[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 7 (Tuesday, January 11, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-605]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: January 11, 1994]


7 CFR Part 906

[Docket No. FV93-906-3FR]


Oranges and Grapefruit Grown in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in 
Texas; Revision of the Handling Requirements for Oranges and Grapefruit

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This rule finalizes without change an interim final rule which 
revised the handling requirements for Texas oranges and grapefruit to 
require handlers to ensure that an inspection certificate accompanies 
each shipment of fruit when it is transported by motor vehicle, and 
that such inspection certificates are surrendered upon leaving the 
production area when requested by Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) 
road guard station personnel designated as agents of the Texas Valley 
Citrus Committee (committee). This revision was designed to help the 
Texas citrus industry ensure that all fresh oranges and grapefruit are 
inspected prior to shipment from the production area.

EFFECTIVE DATE: February 10, 1994.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Belinda Garza, McAllen Marketing Field 
Office, Fruit and Vegetable Division, AMS, USDA, 1313 East Hackberry, 
McAllen, Texas 78501, telephone: (210) 682-2833; or Charles L. Rush, 
Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Division, 
AMS, USDA, P.O. Box 96456, Room 2523-S, Washington, DC 20090-6456, 
telephone: (202) 720-2431.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This final rule is issued under Marketing 
Agreement and Order No. 906 (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 agreement and order are 
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 (Department) is issuing this rule in 
conformance with Executive Order 12866.
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12788, Civil 
Justice Reform. This action is not intended to have retroactive effect. 
This rule will not preempt any state or local laws, regulations, or 
policies, unless they present an irreconcilable conflict with this 
    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 the Secretary 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 requesting 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 the Secretary 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 in equity to review 
the Secretary's ruling on the petition, provided a bill in equity is 
filed not later than 20 days after date of the entry of the ruling.
    Pursuant to the requirements set forth in the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA), the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing 
Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this rule on small 
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
business 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. Thus, both statutes have small 
entity orientation and compatibility.
    There are approximately 15 handlers of oranges and grapefruit 
regulated under the marketing order each season and approximately 750 
orange and grapefruit producers in Texas. Small agricultural producers 
have been defined by the Small Business Administration [13 CFR 
Sec. 121.601] as those having annual receipts of less than $500,000, 
and small agricultural service firms are defined as those whose annual 
receipts are less than $3,500,000. The majority of these handlers and 
producers may be classified as small entities.
    The committee met on August 3, 1993, and unanimously recommended 
revising paragraph (a)(5) of Sec. 906.365 to require handlers to ensure 
that an inspection certificate accompanies each shipment of fruit when 
it is transported by motor vehicle, and that such inspection 
certificates are surrendered upon leaving the production area when 
requested by Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) road guard station 
personnel designated as agents of the committee. The committee meets 
prior to and during each season to review the handling regulations 
effective on a continuous basis for fruit regulated under the marketing 
order. Committee meetings are open to the public, and interested 
persons may express their views at these meetings.
    The committee recommended this action after discussions with TDA 
road guard station personnel on the subject of operating road guard 
stations located on the major roads leading out of the production area 
for Texas oranges and grapefruit. TDA informed the committee that, 
heretofore, TDA road guard station personnel had not been authorized to 
require handlers to surrender a copy of their inspection certificates 
to them, when checking fruit being transported from the production area 
to determine if it had been inspected and certified as meeting order 
requirements. Requiring handlers to surrender a copy of their 
inspection certificates to the TDA will enable TDA personnel to 
determine whether the fruit meets order requirements, thereby helping 
ensure compliance with order provisions. The Department reviews 
committee recommendations and information, as well as information from 
other sources, to determine whether modification, suspension, or 
termination of the handling regulation is needed.
    The interim final rule was issued on October 4, 1993, with an 
effective date of October 8, 1993, and published in the Federal 
Register (58 FR 52400, October 8, 1993). The interim final rule 
provided a 30-comment period ending November 8, 1993, and no comments 
were received.
    The interim final rule amended Sec. 906.365 by adding the following 
sentence at the end of paragraph (a)(5). ``No handler may transport by 
motor vehicle or cause the transportation of any shipment of fruit for 
which an inspection certificate is required unless each such shipment 
is accompanied by a copy of the inspection certificate applicable 
thereto, and a copy of such inspection certificate is surrendered upon 
request to Texas Department of Agriculture Road Guard personnel as 
designated by the committee.''
    This final rule reflects the committee's and the Department's 
appraisal of the need to finalize the revision of handling requirements 
set forth in the interim final rule. The Department's view is that this 
action will have a beneficial impact on producers and handlers, since 
it will authorize TDA road guard station personnel to require surrender 
of inspection certificates upon leaving the production area.
    Based on the above the Administrator of the AMS has determined that 
this action will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.
    After consideration of all relevant matter presented, including the 
information and recommendations 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.

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:


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

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

    2. Accordingly, the interim final rule amending part 906, which was 
published in the Federal Register at 58 FR 54200, October 8, 1993, is 
adopted as a final rule without change.

    Dated: January 5, 1994.
Robert C. Keeney,
Deputy Director, Fruit and Vegetable Division.
[FR Doc. 94-605 Filed 1-10-94; 8:45 am]