[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 20 (Thursday, January 30, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 4817-4819]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-01763]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 20 / Thursday, January 30, 2014 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 4817]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 905

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-13-0074; FV13-905-3 FR]


Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Tangelos Grown in Florida; 
Increased Assessment Rate

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This rule increases the assessment rate established for the 
Citrus Administrative Committee (Committee) for the 2013-14 and 
subsequent fiscal periods from $0.008 to $0.009 per \4/5\ bushel carton 
of Florida citrus handled. The Committee locally administers the 
Federal marketing order, which regulates the handling of oranges, 
grapefruit, tangerines, and tangelos grown in Florida. Assessments upon 
Florida citrus handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable 
and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period begins August 
1 and ends July 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect 
indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

DATES: Effective January 31, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Corey E. 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 request information on complying with this 
regulation 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. 905, as amended (7 CFR part 905), regulating the handling of 
oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and tangelos 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 Orders 12866 and 13563.
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. Under the marketing order now in effect, Florida citrus 
handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the order are 
derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate 
as issued herein will be applicable to all assessable Florida citrus 
beginning on August 1, 2013, and continue until amended, suspended, or 
terminated.
    The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted 
before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the 
Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition 
stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation 
imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and 
request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. Such 
handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. 
After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides 
that the district court of the United States in any district in which 
the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of 
business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, 
provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of 
the entry of the ruling.
    This rule increases the assessment rate established for the 
Committee for the 2013-14 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.008 to 
$0.009 per \4/5\ bushel carton of citrus.
    The Florida citrus marketing order provides authority for the 
Committee, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of 
expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the 
program. The members of the Committee are producers and handlers of 
Florida citrus. They are familiar with the Committee's needs and with 
the costs of goods and services in their local area and are therefore 
in a position to formulate an appropriate budget and assessment rate. 
The assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a public meeting. 
Thus, all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate 
and provide input.
    For the 2012-13 and subsequent fiscal periods, the Committee 
recommended, and USDA approved, an assessment rate of $0.008 per \4/5\ 
bushel carton of citrus that would continue in effect from fiscal 
period to fiscal period unless modified, suspended, or terminated by 
USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or 
other information available to USDA.
    The Committee met on July 16, 2013, and unanimously recommended 
2013-14 expenditures of $190,000 and an assessment rate of $0.009 per 
\4/5\ bushel carton of citrus. In comparison, last year's budgeted 
expenditures were $223,500. The assessment rate of $0.009 is $0.001 
higher than the rate currently in effect. Over the past few years, the 
Committee's reserve has been depleted as the Committee has used reserve 
funds to help meet its annual expenditures. Therefore, the Committee 
recommended increasing the assessment rate to generate additional funds 
to increase the Committee's reserve balance.
    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2013-14 
year include $92,400 for salaries; $25,000 for Florida Department of 
Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) manifesting reports and 
statistics; and $13,000 for a retirement plan. Budgeted expenses for 
these items in 2012-13 were $116,200, $25,000, and $18,250, 
respectively.
    The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by 
reviewing anticipated expenses, expected shipments of Florida citrus, 
interest income, and the need to add additional funds to the reserve. 
Florida citrus shipments for the year are estimated at 23.8 million \4/
5\ bushel cartons, which should provide $214,200 in assessment income. 
Income derived from handler assessments and interest

[[Page 4818]]

income should be adequate to cover budgeted expenses. Funds in the 
reserve (projected at approximately $40,000) will be kept within the 
maximum permitted by the order of not to exceed one half of one fiscal 
period's expenses as stated in Sec.  905.42.
    The assessment rate established in this rule will continue in 
effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA 
upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other 
available information.
    Although this assessment rate will be in effect for an indefinite 
period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each 
fiscal period to recommend a budget of expenses and consider 
recommendations to modify the assessment rate. The dates and times of 
Committee meetings are available from the Committee or USDA. Committee 
meetings are open to the public and interested persons may express 
their views at these meetings. USDA will evaluate Committee 
recommendations and other available information to determine whether 
modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking will 
be undertaken as necessary. The Committee's 2013-14 budget and those 
for subsequent fiscal periods would be reviewed and, as appropriate, 
approved by USDA.

