[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 132 (Monday, July 11, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 44759-44761]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-16330]



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Rules and Regulations
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Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 132 / Monday, July 11, 2016 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 44759]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 925

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-14-0049; FV14-925-3]


Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; 
Order Amending Marketing Order 925

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This final rule amends Marketing Agreement and Order No. 925 
(order), which regulates the handling of table grapes grown in a 
designated area of southeastern California. The amendments approved by 
producers in the referendum were proposed by the California Desert 
Grape Administrative Committee (Committee), which is responsible for 
the local administration of the order. The new amendments to the order 
will increase term lengths for Committee members and alternates from 
one to four fiscal periods and allow new members and alternates to 
agree to accept their nominations prior to selection by the Secretary. 
These amendments are intended to increase the Committee's effectiveness 
and bolster industry participation in Committee activities. The 
amendment proposed by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) that 
would add authority for periodic continuance referenda was not approved 
in the referendum.

DATES: This rule is effective August 10, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Geronimo Quinones, Marketing 
Specialist, or Michelle P. Sharrow, Rulemaking Branch Chief, Marketing 
Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; 
Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: 
[email protected] or [email protected].
    Small businesses may request information on complying with this 
regulation by contacting Antoinette Carter, Marketing Order and 
Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; 
Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing 
Agreement and Order No. 925, both as amended (7 CFR part 925), 
regulating the handling of table grapes grown in a designated area of 
southeastern California, 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 applicable rules of practice and procedure governing the 
formulation of marketing agreements and orders (7 CFR part 900) 
authorize amendment of the order through this informal rulemaking 
action.
    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. 
This rule shall not be deemed to preclude, preempt, or supersede any 
State program covering table grapes grown in southeastern California.
    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.
    Section 1504 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 
(2008 Farm Bill) (Pub. L. 110-246) amended section 18c(17) of the Act, 
which in turn required the addition of supplemental rules of practice 
to 7 CFR part 900 (73 FR 49307; August 21, 2008). The amendment of 
section 18c(17) of the Act and additional supplemental rules of 
practice authorize the use of informal rulemaking (5 U.S.C. 553) to 
amend Federal fruit, vegetable, and nut marketing agreements and 
orders. USDA may use informal rulemaking to amend marketing orders 
based on the nature and complexity of the proposed amendments, the 
potential regulatory and economic impacts on affected entities, and any 
other relevant matters.
    AMS considered the nature and complexity of the proposed 
amendments, the potential regulatory and economic impacts on affected 
entities, and other relevant matters, and determined that amending the 
order as proposed by the Committee could appropriately be accomplished 
through informal rulemaking.
    The proposed amendments were unanimously recommended by the 
Committee following deliberations at a public meeting held on November 
5, 2013.
    A proposed rule soliciting comments on the proposed amendments was 
issued on June 1, 2015, and published in the Federal Register on June 
5, 2015 (80 FR 32043). No comments were received. A proposed rule and 
referendum order was issued on October 1, 2015, and published in the 
Federal Register on October 7, 2015 (80 FR 60570). This document 
directed that a referendum among table grape producers be conducted 
during the period of January 21, 2016 through February 4, 2016, to 
determine whether they favor the proposed amendments to the order. To 
become effective, the amendments had to be approved by at least two-
thirds of the producers voting, or two-thirds of the volume of table 
grapes represented by voters in the referendum. The amendments to 
increase the length of the term of office for members and to allow 
members to accept their nominations prior to selection, which were 
recommended by

[[Page 44760]]

the Committee were favored by 100 percent of the growers voting in the 
referendum. The number of votes on the third amendment, which was 
proposed by AMS, were exactly split 50 percent in favor and 50 percent 
opposed.
    The amendments included in this final rule will: (1) Increase the 
length of the term of office for Committee members and alternates from 
one to four fiscal periods, and (2) allow new members and alternates to 
agree to accept their nominations prior to selection by the Secretary.
    The third amendment recommended by AMS concerning periodic 
continuance referenda was not approved by producers in referendum.

