amended, and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Additional information concerning the Council, can be found by visiting the Council's website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/ucf/nucfac.shtml.
Importation of Campanula spp. Plants for Planting in Approved Growing Media From Denmark Into the United States
We are amending the regulations governing the importation of plants for planting by authorizing the importation of Campanula spp. plants for planting from Denmark in approved growing media into the United States, subject to a systems approach. The systems approach will include measures that are currently specified in the regulations as generally applicable to all plants for planting authorized importation into the United States in approved growing media. This action will allow for the importation of Campanula spp. plants for planting from Denmark in approved growing media, while providing protection against the introduction of plant pests.
Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Control of Chronic Wasting Disease
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 control of chronic wasting disease in farmed or captive cervid herds.
Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), herein referred to as RUS or the Agency, announces its Community Connect Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. In addition, this NOSA announces the minimum and maximum Community Connect grant amounts, the funding priority, the application submission dates, the agency contact information, and the procedures for submission of paper and electronic applications. This notice is being issued prior to passage of a final appropriations act to allow potential applicants time to submit proposals and give the Agency time to process applications within the current fiscal year. The Agency will publish the amount of funding received in any continuing resolution or the final appropriations act on its website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/notices- solicitation-applications-nosas. Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant's risk.
Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico; Decreased Assessment Rate
The Department of Agriculture adopts as final, without change, an interim rule that implemented a recommendation from the Administrative Committee for Pistachios (Committee) to decrease the assessment rate established for the 2017-18 and subsequent production years and administrative revisions to the subpart headings to bring the language into conformance with the Office of Federal Register requirements.
Viruses, Serums, Toxins, and Analogous Products; Expiration Date Required for Serial and Subserials and Determination of Expiration Date of Product
We are amending the regulations to clarify that the expiration date of a serial or subserial of a veterinary biologic should be computed from the date of the initiation of the first potency test. We are also requiring the expiration dating period (stability) of a product to be confirmed by conducting a real-time stability study with a stability-indicating assay, stability monitoring of products after licensing, and specifying a single standard for determining the expiration date for veterinary biologics
Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order; Change in Producer Eligibility Requirements and Implementation of Charges for Past Due Assessments
This rule revises the eligibility requirements for producer representatives on the Honey Packers and Importers Board (Board) and prescribes late payment and interest charges on past due assessments under the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) regulation regarding a national research and promotion program for honey and honey products. This rule reduces the minimum production requirement for producers to serve on the Board and thereby allow more producers to be eligible to serve on the Board. This rule also prescribes late payment and interest charges on past due assessments to help facilitate program administration.
Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation Adjustment for 2018
This final rule amends the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) civil monetary penalty regulations by making inflation adjustments as mandated by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.
Strengthening Civil Rights Management
Consistent with Executive Order 13781, ``Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch,'' and using the authority of the Secretary to reorganize the Department under section 4(a) of Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting public comment on a proposed realignment of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR), which will improve customer service, better align functions within the organization, and ensure improved consistency, resource management, and strategic decision-making.
National Organic Program (NOP); Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices
This final rule withdraws the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service. The existing organic livestock and poultry regulations remain effective.
Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program for Federal Fiscal Year 2018
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (the Agency) Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) is being issued prior to passage of a final appropriations act to allow potential applicants time to submit applications for financial assistance under Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, and give the Agency time to process applications within the current fiscal year. This NOSA is being issued prior to enactment of full year appropriation for 2018. The Agency will publish the amount of funding received in any continuing resolution or the final appropriations act on its website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/notices-solicitation-applica tions- nosas. Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant's risk. The REAP has two types of funding assistance: (1) Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Assistance, and (2) Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants. The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their operations. Eligible renewable energy systems for REAP provide energy from: Wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal, or hydrogen derived from these renewable resources. The Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant is available to a unit of State, Tribal, or local government; instrumentality of a State, Tribal, or local government; institution of higher education; rural electric cooperative; a public power entity; or a council, as defined in 16 U.S.C. 3451. The recipient of grant funds, grantee, will establish a program to assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses with evaluating the energy efficiency and the potential to incorporate renewable energy technologies into their operations.
Information Collection: Generic Clearance for Social Science and Economics Data Collections on Goods, Services, and Jobs Provided by Forests and Natural Areas
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on a new generic information collection request, Social Science and Economics Data Collections on Goods, Services, and Jobs Provided by Forests and Natural Areas.
Information Collection: Generic Clearance for Social Science and Economics Data Collections on Natural Disasters and Disturbances
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on a new generic information collection request, Social Science and Economics Data Collections on Natural Disasters and Disturbances.
Information Collection: Generic Clearance for Social Science and Economics Data Collections on Natural Resource Planning and Collaborative Conservation
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on a new generic information collection request, Social Science and Economics Data Collections on Natural Resource Planning and Collaborative Conservation.
Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records
In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of Agriculture (``USDA''), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (``NIFA'') is revising one Privacy Act system of records titled, ''Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Records System, USDA/NIFA- 1'' published on 12/13/2010 to update the system location, categories of records, authorities, purposes, routine uses, and record sources.
Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hereinafter referred to as RUS or the Agency, is confirming the final rule published in the Federal Register on November 27, 2017, which amends its regulation for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program.
Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA); Cotton Ginning Cost-Share Program (CGCS) Payments to Cotton Producers
This NOFA announces the availability of cost-share funds to certain cotton producers of the United States, specifically for the 2016 cotton crop. Eligible CGCS participants will receive a one-time payment, calculated based on a cost-share not to exceed 20 percent of calculated ginning costs by region, the number of cotton acres that were planted, including failed acreage, for the 2016 crop year, and the percentage of share the participant had in such cotton. Similar to other Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) programs, certain eligibility requirements apply, such as a $40,000 per individual or entity payment limit and a requirement that each participant's 3-year average adjusted gross income (AGI) be $900,000 or less. CGCS payments will be made to help the domestic cotton industry find new and improved ways to market cotton.
Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Biological Control of Yellow Toadflax
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 a stem gall weevil, Rhinusa pilosa, for the biological control of yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris). 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.
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 Mississippi State University of Mississippi State, Mississippi, an exclusive license to the variety of blueberry described in U.S. Plant Patent Application Serial No. 15/731,025, ``BLUEBERRY PLANT NAMED `GUMBO','' filed on April 7, 2017.
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 Oklahoma State University of Stillwater, Oklahoma, an exclusive license to the variety of peanut described in Plant Variety Protection Certificate Number 201600156, ``LARIAT'', issued on November 28, 2016.
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 Oklahoma State University of Stillwater, Oklahoma, an exclusive license to the variety of peanut described in Plant Variety Protection Certificate Number 201500363, ``VENUS'', issued on June 27, 2017.
Hiring Flexibility Under Professional Standards
This proposed rule would add four flexibilities to the hiring standards for new school nutrition program directors in small local educational agencies (LEAs) and new school nutrition program State directors under the professional standards regulations for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. First, to address the hiring challenge faced by small LEAs, those with 2,499 or fewer students, this rule would require relevant food service experience rather than school nutrition program experience for new directors. Second, it would provide State agencies with discretion to consider volunteer or unpaid work as relevant food service experience for new school nutrition program directors in small LEAs. Third, to further assist LEAs with less than 500 students, this proposed rule would expand the existing regulatory flexibility which gives State agencies discretion to accept less than the required years of food service experience when an applicant for a new director position has the minimum required education. Fourth, this rule would also add flexibility to the hiring standards for State directors of school nutrition programs by considering applicants with either a bachelor's or a master's degree in specific, relevant fields. These proposed changes are expected to expand the pool of candidates qualified to serve as leaders in the school nutrition programs while continuing to ensure that school nutrition professionals are able to perform their duties effectively and efficiently.
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest; Nevada; Humboldt-Toiyabe Integrated Invasive Plant Treatment Project
The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the effects of controlling and eradicating non-native invasive plants and restoring native vegetation on national forest lands in Nevada. The EIS will analyze actions to be implemented on known infested areas, as well as on infested areas that may be discovered over the next 15 years using a variety of tools, methods, and products.
Onions Grown in South Texas; Proposed Amendment to Marketing Order 959
This proposed rule invites comments on a proposed amendment to Marketing Order No. 959, which regulates the handling of onions grown in south Texas. The proposed amendment would reduce the size of the South Texas Onion Committee (Committee) and make conforming and clarifying amendments as needed. The amendment would adjust the number of handlers and producers on the Committee to reflect a decrease in the number of onion producers and handlers in recent years.
Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; Decreased Assessment Rate
This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (Committee) to decrease the assessment rate established for the 2018 fiscal period and subsequent fiscal periods. This proposed rule also makes administrative revisions to the subpart headings to bring the language into conformance with the Office of Federal Register requirements.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Request for Comments on Topics and Questions
The Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) solicit written comments on the topics and questions to be examined in the review of scientific evidence supporting the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Request for Proposals: Multi-Family Housing Transfer and Prepayment Technical Assistance Grants
This Request for Proposal (RFP or Notice) announces an availability of funds and the timeframe to submit proposals for Multi- Family Housing (MFH) Transfer and Prepayment Technical Assistance (TA) grants. Section 771 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 appropriated $1,000,000 to provide grants to qualified non-profit organizations and public housing authorities (PHA). Selected grantees will use the funds to provide financial and legal TA to the Rural Housing Service (RHS) MFH loan applicants to facilitate the acquisition of RHS Section 515 properties with maturing Rural Development (RD) mortgages, in areas at risk of losing affordable housing. Consistent with Section 771 and the pilot program initiated by RHS on March 1, 2017 (available at: www.rd.usda.gov/files/RDUL-Nonprofit.pdf), this RFP is soliciting proposals from qualified non-profit organizations and PHA to provide TA to MFH loan applicants who are qualified non-profit organizations and PHA with their acquisitions of Section 515 properties with maturing mortgages. Work performed under these grants is expected to result in an increased submission of quality applications for transfers of Section 515 properties to eligible non-profit and PHA loan applicants as defined in RD regulations. Furthermore, it will result in the preservation and continued availability of decent, safe, and sanitary housing for eligible Rural Rental Housing (RRH) tenants and maximize the Government's ongoing return on the public's investment in rural areas. The grant funds must be used to assist eligible loan applicants with specific transactions to acquire Section 515 projects with maturing mortgages under the pilot program. Grant funds are available for obligation through September 30, 2018.