[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 85 (Friday, May 2, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 24997-24999]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-10036]


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

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 946

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-13-0067; FV13-946-2 FIR]


Irish Potatoes Grown in Washington; Temporary Change to the 
Handling Regulations and Reporting Requirements for Yellow Fleshed and 
White Types of Potatoes

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Affirmation of interim rule as a final rule.

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

SUMMARY: The Department of Agriculture is adopting, as a final rule, 
without change, an interim rule that temporarily exempted yellow 
fleshed

[[Page 24998]]

and white types of potatoes from minimum quality, maturity, pack, 
marking, and inspection requirements under the Washington potato 
marketing order through June 30, 2014. The interim rule also modified 
an existing report to require handlers of yellow fleshed and white 
types of potatoes to report information necessary to administer the 
order during the period that such potatoes are exempt from handling 
requirements. This change is expected to reduce overall industry 
expenses and increase net returns to producers and handlers while 
giving the industry the opportunity to explore alternative marketing 
strategies.

DATES: Effective May 5, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Teresa Hutchinson, Marketing 
Specialist, or Gary Olson, Regional Director, Northwest Marketing Field 
Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable 
Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (503) 326-2724, Fax: (503) 326-7440, or 
Email: Teresa.Hutchinson@ams.usda.gov or GaryD.Olson@ams.usda.gov.
    Small businesses may request 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. 946, as amended (7 CFR part 946), regulating the handling of Irish 
potatoes grown in Washington, 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, 13563, and 13175.
    The handling of Irish potatoes grown in Washington is regulated by 
7 CFR part 946. Prior to this change, yellow fleshed and white types of 
potatoes were subject to the requirements contained in the order's 
handling regulations (Sec.  946.336). The Washington potato industry 
was concerned that the cost of mandatory inspections for those types of 
potatoes, which has increased, may outweigh the benefits of having the 
quality regulations in place. By exempting yellow fleshed and white 
types of potatoes from handling regulations, the industry expects to 
reduce overall expenses and provide the handlers the opportunity to 
explore alternative marketing strategies.
    Therefore, this rule continues in effect the interim rule that 
temporarily exempted yellow fleshed and white types of potatoes from 
the order's handling regulations through June 30, 2014. The interim 
rule also modified the order's reporting requirements to require 
reports from handlers of yellow fleshed and white types of potatoes 
through June 30, 2014. Assessments on all fresh yellow fleshed and 
white types of potatoes handled under the order will remain in effect 
during the temporary exemption.
    In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on October 23, 
2013 (78 FR 62967, Doc. No. FV-13-0067, FV13-946-2 IR), Sec.  946.336 
was changed to exempt yellow fleshed and white types of potatoes from 
handling requirements through June 30, 2014, and Sec.  946.143 was 
modified to require that each person handling yellow fleshed and white 
types of potatoes submit a monthly report to the Committee during the 
exemption period.

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 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 43 handlers of Washington potatoes subject to regulation 
under the order and approximately 267 producers in the regulated 
production area. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the 
Small Business Administration 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)
    For the 2011-2012 marketing year, the Committee reports that 
11,018,670 hundredweight of Washington potatoes were shipped into the 
fresh market. Based on average f.o.b. prices estimated by the USDA's 
Economic Research Service and Committee data on individual handler 
shipments, the Committee estimates that 42, or approximately 98 percent 
of the handlers, had annual receipts of less than $7,000,000.
    In addition, based on information provided by the National 
Agricultural Statistics Service, the average producer price for 
Washington potatoes for 2011-2012 was $7.90 per hundredweight. The 
average gross annual revenue for the 267 Washington potato producers is 
therefore calculated to be approximately $326,021. In view of the 
foregoing, the majority of Washington potato handlers and producers may 
be classified as small entities.
    This rule continues in effect the action that exempted yellow 
fleshed and white types of potatoes from the minimum quality, maturity, 
pack, marking, and inspection requirements under the order's handling 
regulations through June 30, 2014. This rule also continues in effect 
the interim rule that modified the order's reporting requirements to 
require reports from handlers of yellow fleshed and white types of 
potatoes during the exemption period. This change is expected to reduce 
overall industry expenses and provide the industry with the opportunity 
to explore alternative marketing strategies. This rule modifies 
Sec. Sec.  946.143 and 946.336. Authority for the change in the order's 
rules and regulations is provided in Sec.  946.52 of the order, while 
authority for reports and records is provided in Sec.  946.70.
    It is not anticipated that this rule will negatively impact small 
businesses. This rule temporarily exempts yellow fleshed and white 
types of potatoes from the minimum quality, maturity, pack, marking, 
and inspection requirements contained in the order's handling 
regulations. While inspections are not mandatory for such potatoes 
during the exemption period, handlers may choose to voluntarily have 
their potatoes inspected. Handlers are thus able to control costs based 
on the demands of their customers. The opportunities and benefits of 
this rule are equally available to all Washington potato handlers and 
producers, regardless of their size.
    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 and Specialty Crops.
    This rule requires the submission of a monthly handler report for 
fresh yellow

