[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 93 (Tuesday, May 14, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 28120-28121]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-11385]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 966

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-12-0051; FV12-966-1 FIR]


Tomatoes Grown in Florida; Decreased Assessment Rate

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Affirmation of interim rule as final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

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 Florida Tomato Committee (Committee) for the 
2012-13 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.037 to $0.024 per 25-
pound carton of tomatoes handled. The Committee locally administers the 
marketing order which regulates the handling of tomatoes grown in 
Florida. The interim rule was necessary to allow the Committee to 
reduce its financial reserve and to help reduce overall industry costs, 
while still providing adequate funding to meet program expenses.

DATES: Effective May 15, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Corey Elliott, Marketing Specialist or 
Christian D. Nissen, Regional Director, Southeast Marketing Field 
Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable 
Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324-3375, Fax: (863) 325-8793, or 
Email: Corey.Elliott@ams.usda.gov or Christian.Nissen@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 No. 125 and Order No. 966, both as amended (7 CFR part 966), 
regulating the handling of tomatoes grown in Florida, 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, Florida tomato 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 Florida tomatoes for the entire fiscal period, and continue 
indefinitely until amended, suspended, or terminated. The Committee's 
fiscal period began on August 1, and ends on July 31.
    In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on February 8, 
2013, and effective on February 11, 2013, (78 FR 9307, Doc. No. AMS-FV-
12-0051, FV12-966-1 IR), Sec.  966.234 was amended by decreasing the 
assessment rate established for Florida tomatoes for the 2012-13 and 
subsequent fiscal periods from $0.037 to $0.024 per 25-pound carton. 
The decrease in the per 25-pound carton assessment rate allows the 
Committee to reduce its financial reserve and helps to reduce overall 
industry cost, 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 80 handlers of tomatoes in the production 
area and approximately 100 producers subject to regulation under the 
marketing order.

[[Page 28121]]

Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) as those whose annual receipts are less than 
$7,000,000 and small agricultural producers are defined as those having 
annual receipts less than $750,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    Based on industry and Committee data, the average annual price for 
fresh Florida tomatoes during the 2011-12 season was approximately 
$6.62 per 25-pound container, and total fresh shipments for the 2011-12 
season were approximately 38,175,363 25-pound cartons of tomatoes. 
Committee data indicates that approximately 21 percent of the handlers 
handle 90 percent of the total volume shipped. Based on the average 
price, about 80 percent of handlers could be considered small 
businesses under SBA's definition. In addition, based on production 
data, grower prices as reported by the National Agricultural Statistics 
Service, and the total number of Florida tomato growers, the average 
annual grower revenue is below $750,000. Thus, the majority of handlers 
and producers of Florida tomatoes 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 $0.037 to 
$0.024 per 25-pound carton of tomatoes. The Committee unanimously 
recommended 2012-13 expenditures of $1,672,952 and an assessment rate 
of $0.024 per 25-pound carton of tomatoes. The assessment rate of 
$0.024 is $0.013 lower than the rate previously in effect. Applying the 
$0.024 rate per 25-pound carton assessment rate to the Committee's 35 
million cartons crop estimate should provide $840,000, in assessment 
income. Income derived from handler assessments, along with funds from 
the Committee's authorized reserve, interest income, and funds from 
block grants, will be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. This action 
will allow the Committee to reduce its financial reserve and will help 
lower overall industry cost, while still providing adequate funding to 
meet program expenses.
    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 Florida tomato industry and all interested persons were 
invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee 
deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the August 
22, 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, Vegetable and Specialty Crops. No changes 
in those requirements as a result of this action are anticipated. 
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 Florida tomato 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 April 9, 2013. No comments were received. Therefore, for 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-12-0051-0001.
    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 9307, February 8, 2013) will tend to effectuate 
the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 966

    Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Tomatoes.

PART 966--TOMATOES GROWN IN FLORIDA

    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 966, which was 
published at 78 FR 9307 on February 8, 2013, is adopted as a final 
rule, without change.

    Dated: May 8, 2013.
David R. Shipman,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-11385 Filed 5-13-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P