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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection

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AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this notice announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request an extension for and revision to a currently approved information collection for Almonds Grown in California, Marketing Order 981.

DATES:

Comments on this notice must be received by March 19, 2002.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR COMMENTS:

Contact Valerie L. Emmer-Scott, Marketing Specialist, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Tel: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or e-mail: moab.docketclerk@usda.gov.

Small businesses may request information on this notice by contacting Jay Guerber, Regulatory Fairness Representative, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone (202) 720-2491; Fax (202) 720-8938, or e-mail: Jay.Guerber@usda.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Almonds Grown in California, Marketing Order 981.

OMB Number: 0581-0071.

Expiration Date of Approval: August 31, 2002.

Type of Request: Extension and revision of a currently approved information collection.

Abstract: Marketing order programs provide an opportunity for producers of fresh fruits, vegetables and specialty crops, in a specified production area, to work together to solve marketing problems that cannot be resolved individually. Order regulations help ensure adequate supplies of high quality product and adequate returns to producers. Under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (AMAA), as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), marketing order programs are established if favored in referendum among producers. The handling of the commodity is regulated. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is authorized to oversee the order's operations and issue regulations recommended by a committee of representatives from each commodity industry. The Almond Board of California (Board) is responsible for locally administering the program.

The information collection requirements in this request are essential to carry out the intent of the AMAA, to provide the respondents the type of service they request, and to administer the California almond marketing order program (7 CFR part 981), which has been operating since 1950.

The California almond marketing order authorizes the issuance of quality and volume control regulations, as well as inspection requirements. Regulatory provisions apply to almonds shipped within and outside of the production area, except those specifically exempt. The order also has authority for production and marketing research and development projects, including paid advertising. Handlers who advertise may receive credit for their advertising expenses according to specific requirements.

The order, and rules and regulations issued thereunder, require handlers and growers to submit certain information. Much of this information is compiled by the Board in aggregate and provided to the industry to assist in marketing decisions.

The Board has developed forms as a means for persons to file required information with the Board relating to almond supplies, shipments, dispositions, and other information needed to effectively carry out the purpose of the AMAA and order. As shipments of California almonds are normally year-round, these forms are utilized accordingly. A USDA form is used to allow growers to vote on amendments or continuance of the marketing order. In addition, almond growers and handlers who are nominated by their peers to serve as representatives on the Board must file nomination forms with the USDA.

The information collected is used only by authorized representatives of the USDA, including AMS, Fruit and Vegetable Programs' regional and headquarter's staff, and authorized employees of the Board. Authorized Board employees and the industry are the primary users of the information and AMS is the secondary user.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.33 hours per response.

Respondents: California almond growers, handlers and accepted users of inedible almonds.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 7,150.

Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.04.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 2,445 hours.

Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments should reference OMB No. 0581-0071 and the California Almond Marketing Order No. 981, and be mailed to Docket Clerk, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Tel: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938; Fax: Start Printed Page 2625(202) 720-8938; or e-mail: moab.docketclerk@usda.gov. All comments received will be available for public inspection during regular business hours at the same address.

All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: January 14, 2002.

Kenneth C. Clayton,

Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-1289 Filed 1-17-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-M