[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 40 (Friday, February 28, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11295-11297]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04596]



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Rules and Regulations
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Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 40 / Friday, February 28, 2014 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 11295]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 906

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-14-0015; FV14-906-2 IR]


Oranges and Grapefruit Grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas; 
Change in Size and Grade Requirements for Grapefruit

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This rule relaxes the minimum size and grade requirements 
currently prescribed for grapefruit under the marketing order for 
oranges and grapefruit grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas 
(order). The order is administered locally by the Texas Valley Citrus 
Committee (Committee). This rule relaxes the minimum size requirement 
for grapefruit from 3\5/16\ inches to 3 inches in diameter and reduces 
the minimum grade requirement for small-sized grapefruit. This rule 
will provide additional grapefruit to meet market demand, helping to 
maximize fresh shipments.

DATES: Effective March 1, 2014; comments received by April 29, 2014 
will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments 
concerning this rule. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, 
Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, 
AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 
20250-0237; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should reference the document number 
and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and 
will be made available for public inspection in the Office of the 
Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule 
will be included in the record and will be made available to the 
public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or 
entities submitting comments will be made public on the internet at the 
address provided above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doris Jamieson, 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: Doris.Jamieson@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 
Agreement and Order No. 906, as amended (7 CFR part 906), regulating 
the handling of oranges and grapefruit grown in the Lower Rio Grande 
Valley in Texas, 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, 13175, and 13563.
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect.
    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. A 
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 relaxes the minimum size and grade requirements for 
grapefruit prescribed under the order. This rule relaxes the minimum 
size requirement for grapefruit from 3\5/16\ inches to 3 inches in 
diameter and reduces the minimum grade requirement for small-sized 
grapefruit. This rule will provide additional grapefruit to meet market 
demand and will help maximize fresh shipments. These changes were 
unanimously recommended by the Committee at a meeting on December 11, 
2013.
    Section 906.40 of the order provides, in part, authority to 
establish minimum grade and size requirements for Texas citrus. Section 
906.340 of the rules and regulations includes Table II that specifies 
the numerical size designations and diameters used to delineate the 
available pack sizes for grapefruit. Section 906.365 specifies the 
minimum grade and size requirements for fresh shipments of Texas 
grapefruit.
    At its meeting, the Committee discussed the impact the recent 
freeze in California had on the citrus crop and agreed the freeze had 
reduced the amount of fruit available for shipment to the fresh market. 
They also discussed the decline in citrus production in Florida caused 
by citrus greening and other diseases. The Committee believes this 
creates a shortage of fruit available to supply the fresh fruit market, 
which the Texas citrus growers and handlers should fill. The Committee 
noted that additional fruit was available from the Texas citrus 
industry. However, the fruit is smaller in size and would not meet the 
order's current size and grade requirements. The Committee also 
recognized that consumers are now showing a preference for smaller-
sized fruit. The Committee believes relaxing the requirements would 
make more fruit available to fill the market shortfall caused by the 
decline in production from other growing regions and provide smaller-
sized fruit to meet consumer demand.

[[Page 11296]]

    Consequently, to make more fruit available for shipment to the 
fresh market and to meet consumer demand, the Committee recommended a 
relaxation of the size and grade requirements for grapefruit. This rule 
changes the minimum size requirement for grapefruit from 3\5/16\ inches 
(size 56) to 3 inches (size 64) in diameter and adds size 64 to the 
available pack sizes for grapefruit listed under Table II in Sec.  
906.340, as well as adding language concerning pack and sizing 
requirements.
    Currently, fruit sized 48 (3\9/16\ inches) and larger must meet a 
minimum grade requirement of a ``Texas Choice'' as defined in Sec.  
906.137 of the order, while size 56 fruit must meet the more 
restrictive grade of a U.S. No. 1. This rule relaxes the minimum grade 
for a size 56, establishing a minimum grade of ``Texas Choice'' for 
both size 56 and size 64 grapefruit. This makes the minimum grade 
consistent for all available sizes.
    The Committee believes relaxing these size and grade requirements 
will make more fruit available to meet market demand, helping to 
maximize fresh shipments and increasing returns to growers and 
handlers.
    The Committee also recommended a relaxation in the minimum size 
requirement for oranges covered under the order. This change is being 
considered under a separate action.

