[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 20 (Thursday, January 30, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 4819-4820]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-01747]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 987

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-13-0053; FV13-987-1 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 2013-2014 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.90 
to $0.40 per hundredweight of dates handled. The committee locally 
administers the marketing order for dates grown or packed in Riverside 
County, California. The interim rule was necessary to allow the 
committee to reduce its operating expenses while still providing 
adequate funding to meet program expenses.

DATES: Effective January 31, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Terry Vawter, Senior 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: Terry.Vawter@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 Order 
No. 987, as amended (7 CFR part 987), regulating the handling of dates 
grown 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 Orders 12866 and 13563.
    Under the order, California date 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 dates for the entire fiscal period, and continue 
indefinitely until amended, suspended, or terminated. The committee's 
fiscal period begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.
    In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on September 
3, 2013, and effective on October 1, 2013, (78 FR 54147, Doc. No. AMS-
FV-13-0053; FV13-987-1 IR), Sec.  987.339, was amended by decreasing 
the assessment rate established for California dates for the 2013-2014 
and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.90 to $0.40 per hundredweight. 
The reduction in operating expenses allows the committee to decrease 
the per hundredweight assessment rate, 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 
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 70 producers of dates in the production 
area and 11 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. 
The Small Business Administration defines small agricultural producers 
as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000, and small 
agricultural service firms as those whose annual receipts are less than 
$7,000,000. (13 CFR 121.201)
    According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), 
data for the most-recently completed and reported crop year (2011) 
shows that about 4.04 tons, or 8,080 pounds, of dates were produced per 
acre. The 2012 grower price published by NASS was $1,340 per ton, or 
$0.67 per pound. Thus, the value of date production per acre in 2011-12 
averaged about $5,414 (8,080 pounds times $0.67 per pound). At that 
average price, a producer would have to farm over 138 acres to receive 
an annual income from dates of $750,000 ($750,000 divided by $5,414 per 
acre equals 138.53 acres). According to committee staff, the majority 
of California date producers farm less than 138 acres. Thus, it can be 
concluded that the majority of date producers could be considered small 
entities. In addition, according to data from the committee staff, the 
majority of handlers of California dates have receipts of less than 
$7,000,000, and may also be considered small entities.
    This rule continues in effect the action that decreased the 
assessment

[[Page 4820]]

rate established for the committee and collected from handlers for the 
2013-14 and subsequent crop years from $0.90 to $0.40 per hundredweight 
of dates handled. The committee unanimously recommended 2013-14 
expenditures of $97,700 and an assessment rate of $0.40 per 
hundredweight of dates, which is $0.50 lower than the 2012-13 rate. The 
quantity of assessable dates for the 2013-14 crop year is estimated at 
26,500,000 pounds (265,000 hundredweight). Thus, the $0.40 rate should 
provide $106,000 in assessment income. Income derived from handler's 
assessments should be adequate to meet 2013-14 crop year 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 California date industry and all interested persons were 
invited to attend the meeting and encouraged to participate in 
committee deliberations on all issues. Like all committee meetings, the 
June 20, 2013, 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 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 November 4, 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-13-0053-0001.
    This action also affirms information contained in the interim rule 
concerning Executive Orders 12866, 12988, and 13563; 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 54147, September 3, 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

    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 987, which was 
published at 78 FR 54147 on September 3, 2013, is adopted as a final 
rule, without change.

    Dated: January 24, 2014.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-01747 Filed 1-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P