[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 179 (Friday, September 15, 1995)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 47858-47860]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-22947]




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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
7 CFR Part 927

[FV95-927-2IFR]


Winter Pears Grown in Oregon, Washington, and California; 
Revision of Reporting Requirements

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim final rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This interim final rule reduces the reporting requirements for 
handlers who have shipped less than 2,500 standard western pear boxes 
during any two-week reporting period of the shipping season. This 
action decreases the reporting burden on such handlers while 
maintaining the information collection necessary for the efficient 
operation of the program. This rule was recommended by the Winter Pear 
Control Committee (Committee), the agency responsible for the local 
administration of the marketing order for winter pears.

EFFECTIVE DATE: September 15, 1995. Comments received by October 16, 
1995 will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments 

[[Page 47859]]
concerning this rule. Comments must be sent in triplicate to the Docket 
Clerk, Fruit and Vegetable Division, AMS, USDA, room 2525-S, P.O. Box 
96456, Washington, DC 20090-6456; Fax: (202) 720-5698. All comments 
should reference the docket 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Teresa L. Hutchinson, Marketing 
Specialist, Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order 
Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Division, AMS, USDA, 1220 SW 
Third Avenue, room 369, Portland, Oregon 97204-2807; telephone: (503) 
326-2724; or Britthany Beadle, Marketing Specialist, Marketing Order 
Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Division, AMS, USDA, room 
2522-S, P.O. Box 96456, Washington, DC 20090-6456; telephone: (202) 
720-5331.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing Order 
No. 927 (7 CFR part 927), regulating the handling of winter pears grown 
in Oregon, Washington, and California, hereinafter referred to as the 
``order.'' This 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 (Department) is issuing this rule in 
conformance with Executive Order 12866.
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12778, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule 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 
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 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 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 requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA), the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service 
(AMS) has considered the economic impact of this action on small 
entities.
    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 90 handlers of winter pears subject to 
regulation under the order and approximately 1,800 producers of winter 
pears in the regulated production area. Small agricultural service 
firms have been defined by the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 
121.601) as those having annual receipts of less than $5,000,000, and 
small agricultural producers are defined as those whose annual receipts 
are less than $500,000. The majority of winter pear handlers and 
producers may be classified as small entities.
    The Committee meets prior to each season to consider 
recommendations for modification, suspension, or termination of the 
regulatory requirements for winter pears which have been issued on a 
continuing basis. Committee meetings are open to the public and 
interested persons may express their views at these meetings. The 
Department reviews Committee recommendations and information submitted 
by the Committee and other available information, and determines 
whether modification, suspension, or termination of the regulatory 
requirements would tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.
    The Committee met on June 2, 1995, and unanimously recommended 
revising Sec. 927.125 of the winter pear marketing order. This section 
governs the reporting requirements for handlers of winter pears.
    Section 927.70 authorizes the Committee, subject to the approval of 
the Secretary, to request information from handlers necessary to 
perform its duties under the order. Section 927.125 provides that each 
handler shall furnish to the Committee, as of every other Friday, a 
``Handler's Statement of Pear Shipments'' and a ``Handler's Packout 
Report'' containing information used by the Committee for the 
collection of assessments and the development of statistical data.
    This rule revises the reporting requirements to allow handlers who 
have shipped less than 2,500 standard western pear boxes during any 
two-week period of the shipping season to report less frequently while 
maintaining the information collection necessary for the efficient 
operation of the program.

    Handlers are currently required to submit the ``Handler's Statement 
of Pear Shipments'' and the ``Handler's Packout Report'' every other 
Friday regardless of the quantity of pears shipped in the preceding 
two-week reporting period. Industry members have acknowledged that this 
can be burdensome for small handlers, who have shipments of less than 
2,500 standard western pear boxes, to report every two weeks.