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 
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.
    Based on Committee data, there are approximately 12 handlers of 
southeastern California table grapes who are subject to regulation 
under the marketing order and approximately 38 table grape producers in 
the production area. Small agricultural service firms are defined by 
the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts 
of less than $7,500,000 and small agricultural producers are defined as 
those whose annual receipts are less than $750,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    Seven of the 12 handlers subject to regulation have annual table 
grape sales of less than $7,500,000 according to USDA Market News 
Service and Committee data. Based on information from the Committee and 
USDA's Market News Service, it is estimated that at least 9 of the 38 
producers have annual receipts of less than $750,000. Thus, it may be 
concluded that a majority of table grape handlers regulated under the 
order and about 9 of the producers could be classified as small 
entities under SBA definitions.
    The amendments will provide the Committee with authority to 
increase the term length for members and alternates from one to four 
fiscal periods and allow new members and alternates of the Committee to 
agree to accept their nominations before the selection process begins.
    The Committee's proposed amendments were unanimously recommended at 
a public meeting on November 5, 2013.
    The Committee believes these changes represent the needs of the 
Committee and industry. No economic impact is expected from these 
amendments because they do not establish any regulatory requirements on 
handlers, nor do they contain any assessment or funding implications. 
There is no change in financial costs, reporting, or recordkeeping 
requirements.
    Alternatives to these proposals included making no changes at this 
time. However, the changes are necessary to improve administration of 
the order to reflect current business practices. Also, streamlining the 
nomination and selection process reduces the time required for 
completing the process annually, which would provide new members and 
alternates the opportunity to learn the details of the Committee's 
operations and business during their tenure.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the termination of the Letter of Acceptance was previously 
submitted to and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 
As a result, the current number of hours associated with OMB No. 0581-
0189, Generic Fruit Crops, will remain the same: 7,786.71 hours.
    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.
    In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules 
that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule.
    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.
    The Committee's meetings, at which these proposals were discussed, 
were widely publicized throughout the California table grape industry. 
All interested persons were invited to attend the meetings and 
encouraged to participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. The 
Committee meetings were public, and all entities, both large and small, 
were encouraged to express their views on these proposals.
    A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal 
Register on June 5, 2015 (80 FR 32043). Copies of the rule were mailed 
or sent via facsimile to all committee members and grape handlers. 
Finally, the rule was made available through the internet by USDA and 
the Office of the Federal Register. A 30-day comment period ending 
August 4, 2015, was provided to allow interested persons to respond to 
the proposals. No comments were received in response to the proposed 
order amendments.
    A proposed rule and referendum order was then issued on October 1, 
2015, and published in the Federal Register on October 7, 2015 (80 FR 
60570). This document directed that a referendum among table grape 
producers be conducted during the period January 21, 2016, through 
February 4, 2016, to determine whether they favor the proposed 
amendments to the order. To become effective, the amendments had to be 
approved by at least two-thirds of the producers voting, or two-thirds 
of the volume of table grapes represented by voters in the referendum. 
Both of the Committee's proposed amendments were favored by 100 percent 
of those voting in the referendum. The number of votes on the third 
amendment were exactly split 50 percent in favor of and 50 percent 
opposed. However, voters representing over two thirds of the volume 
voted in the referendum, did not favor the third proposed amendment.
    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 Antoinette Carter at the 
previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section.

Order Amending the Order Regulating the Handling of Grapes Grown in a 
Designated Area of Southeastern California

    (a) Findings and Determinations Upon the Basis of the Rulemaking 
Record.
    The findings hereinafter set forth are supplementary to the 
findings and determinations which were previously made in connection 
with the issuance of the marketing order; and all said previous 
findings and determinations are hereby ratified and affirmed, except 
insofar as such findings and determinations may be in conflict with

[[Page 44761]]

the findings and determinations set forth herein.
    1. The marketing order, as amended, and all of the terms and 
conditions thereof, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the 
Act;
    2. The marketing order, as amended, and as hereby further amended, 
regulates the handling of table grapes grown in a Designated Area of 
Southeastern California in the same manner as, and is applicable only 
to, persons in the respective classes of commercial and industrial 
activity specified in the marketing order;
    3. The marketing order, as amended, is limited in application to 
the smallest regional production area which is practicable, consistent 
with carrying out the declared policy of the Act, and the issuance of 
several orders applicable to subdivisions of the production area would 
not effectively carry out the declared policy of the Act;
    4. The marketing order, as amended, prescribes, insofar as 
practicable, such different terms applicable to different parts of the 
production area as are necessary to give due recognition to the 
differences in the production and marketing of table grapes produced or 
packed in the production area; and
    5. All handling of table grapes produced in the production area as 
defined in the marketing order is in the current of interstate or 
foreign commerce or directly burdens, obstructs, or affects such 
commerce.
    (b) Additional Findings.
    The effective date for the amendments shall be 30 days after 
publication in the Federal Register.
    (c) Determinations. It is hereby determined that:
    1. Handlers (excluding cooperative associations of producers who 
are not engaged in processing, distributing, or shipping of table 
grapes covered under the order) who during the period January 1, 2015, 
through December 31, 2015, handled not less than 50 percent of the 
volume of such table grapes covered by said order, as hereby amended, 
have executed Marketing Agreements in support of Marketing Order 925, 
as amended.
    2. The issuance of this amendatory order, amending the aforesaid 
order, is favored or approved by at least two-thirds of the producers 
who participated in a referendum on the question of approval and who, 
during the period of January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015, have 
been engaged within the production area in the production of such table 
grapes, such producers having also produced for market at least two-
thirds of the volume of such commodity represented in the referendum.
    3. The issuance of this amendatory order together with a signed 
marketing agreement advances the interests of growers of table grapes 
in the production area pursuant to the declared policy of the Act.

Order Relative to Handling

    It is therefore ordered, That on and after the effective date 
hereof, all handling of table grapes grown in a designated area of 
southeastern California shall be in conformity to, and in compliance 
with, the terms and conditions of the said order as hereby amended as 
follows:
    The provisions of the proposed marketing order amending the order 
contained in the proposed rule issued by the Associate Administrator on 
June 1, 2015, and published in the Federal Register on June 5, 2015 (80 
FR 32043), shall be and are the terms and provisions of this order 
amending the order and are set forth in full herein.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 925

    Grapes, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 925 is 
amended as follows:

PART 925--GRAPES GROWN IN A DESIGNATED AREA OF SOUTHEASTERN 
CALIFORNIA

0
1. The authority citation for part 925 continues to read as follows:

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


0
2. Revise the first sentence of Sec.  925.21 to read as follows:


Sec.  925.21  Term of office.

    The term of office of the members and alternates shall be four 
fiscal periods. * * *

0
3. Revise Sec.  925.25 to read as follows:


Sec.  925.25  Qualification and acceptance.

    Any person selected as a member or alternate member of the 
Committee shall, prior to such selection, qualify by filing a 
qualifications questionnaire advising the Secretary that he or she 
agrees to serve in the position for which nominated.

    Dated: July 5, 2016.
Elanor Starmer,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-16330 Filed 7-8-16; 8:45 am]
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