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 44 Florida citrus handlers subject to regulation under 
the marketing order and approximately 8,000 producers of citrus in the 
production area. 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 of less than $750,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    Based on industry and Committee data, the average annual f.o.b. 
price for fresh Florida citrus during the 2011-12 season was 
approximately $11.79 per \4/5\ bushel carton, and total fresh shipments 
were approximately 29.5 million cartons. Using the average f.o.b. price 
and shipment data, about 48 percent of the Florida citrus 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 citrus growers, the average annual grower revenue is below 
$750,000. Thus, assuming a normal distribution, the majority of 
handlers of Florida citrus may be classified as large entities and the 
majority of producers of Florida citrus may be classified as small 
entities.
    This rule increases the assessment rate for the 2013-14 and 
subsequent fiscal periods from the current rate of $0.008 to $0.009 per 
\4/5\ bushel carton of citrus. The Committee unanimously recommended 
the increased assessment rate, and 2013-14 expenditures of $190,000. 
The increase was recommended to generate additional funds to add to the 
Committee's reserve. As previously stated, income derived from handler 
assessments and interest should be adequate to meet this year's 
anticipated expenses.
    A review of historical information and preliminary information 
pertaining to the upcoming season indicates that the grower price for 
the 2013-14 season should average around $5.05 per \4/5\ bushel carton 
of citrus. Utilizing this estimate and the assessment rate of $0.009, 
estimated assessment revenue as a percentage of total grower revenue 
should be approximately 0.18 percent for the season.
    Alternative expenditure and assessment levels were discussed prior 
to arriving at this budget. However, the Committee agreed on $190,000 
in expenditures, reviewed the quantity of assessable citrus and the 
need to add additional funds to the reserve, and recommended an 
assessment rate of $0.009 per \4/5\ bushel carton of citrus.
    This action increases the assessment obligation imposed on 
handlers. While assessments impose some additional costs on handlers, 
the costs are minimal and uniform on all handlers. These costs are 
offset by the benefits derived from the operation of the marketing 
order. In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized 
throughout the Florida citrus industry and all interested persons were 
invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee 
deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the July 16, 
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. 0581-0189 (Generic OMB Fruit 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 imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large Florida citrus 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. As noted in the 
initial regulatory flexibility analysis, USDA has not identified any 
relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this 
final rule.
    AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote 
the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide 
increased opportunities for citizens to access Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.
    A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal 
Register on November 13, 2013 (78 FR 67977). Copies of the proposed 
rule were mailed or sent via facsimile to all Florida citrus handlers. 
Finally, the proposal was made available through the internet by USDA 
and the Office of the Federal Register. A 15-day comment period ending 
November 29, 2013, was provided for interested persons to respond to 
the proposal. No comments were received.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide. Any questions 
about the compliance guide should be sent to Jeffrey Smutny at the 
previously-mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section.
    After consideration of all relevant material presented, including 
the information and recommendation submitted by the Committee and other 
available information, it is hereby found that this rule, as 
hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of 
the Act.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it is also found and determined that good 
cause

[[Page 4819]]

exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days 
after publication in the Federal Register because the crop year began 
August 1, 2013, and handlers are already receiving 2013-14 citrus from 
growers. The order requires that the rate of assessment apply to all 
assessable citrus handled during such fiscal period. In addition, the 
Committee needs to have sufficient funds to pay its expenses, which are 
incurred on a continuous basis. Further, handlers are aware of this 
rule, which was recommended at a public meeting. Also, a 15-day comment 
period was provided for in the proposed rule, and no comments were 
received.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 905

    Grapefruit, Oranges, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Tangelos, Tangerines.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 905 is 
amended as follows:

PART 905--ORANGES, GRAPEFRUIT, TANGERINES, AND TANGELOS GROWN IN 
FLORIDA

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 905 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 601-674.

0
2. Section 905.235 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  905.235  Assessment rate.

    On and after August 1, 2013, an assessment rate of $0.009 per \4/5\ 
bushel carton or equivalent is established for Florida citrus covered 
under the order.

    Dated: January 24, 2014.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-01763 Filed 1-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P