    The Committee also determined that submission of such winter pear 
shipment data of less than 2,500 standard western pear boxes is not 
necessary on a biweekly basis for the efficient administration of the 
program. As an alternative, handlers may, at their option, not report 
until their accumulated shipments reach 2,500 standard western pear 
boxes, provided that they submit the following: a ``Handler's Packout 
Report'' at the end of harvest which includes a preliminary packout 
estimate; a ``Handler's Statement of Pear Shipments'' and a ``Handler's 
Packout Report'' after completion of shipments from regular storage 
(i.e. non-Controlled Atmosphere storage), at mid-season for Controlled 
Atmosphere storage, and at the completion of shipments. If the 
preliminary packout estimate varies from the actual shipments, an 
explanation of the difference will be required with the final shipment 
report. The two final reports shall be marked ``final report'' and 
include an explanation of the actual shipments versus the original 
estimate, if different.

    Information collection requirements will continue to be 
periodically reviewed by the Committee to ensure that they place a 
minimal burden on handlers required to file the information. Committee 
procedures will also continue to be reviewed and streamlined to assure 
efficiency in administering information collections. The information 
collection requirements contained in these regulations have been 
previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and 
have been assigned OMB Control Number 0581-0089.

    Based on the above information, the Administrator of the AMS has 

[[Page 47860]]
    determined that this interim final rule will not have a significant 
impact on a substantial number of small entities and that the action 
set forth herein will benefit producers and handlers of winter pears.
    After consideration of all available information, it is found that 
this interim final 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 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 reduces 
reporting requirements for winter pear handlers who ship less than 
2,500 standard western pear boxes in a two-week reporting period; (2) 
the Committee unanimously recommended this rule at a public meeting and 
all interested persons had an opportunity to provide input; (3) winter 
pear shipments are expected to begin in early August, and this rule 
should apply to most of the season's shipments; (4) handlers of winter 
pears are aware of this rule and they need no additional time to comply 
with the relaxed requirements; and (5) this rule provides a 30-day 
comment period and any comments received will be considered prior to 
finalization of this rule.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 927

    Marketing agreements, Pears, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 927 is 
amended as follows:

PART 927--WINTER PEARS GROWN IN OREGON, WASHINGTON, AND CALIFORNIA

    1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 927 continues to read as 
follows:

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

    2. Section 927.125 is amended by redesignating paragraphs (d) and 
(e) as paragraphs (e) and (f), respectively, and adding a new paragraph 
(d) to read as follows:


Sec. 927.125  Reports.

* * * * *
    (d) Each handler who has shipped less than 2,500 standard western 
pear boxes during any two-week reporting period of the shipping season 
may, in lieu of reporting biweekly, report as follows:
    (1) At completion of harvest, on the next biweekly reporting date, 
furnish to the Control Committee a ``Handler's Packout Report'';
    (2) After unreported shipments total 2,500 standard western pear 
boxes, furnish to the Control Committee a ``Handler's Statement of Pear 
Shipments'' and a ``Handler's Packout Report'' on the next biweekly 
reporting date;
    (3) After completion of all shipments from regular storage (i.e. 
non-Controlled Atmosphere storage) at the end of the shipping season, 
furnish to the Control Committee a ``Handler's Statement of Pear 
Shipments'' and a ``Handler's Packout Report'' on the next biweekly 
reporting date;
    (4) At mid-season for Controlled Atmosphere storage, at a date 
established by the Control Committee, furnish to the Control Committee 
a ``Handler's Statement of Pear Shipments'' and a ``Handler's Packout 
Report''; and
    (5) At the completion of all seasonal pear shipments, furnish to 
the Control Committee a ``Handler's Statement of Pear Shipments'' and a 
``Handler's Packout Report'' on the next biweekly reporting date. Each 
of these reports shall be marked ``final report'' and include an 
explanation of the actual shipments versus the original estimate, if 
different.
* * * * *
    Dated: September 11, 1995.
Sharon Bomer Lauritsen,
Director, Fruit and Vegetable Division.
[FR Doc. 95-22947 Filed 9-14-95; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P