[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 102 (Wednesday, May 28, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 30439-30441]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-12287]



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Rules and Regulations
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Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 102 / Wednesday, May 28, 2014 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 30439]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 905

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-14-0041; FV14-905-2 IR]


Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, and Tangelos Grown in Florida; 
Relaxing Grade Requirements on Valencia and Other Late Type Oranges

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This rule changes the minimum grade requirements currently 
prescribed under the marketing order for oranges, grapefruit, 
tangerines, and tangelos grown in Florida (order). The order is 
administered locally by the Citrus Administrative Committee 
(Committee). This rule reduces the minimum grade requirement for 
Valencia and other late type oranges shipped to interstate markets from 
a U.S. No. 1 to a U.S. No. 1 Golden from May 15 through June 14 each 
season and to a U.S. No. 2 external/U.S. No. 1 internal from June 15 
through August 31 each season. This rule will provide additional 
Valencia and other late type oranges for late season markets, helping 
to maximize fresh shipments.

DATES: Effective May 23, 2014; comments received by July 28, 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: 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, 13563, and 13175.
    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 changes the minimum grade requirement for Valencia and 
other late type oranges shipped to interstate markets from a U.S. No. 1 
to a U.S. No. 1 Golden from May 15 to June 14 each season and to a U.S. 
No. 2 external/U.S. No. 1 internal from June 15 to August 31 each 
season. This rule will provide additional Valencia and other late type 
oranges for late season markets and will help maximize fresh shipments. 
The Committee unanimously recommended these changes at a meeting on 
April 3, 2014.
    Section 905.52 of the order provides, in part, authority to 
establish minimum grade requirements for Florida citrus. Section 
905.306 of the order's rules and regulations specifies the minimum 
grade requirements for different varieties of fresh Florida citrus. 
Such requirements for domestic shipments are specified in Table I of 
Sec.  905.306(a). The characteristics of these grades are specified in 
the U.S. Standards for Grades of Florida Oranges and Tangelos (7 CFR 
51.1140 through 51.1179).
    Last season, the Committee recommended relaxing grade and size 
requirements for the last part of the season. The purpose of this 
change was to make additional Valencia and other late type oranges 
available to supply potential late season markets. The Committee made 
this recommendation as it was difficult to supply late season markets 
due to the limited volume of fruit remaining after May 15 that would 
meet the then-current size and grade requirements. In a rulemaking 
action (78 FR 52079, as corrected at 79 FR 19461), the minimum size 
requirement for Valencia and other late type oranges shipped to 
interstate markets was reduced from 2\8/16\ inches to 2\4/16\ inches 
from May 15 through August 31 each season. This action also reduced the 
minimum grade requirement for Valencia and other late type oranges

[[Page 30440]]

shipped to interstate markets from a U.S. No. 1 to a U.S. No. 1 Golden 
from May 15, 2013, to June 14, 2013, and to a U.S. No. 2 external/U.S. 
No. 1 internal from June 15, 2013, to August 31, 2013.
    At its April 2014 meeting, the Committee discussed the effects of 
the 2012-13 season rulemaking change. The Committee concluded that the 
temporary grade change had provided handlers the opportunity to sell 
additional fruit without affecting overall consumer demand for Valencia 
and other late type oranges. The Committee approximated that the 
industry had benefited from an additional $500,000 in sales as a result 
of the change.
    Consequently, the Committee recommended continuing the relaxation 
in the minimum grade for the 2013-14 season and subsequent seasons. 
Therefore, this rule reduces the minimum grade requirement for Valencia 
and other late type oranges shipped to interstate markets from a U.S. 
No. 1 to a U.S. No. 1 Golden from May 15 to June 14 each season and to 
a U.S. No. 2 external/U.S. No. 1 internal from June 15 to August 31 
each season. The Committee believes that relaxing grade requirements 
will provide an outlet for fruit that may otherwise go unharvested. 
This will maximize fresh shipments by allowing more fruit to be shipped 
to the fresh market, increasing returns to both handlers and growers.

