[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 30 (Monday, February 14, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-3326]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: February 14, 1994]


Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 967

[Docket No. FV93-967-1FIR]


Celery Grown in Florida; Decreased Expenses and Assessment Rate

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Department of Agriculture (Department) is adopting as a 
final rule, without change, the provisions of an amended interim final 
rule that decreased the level of authorized expenses and reduced the 
assessment rate that generates funds to pay those expenses. 
Authorization of this budget enables the Florida Celery Committee 
(Committee) to incur expenses that are reasonable and necessary to 
administer the program. Funds to administer this program are derived 
from assessments on handlers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: August 1, 1993, through July 31, 1994.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Martha Sue Clark, Marketing Order 
Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Division, AMS, USDA, P.O. 
Box 96456, room 2523-S, Washington, DC 20090-6456, telephone 202-720-
9918, or William G. Pimental, Southeast Marketing Field Office, Fruit 
and Vegetable Division, AMS, USDA, P.O. Box 2276, Winter Haven, FL 
33883-2276, telephone 813-299-4770.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is effective under Marketing 
Agreement No. 149 and Order No. 967, both as amended (7 CFR part 967), 
regulating the handling of celery grown in Florida. The marketing 
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 is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive 
Order 12866.
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12778, Civil 
Justice Reform. Under the marketing order provisions now in effect, 
Florida celery is subject to assessments. It is intended that the 
assessment rate as issued herein will be applicable to all assessable 
celery handled during the 1993-94 fiscal year, from August 1, 1993, 
through July 31, 1994. This rule will not preempt any State or local 
laws, regulations, or policies unless they present an irreconcilable 
conflict with this rule.
    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. A 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 the date of the entry of the ruling.
    Pursuant to 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 the 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 seven producers of Florida celery under 
this marketing order, and approximately seven handlers. Small 
agricultural producers have been defined by the Small Business 
Administration (13 CFR 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 
Florida celery producers and handlers may be classified as small 
    The budget of expenses for the 1993-94 fiscal year was prepared by 
the Committee, the agency responsible for local administration of the 
marketing order, and submitted to the Department for approval. The 
members of the Committee are producers and handlers of Florida celery. 
They are familiar with the Committee's needs and with the costs of 
goods and services in their local area and are thus in a position to 
formulate an appropriate budget. The budget was formulated and 
discussed in a public meeting. Thus, all directly affected persons have 
had an opportunity to participate and provide input.
    The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by 
dividing anticipated expenses by expected shipments of Florida celery. 
Because that rate will be applied to actual shipments, it must be 
established at a rate that will provide sufficient income to pay the 
Committee's expenses.
    The Committee met June 9, 1993, and unanimously recommended a 1993-
94 budget of $90,000 and an assessment rate of $0.02 per crate. The 
expenses and assessment rate were published in the Federal Register as 
an interim final rule July 16, 1993 (58 FR 38277). That interim final 
rule added Sec. 967.228, authorizing expenses and establishing an 
assessment rate for the Committee, and provided that interested persons 
could file comments through August 16, 1993. No comments were filed.
    The Committee budgeted $45,000 to the American Celery Council for 
promotional and merchandising activities. However, the Council is no 
longer in business. The Committee subsequently met on October 6, 1993, 
and unanimously recommended a decrease of $45,000 for promotion, 
merchandising, and public relations; reducing funding for the category 
to $15,000. This action reduces the total Committee budget for fiscal 
year 1993-94 to $45,000.
    The Committee also unanimously recommended reducing the assessment 
rate by $0.01, for a total of $0.01. This rate, when applied to 
anticipated shipments of 4,500,000 crates, will yield $45,000 in 
assessment income. Funds in the Committee's authorized reserve as of 
July 31, 1992, were $27,853, which is within the maximum permitted by 
the order of one marketing year's expenses.
    An amended interim final rule was published in the Federal Register 
on November 24, 1993 (58 FR 62033). That interim final rule amended 
Sec. 967.228 to decrease the level of authorized expenses and reduce 
the assessment rate for the Committee. That rule provided that 
interested persons could file comments through December 27, 1993. No 
comments were received.
    While this action will impose some additional costs on handlers, 
the costs are in the form of uniform assessments on handlers. Some of 
the additional costs may be passed on to producers. However, these 
costs will be offset by the benefits derived by the operation of the 
marketing order. Therefore, 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.
    It is further found that good cause exists for not postponing the 
effective date of this action until 30 days after publication in the 
Federal Register (5 U.S.C. 553) because the Committee needs to have 
sufficient funds to pay its expenses which are incurred on a continuous 
basis. The 1993-94 fiscal year began on August 1, 1993. The marketing 
order requires that the rate of assessment for the fiscal period apply 
to all assessable celery handled during the fiscal year. In addition, 
handlers are aware of this action which was recommended by the 
Committee at a public meeting and published in the Federal Register as 
an amended interim final rule.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 967

    Celery, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 967 is 
amended as follows:


    1. The authority citation for 7 CFR Part 967 continues to read as 

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

    Note: This section will not appear in the annual Code of Federal 

    Accordingly, the amended interim rule revising Sec. 967.228 which 
was published at 58 FR 62033 on November 24, 1993, is adopted as a 
final rule without change.

    Dated: February 7, 1994.
Robert C. Keeney,
Deputy Director, Fruit and Vegetable Division.
[FR Doc. 94-3326 Filed 2-11-94; 8:45 am]