[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 82 (Monday, April 29, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 24983-24985]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-09999]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 987

[Docket No. AMS-FV-12-0035; FV12-987-1 FIR]


Domestic Dates Produced or Packed in Riverside County, 
California; 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 California Date Administrative Committee 
(Committee) for the 2012-13 and subsequent crop years from $1.00 to 
$0.90 per hundredweight of dates handled. The Committee locally 
administers the

[[Page 24984]]

marketing order which regulates the handling of dates grown or packed 
in Riverside County, California. Assessments upon date handlers are 
used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the 
program. The crop year begins October 1 and ends September 30. The 
interim rule was necessary because the 2012-13 crop is expected to be 
larger than last year's crop and the current assessment rate would 
generate excess assessment revenues.

DATES: Effective April 30, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathie M. Notoro, Marketing 
Specialist, or Martin Engeler, Regional Director, California Marketing 
Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and 
Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 
487-5906, or Email: Kathie.Notoro@ams.usda.gov or 
Martin.Engeler@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. 987, both as amended (7 CFR part 987), 
regulating the handling of dates produced or packed in Riverside 
County, California, hereinafter referred to as the ``order.'' The order 
is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as 
amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the ``Act.''
    The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in 
conformance with Executive Order 12866.
    Under the order, date handlers are subject to assessments, which 
provide funds to administer the order. It is intended that the 
assessment rate as issued herein will be applicable to all assessable 
dates for the entire crop year, and continue until amended, suspended, 
or terminated. The Committee's crop year begins on October 1 and ends 
on September 30.
    In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on January 8, 
2013, and effective on January 9, 2013, (78 FR 1130, Doc No. AMS-FV-12-
0035; FV12-987-1 IR), Sec.  987.339 was amended by decreasing the 
assessment rate established for dates because the 2012-13 crop is 
expected to be larger than last year's crop and the current assessment 
rate would generate excess assessment revenues. Assessment revenue, 
combined with funds from the sale of cull dates and a contribution from 
the California Date Commission to offset shared marketing expenses, is 
expected to provide sufficient funds to cover the anticipated 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 79 producers of dates in the production 
area and 11 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. 
Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business 
Administration (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts less 
than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as 
those whose annual receipts are less than $7,000,000.
    According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), 
data for the 2011 crop year shows that about 3.68 tons, or 7,360 
pounds, of dates were produced per acre. The 2011 grower price 
published by the NASS was $1,320 per ton, or $.66 per pound. Thus, the 
value of date production per acre in 2011 averaged about $4,858 (7,360 
pounds times $.66 per pound). At that average price, a producer would 
have to farm over 154 acres to receive an annual income from dates of 
$750,000 ($750,000 divided by $4,858 per acre equals 154 acres). 
According to Committee staff, the majority of California date producers 
farm less than 154 acres. Thus, it can be concluded that the majority 
of date producers could be considered small entities. According to data 
from the Committee staff, the majority of handlers of California dates 
may also be considered 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 crop years from $1.00 to $0.90 
per hundredweight of dates handled. The Committee unanimously 
recommended 2012-13 expenditures of $260,000 and an assessment rate of 
$0.90 per hundredweight of dates, which is $0.10 lower than the rate 
previously in effect. The quantity of assessable dates for the 2012-13 
crop year is estimated at 26,500,000 pounds. Thus, the $0.90 rate 
should provide $238,500 in assessment income. Income derived from 
handler's assessments, along with proceeds from the sale of cull dates 
and a contribution from the California Date Commission for shared 
marketing expenses should be adequate to meet the 2012-13 crop year 
expenses.
    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 California date industry and all interested persons were 
invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee 
deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the June 12, 
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. 0581-0178. 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 action imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large Riverside County, California, 
date 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.
    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 March 11, 2013. No comments were received. Therefore, for 
reasons given in the interim rule, we are adopting the

[[Page 24985]]

interim rule as a final rule, without change.
    To view the interim rule, go to: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=AMS-FV-12-0035-0001.
    This action also affirms information contained in the interim rule 
concerning Executive Orders 12866 and 12988, 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 (78 FR 1130, January 8, 2013) will tend to effectuate 
the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 987

    Dates, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

PART 987--DATES PRODUCED OR PACKED IN RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

0
Accordingly, the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 987, which was 
published at 78 FR 1130 on January 8, 2013, is adopted as a final rule, 
without change.

    Dated: April 23, 2013.
David R. Shipman,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-09999 Filed 4-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P