[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 70 (Thursday, April 11, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 21518-21519]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-08476]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 922

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-12-0027; FV12-922-1 FIR]


Apricots Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Decreased 
Assessment Rate

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Affirmation of interim rule as final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final 
rule, without change, an interim rule that decreased the assessment 
rate established for the Washington Apricot Marketing Committee 
(Committee) for the 2012-13 and subsequent fiscal periods from $1.50 to 
$0.50 per ton of Washington apricots handled. The Committee locally 
administers the marketing order that regulates the handling of apricots 
grown in designated counties in Washington. The interim rule decreased 
the assessment rate to reflect a reduction in the manager's salary and 
the Committee's operating expenditures.

DATES: Effective April 12, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Manuel Michel, Marketing Specialist, 
or Gary Olson, Regional Director, Northwest Marketing Field Office, 
Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, 
AMS, USDA, 805 SW Broadway, Suite 930, Portland, OR 97205; Telephone: 
(503) 326-2724; Fax: (503) 326-7440; or Email: 
Manuel.Michel@ams.usda.gov or GaryD.Olson@ams.usda.gov.
    Small businesses may obtain information on complying with this and 
other marketing order regulations by viewing a guide at the following 
Web site: http://www.ams.usda.gov/MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide; or 
by contacting Jeffrey Smutny, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, 
Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: 
(202) 720-8938, or Email: Jeffrey.Smutny@ams.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing 
Agreement and Order No. 922 (7 CFR part 922), as amended, regulating 
the handling of apricots grown in designated counties in Washington, 
hereinafter referred to as the ``order.'' The order is effective under 
the Agricultural Marketing Agreement

[[Page 21519]]

Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as 
the ``Act.''
    USDA is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 
12866.
    Under the order, Washington apricot handlers are subject to 
assessments, which provide funds to administer the order. Assessment 
rates issued under the order are intended to be applicable to all 
assessable Washington apricots for the entire fiscal period, and 
continue indefinitely until amended, suspended, or terminated. The 
Committee's fiscal period begins April 1, and ends on March 31.
    In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on December 6, 
2012, and effective on December 7, 2012, (77 FR 72861, Doc. No. AMS-FV-
12-0027, FV12-922-1 IR), Sec.  922.235 was amended by decreasing the 
assessment rate established for the Committee for the 2012-13 and 
subsequent fiscal periods from $1.50 to $0.50 per ton of Washington 
apricots handled under the order. The decrease in the assessment rate 
reflects a reduction in the manager's salary and the Committee's 
operating expenditures, and will help reduce industry costs while still 
providing adequate funding to meet program expenses.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 
has considered the economic impact of this rule on small entities. 
Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final regulatory flexibility 
analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
business subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued 
pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in 
that they are brought about through group action of essentially small 
entities acting on their own behalf.
    There are approximately 94 producers of apricots in the production 
area and approximately 20 handlers subject to regulation under the 
marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small 
Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less 
than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as 
those having annual receipts of less than $7,000,000. (13 CFR 121.201)
    The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that in 2011 
the Washington apricot total utilization (including both fresh and 
processed markets) of 3,900 tons sold for an average of $1,830 per ton. 
Accordingly, the total farm-gate value in 2011 was approximately 
$7,132,000. Based on the number of producers in the production area 
(94), the 2011 average revenue from the sale of apricots is estimated 
at approximately $75,925 per producer. In addition, based on 
information from the USDA's Market News Service, 2011 f.o.b. prices for 
WA No. 1 apricots ranged from $20.00 to $26.00 per 24-pound loose-pack 
container, and from $22.00 to $30.00 for 2-layer tray-pack containers. 
Using average price and shipment information provided by the Committee, 
it is determined that each of the Washington apricot handlers currently 
ship less than $7,000,000 worth of apricots on an annual basis. 
Therefore, the majority of producers and handlers of Washington 
apricots may be classified as small entities.
    This rule continues in effect the action that decreased the 
assessment rate established for the Committee and collected from 
handlers for the 2012-13 and subsequent fiscal periods from $1.50 to 
$0.50 per ton of Washington apricots handled under the order. The 
Committee unanimously recommended 2012-13 expenditures of $4,695 and an 
assessment rate of $0.50 per ton of Washington apricots. The assessment 
rate of $0.50 is $1.00 lower than the rate previously in effect. 
Applying the assessment rate of $0.50 per ton of Washington apricots to 
the Committee's crop estimate of 6,600 tons should provide 
approximately $3,300 in assessment income. Thus, income derived from 
handler assessments, along with funds from the Committee's monetary 
reserve, will be adequate to cover the budgeted expenses, while 
maintaining a financial reserve within the limit authorized by the 
order.
    This rule continues in effect the action that decreased the 
assessment obligation imposed on handlers. Assessments are applied 
uniformly on all handlers and some of the costs may be passed on to 
producers. However, decreasing the assessment rate reduces the burden 
on handlers and may reduce the burden on producers.
    In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized 
throughout the Washington apricot industry. All interested persons were 
invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee 
deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the May 24, 
2012, meeting was a public meeting, and all entities, both large and 
small, were able to express views on this issue.
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the order's information collection requirements have been 
previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and 
assigned OMB No. 0581-0189. No changes in those requirements as a 
result of this action are necessary. Should any changes become 
necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval.
    This rule will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large Washington apricot handlers. As 
with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are 
periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and 
duplication by industry and public sector agencies. In addition, USDA 
has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap 
or conflict with this rule.
    Comments on the interim rule were required to be received on or 
before February 4, 2013. No comments were received. Therefore, for the 
reasons given in the interim rule, we are adopting the interim rule as 
a final rule, without change.
    To view the interim rule, go to: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=AMS-FV-12-0027-0001.
    This action also affirms information contained in the interim rule 
concerning Executive Orders 12866 and 12988, the Paperwork Reduction 
Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), and the E-Gov Act (44 U.S.C. 101).
    After consideration of all relevant material presented, it is found 
that finalizing the interim rule, without change, as published in the 
Federal Register (77 FR 72681, December 6, 2012) will tend to 
effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 922

    Apricots, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

PART 922--APRICOTS GROWN IN DESIGNATED COUNTIES IN WASHINGTON

    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 922, published at 
77 FR 72681 on December 6, 2012, is adopted as a final rule, without 
change.

    Dated: April 5, 2013.
David R. Shipman,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-08476 Filed 4-10-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P