Initial 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 initial 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 13 registered handlers of Texas citrus who are subject to 
regulation under the marketing order and approximately 150 producers of 
grapefruit in the regulated 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).
    According to National Agricultural Statistics Service data, the 
average f.o.b. price for Texas grapefruit during the 2012-13 season was 
$24.10 per box, and total fresh shipments were approximately 3 million 
boxes. Using the average f.o.b. price and shipment data, and 
considering a normal distribution, the majority of Texas grapefruit 
handlers could be considered small businesses under SBA's definition. 
In addition, based on production data, grower prices, and the total 
number of Texas citrus growers, the average annual grower revenue is 
below $750,000. Thus, the majority of handlers and producers of 
grapefruit may be classified as small entities.
    This rule relaxes the size and grade requirements for grapefruit 
prescribed under the order. This rule relaxes the minimum size 
requirement for grapefruit from 3\5/16\ inches (size 56) to 3 inches 
(size 64). This action also relaxes the minimum grade requirement for 
size 56 fruit from a U.S. No. 1 to a ``Texas Choice'' and establishes 
the minimum grade for a size 64 as a ``Texas Choice.'' These changes 
are expected to make additional fruit available for shipment to the 
fresh market, maximize shipments, provide additional returns to 
handlers and growers, and respond to consumer demand for small-sized 
fruit. Authority for these changes is provided in Sec.  906.40. This 
rule amends the provisions in Sec. Sec.  906.340 and 906.365. The 
Committee unanimously recommended these changes at its December 11, 
2013, meeting.
    This rule is not expected to increase costs associated with the 
order's requirements. Rather, it is anticipated that this action will 
have a beneficial impact. Reducing size and grade requirements will 
make additional fruit available for shipment to the fresh market. The 
Committee believes this will provide additional fruit to fill the 
shortage caused by the reduced amount of fruit available from other 
growing regions and will provide the opportunity to fulfill growing 
consumer demand for smaller-sized fruit. This action will also provide 
an outlet for fruit that may otherwise go unharvested, maximizing fresh 
shipments and increasing returns to handlers and growers. The benefits 
of this rule are expected to be equally available to all fresh 
grapefruit growers and handlers, regardless of their size.
    An alternative to this action would be to maintain the current 
minimum requirements for domestic shipments of grapefruit. However, 
leaving the requirements unchanged would not make any additional fruit 
available nor would it provide smaller-sized fruit to meet consumer 
demand. Therefore, this alternative was rejected.
    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 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 will not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large Texas 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.
    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 citizen access to Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.
    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 Texas citrus industry and all interested persons were invited to 
attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all 
Committee meetings, the December 11, 2013, meeting was a public meeting 
and all entities, both large and small, were able to express their 
views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit 
comments on this interim rule, including the regulatory and 
informational impacts of this action on small businesses.
    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.
    This rule invites comments on changes to size and grade 
requirements currently prescribed for grapefruit under the marketing 
order for oranges and grapefruit grown in Lower Rio Grande Valley in 
Texas. Any comments received will be considered prior to finalization 
of this rule.

[[Page 11297]]

    After consideration of all relevant material presented, including 
the Committee's recommendation, and other information, it is found that 
this interim 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 upon good 
cause that it is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public 
interest to give preliminary notice prior to putting this rule into 
effect and that good cause exists for not postponing the effective date 
of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register 
because: (1) The shipping season for grapefruit has already started; 
(2) this action relaxes current size and grade requirements; (3) the 
Committee unanimously recommended this change at a public meeting and 
interested parties had an opportunity to provide input; and (4) this 
rule provides a 60-day comment period and any comments received will be 
considered prior to finalization of this rule.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 906

    Grapefruit, Marketing agreements, Oranges, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 906 is 
amended as follows:

PART 906--ORANGES AND GRAPEFRUIT GROWN IN LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY 
IN TEXAS

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 906 continues to read as 
follows:

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


0
2. In Sec.  906.340, paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(A) and Table II--Grapefruit 
are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  906.340  Container, pack, and container marking regulations.

    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (A) Grapefruit, when packed in any carton, bag, or other container, 
shall be sized in accordance with the sizes in the following Table II, 
except as otherwise provided in the regulations issued pursuant to this 
part, and meet the requirements of standard pack; and, when in 
containers not packed according to a definite pattern, shall be sized 
in accordance with the sizes in Table II: Provided, That the packing 
tolerances in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Grapefruit (Texas and 
States other than Florida, California, and Arizona), shall apply to 
fruit so packed. All fruit packed to size 64 in the following Table II 
shall be sized in accordance with the sizes in Table II but need not 
otherwise meet the requirements of standard pack: Provided, That they 
meet the same tolerances for off-size and pack as defined in the U.S. 
Standards for Grades of Grapefruit (Texas and States other than 
Florida, California, and Arizona).

                          Table II--Grapefruit
                         [\7/10\ Bushel carton]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Diameter in inches
       Pack size/ number of  grapefruit        -------------------------
                                                  Minimum      Maximum
------------------------------------------------------------------------
18............................................     4\15/16\      5\9/16\
23............................................      4\5/16\            5
27............................................      4\2/16\     4\12/16\
32............................................     3\15/16\      4\8/16\
36............................................     3\13/16\      4\5/16\
40............................................     3\10/16\      4\2/16\
48............................................      3\9/16\     3\14/16\
56............................................      3\5/16\     3\10/16\
64............................................            3      3\8/16\
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  906.365, paragraph (a)(4) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  906.365  Texas Orange and Grapefruit Regulation 34.

    (a) * * *
    (4) Such grapefruit are at least pack size 64 with a minimum 
diameter of 3 inches.
* * * * *

    Dated: February 26, 2014.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-04596 Filed 2-27-14; 8:45 am]
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