[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 179 (Monday, September 16, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 56816-56817]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-22407]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 955

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-12-0071; FV13-955-1 FIR]


Vidalia Onions Grown in Georgia; Change in Reporting and 
Assessment Requirements

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 changed the reporting and 
assessment requirements prescribed under the marketing order for 
Vidalia onions grown in Georgia (order). The interim rule changed the 
date by which handlers are required to submit monthly shipping reports 
and their corresponding assessments to the Vidalia Onion Committee 
(Committee) from the fifth day of the month to the tenth day of the 
month. In addition, the interim rule also changed the due date to the 
first business day after the tenth day of the month, should the tenth 
fall on a weekend or a holiday. These changes benefit handlers without 
negatively affecting program compliance.

DATES: Effective September 17, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Corey Elliott, Marketing Specialist, 
or Christian Nissen, Regional Director, Southeast Marketing Field 
Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable 
Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324-3378, Fax: (863) 325-8793, or 
Email: Corey.Elliott@ams.usda.gov or Christian.Nissen@ams.usda.gov.
    Small businesses may request information on complying with this and 
other marketing order and agreement 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. 955, both as amended (7 CFR part 955), 
regulating the handling of Vidalia onions grown in Georgia, 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.
    The handling of Vidalia onions grown in Georgia is regulated by 7 
CFR part 955. Prior to this change, the order's reporting requirements 
required handlers to file a monthly shipping report and pay 
corresponding assessments on the fifth day of each month following the 
month in which shipments were made. In addition, should the fifth day 
of the month fall on a weekend or holiday, both reports and assessments 
were due on the first business day prior to the fifth.
    These reporting requirements caused difficulties for handlers as 
they did not have sufficient time to close out their internal month-end 
sales paperwork in time to submit their reports by the fifth of the 
month or sooner if the fifth was on a weekend or a holiday. Therefore, 
this rule continues in effect the interim rule published in the Federal 
Register on May 14, 2013, and effective on May 15, 2013, (78 FR 28118, 
Doc. No. AMS-FV-12-0071, FV13-955-1 IFR) that extended the monthly 
reporting and assessment due date an additional five days to the tenth 
day of the month. This rule also continues the change that when the 
tenth day falls on a weekend or a holiday, the due date is the next 
business day following the tenth. These changes allow handlers 
sufficient time to complete their monthly reports and to submit their 
assessments.

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 action 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 
businesses 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 40 handlers of Vidalia onions who are 
subject to regulation under the order and approximately 80 onion 
producers in the designated production area. Small agricultural service 
firms, which include handlers, are defined by the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less than 
$7,000,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those 
having annual receipts of less than $750,000. (13 CFR 121.201)
    Based on the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) and 
Committee data, the average annual grower price for fresh Vidalia 
onions during the 2012 season was around $17 per 40-pound container, 
and total Vidalia onion shipments were around 4,450,000 40-pound 
containers. Using available data, we estimate that more than 90 percent 
of Vidalia onion handlers have annual receipts of less than $7,000,000. 
However, the average receipts for Vidalia producers were around 
$946,000 in 2012, which is higher than the SBA threshold for small 
producers. Assuming a normal distribution, the majority of handlers of 
Vidalia onions may be classified as small entities, while the majority 
of producers may be classified as large entities, according to the SBA 
definition.
    This rule continues in effect the action that changed the reporting 
and assessment requirements prescribed under the order. This rule 
revises sections 955.101 and 955.142 to change when monthly shipping 
reports and assessments, respectively, are due to the Committee from 
the fifth day of the month to the tenth day of the month following the 
month in which the shipments were made. In addition, this rule also 
changes both sections to specify that should the tenth fall on a

[[Page 56817]]

weekend or a holiday, the due date will be the first business day after 
the tenth day of the month. These changes are expected to benefit 
handlers by providing additional time to complete and submit reports 
and assessments without negatively affecting program compliance. 
Authority for these changes is provided for in sections 955.60 and 
955.42.
    It is not anticipated that this action will impose any additional 
costs on the industry. This action relaxes the current due dates for 
monthly reports and assessments, which should benefit all businesses. 
Handlers may see reduced costs as they have more time to submit reports 
without accruing late payment penalties. The effects of this rule are 
expected to benefit both large and small entities.
    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, Generic Vegetable Crops. 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 Vidalia onion 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.
    Further, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized throughout 
the Vidalia onion industry. All interested persons were invited to 
attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all 
Committee meetings, the August 9, 2012, meeting was a public meeting. 
All entities, both large and small, were able to express their views on 
this issue.
    Comments on the interim rule were required to be received on or 
before July 15, 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-12-0071-0001.
    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 (78 FR 28118, May 14, 2013) will tend to effectuate 
the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 955

    Marketing agreements, Onions, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

PART 955--VIDALIA ONIONS GROWN IN GEORGIA

    Accordingly, the interim rule that amended 7 CFR part 955 and that 
was published at 78 FR 28118 on May 14, 2013, is adopted as a final 
rule, without change.

    Dated: September 10, 2013.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-22407 Filed 9-13-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P