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 approximately 30 Valencia and other late type orange 
handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order and 
approximately 750 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 less than $750,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    Based on industry and Committee data, the average f.o.b. price for 
fresh Valencia and other late type oranges during the 2012-13 season 
was approximately $11.80 per \4/5\ bushel carton, and total fresh 
shipments were approximately 3.6 million cartons. Using the average 
f.o.b. price and shipment data, the majority of Florida Valencia and 
other late type orange handlers could be considered small businesses 
under SBA's definition. In addition, the average annual grower revenue 
is below $750,000 based on production data, grower prices as reported 
by NASS, and the total number of Florida citrus growers. Thus, assuming 
a normal distribution, the majority of Valencia and other late type 
orange handlers and producers may be classified as small entities.
    This rule relaxes the grade requirements for Valencia and other 
late type oranges prescribed under the order. This change will allow 
additional late season fruit to be shipped to the fresh market, 
maximizing shipments and providing additional returns to both handlers 
and growers. This rule revises Sec.  905.306 by reducing the minimum 
grade requirements for interstate shipments of Valencia and other late 
type oranges from a U.S. No. 1 to a U.S. No. 1 Golden from May 15 to 
June 14 each season and to a U.S. No. 2 external/U.S. No. 1 internal 
from June 15 to August 31 each season. Authority for these changes is 
provided for in Sec.  905.52. These changes were unanimously 
recommended by the Committee at its April 3, 2014, meeting.
    This action does not impose any additional costs on the industry. 
However, it is anticipated that this action will have a beneficial 
impact. Reducing the grade requirements for Valencia and other late 
type oranges from May 15 to August 31 will make additional fruit 
available for shipment to the fresh market, providing the opportunity 
to supply late season markets. The Committee believes that relaxing the 
grade requirements will provide an outlet for fruit that may otherwise 
go unharvested. This will allow more fruit to be shipped to the fresh 
market and increase returns to both handlers and growers. The benefits 
of this rule are expected to be equally available to all fresh citrus 
growers and handlers, regardless of their size.
    Regarding alternatives to this action, the Committee considered 
leaving the current grade regulations in place but found that the 
relaxation in grade that was in effect for the 2012-13 season provided 
additional fruit to the fresh market without affecting consumer demand. 
Therefore, the Committee rejected this alternative.
    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 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.
    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 meeting was widely publicized throughout the 
Florida citrus industry and all interested persons were invited to 
attend the meeting and participate in Committee deliberations. Like all 
Committee meetings, the April 3, 2014, 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 a change to the grade requirements 
currently prescribed under the Florida citrus marketing order. Any 
comments received will be considered prior to finalization of this 
rule.
    After consideration of all relevant material presented, including 
the Committee's recommendation, and other information, it is found that 
this

[[Page 30441]]

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) This action relaxes the current grade requirements under 
the order; (2) these changes need to be in effect by May 15, 2014; (3) 
the Committee unanimously recommended these changes 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 905

    Grapefruit, Marketing agreements, 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 parts 905 continues to read as 
follows:

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


0
2. In Sec.  905.306, Table I in paragraph (a) is amended by revising 
the entry for ``Valencia and other late type'' under ``Oranges'' to 
read as follows:


Sec.  905.306  Orange, Grapefruit, Tangerine, and Tangelo Regulation.

    (a) * * *

                                                     Table I
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Minimum
                 Variety                       Regulation period             Minimum grade           diameter
                                                                                                     (inches)
(1)                                       (2).......................  (3).......................             (4)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
Valencia and other late type............  September 1-May 14........  U.S. No. 1................         2\8/16\
                                          May 15-June 14............  U.S. No. 1 Golden.........         2\4/16\
                                          June 15-August 31.........  U.S. No. 2, External/U.S.          2\4/16\
                                                                       No. 1, Internal.
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

    Dated: May 22, 2014.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-12287 Filed 5-23-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P