[[Page 24999]]

fleshed and white types potatoes handled during the exemption period. 
This rule modified the Russet Fresh Potato Report established for 
russet type potatoes to include yellow fleshed and white types of 
potatoes during the period those types of potatoes are exempted from 
regulation. The modified Self-Reporting Potato Form will provide the 
Committee with information necessary to track shipments and collect 
assessments. AMS has submitted the modified form and a Justification of 
Change to OMB for approval.
    While this rule requires a reporting requirement for yellow fleshed 
and white types of potatoes, their exemption from handling regulations 
also eliminates, for the exemption period, the more frequent reporting 
requirements imposed under the order's special purpose shipment 
exemptions (Sec.  946.336(d) and (e)). Under these paragraphs, handlers 
are required to provide detailed reports whenever they divert regulated 
potatoes for livestock feed, charity, seed, prepeeling, processing, 
grading and storing in specified counties in Oregon, and 
experimentation.
    Therefore, any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements 
on either small or large handlers of yellow fleshed and white types of 
potatoes are expected to be offset by the elimination of the other 
reporting requirements currently in effect. In addition, the temporary 
exemption from handling regulations and inspection requirements for 
yellow fleshed and white types of potatoes is expected to reduce 
industry expenses.
    USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, 
overlap or conflict with this rule.
    The Committee's meetings were widely publicized throughout the 
Washington potato industry and all interested persons were invited to 
participate in Committee deliberations. All Committee meetings where 
this action was discussed were public meetings. All entities, both 
large and small, were able to express views on this issue.
    Comments on the interim rule were required to be received on or 
before December 23, 2013. Three comments were received in response to 
the interim rule.
    One comment supported exemption of yellow fleshed and white types 
of potatoes and urged similar action for red types of potatoes. An 
interim rule was published in the Federal Register on February 12, 
2014, (79 FR 8253) exempting red types of potatoes from the order's 
handling regulations.
    A second comment raised concerns regarding the exemption of yellow 
fleshed and white types of potatoes with respect to Idaho State code 
and the sale of such potatoes in Idaho. Idaho State officials should be 
consulted regarding the application of state requirements, as 
applicable and as is appropriate.
    The third comment was received from the Committee staff. The 
comment stated that on December 10, 2013, the Committee met to discuss 
the temporary exemption of yellow fleshed and white types of potatoes 
from the handling regulations. The comment further stated that, since 
October 24, 2013, the Committee has evaluated industry cost savings and 
the impact on the market resulting from the temporary exemption. No 
negative market impacts were experienced as a result of the temporary 
exemption of these potatoes from the handling regulations. Handlers 
have continued to meet their customers' specifications, either with 
voluntary inspection or with no inspection, during the temporary 
exemption. As a result, the Committee unanimously recommended extending 
the exemption period indefinitely. Such a recommendation would result 
in additional rulemaking.
    Accordingly, for the reasons given in the interim rule, USDA is 
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-13-0067-0001.
    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 62967, October 23, 2013) will tend to 
effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 946

    Marketing agreements, Potatoes, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 946 is 
amended as follows:

PART 946--IRISH POTATOES GROWN IN WASHINGTON

    Accordingly, the interim rule that amended 7 CFR part 946 and that 
was published at 78 FR 62967 on October 23, 2013, is adopted as a final 
rule without change.

    Dated: April 28, 2014.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-10036 Filed 5-1-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P