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Proposed Rule

Avocados Grown in South Florida; Continuance Referendum

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Referendum order.

SUMMARY:

This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible growers of Florida avocados to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order regulating the handling of avocados grown in the production area.

DATES:

The referendum will be conducted from June 3, through June 14, 2002. To vote in this referendum, growers must have been producing Florida avocados during the period April 1, 2001, through March 31, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Copies of the marketing order may obtained from the office of the referendum agent at 799 Overlook Drive, Suite A, Winter Haven, Florida, 33884, or the Office of the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Doris Jamieson, Southeast Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 799 Overlook Drive, Suite A, Winter Haven, Florida, 33884; telephone (863) 324-3375; or Kathleen Finn, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit & Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone (202) 720-2491.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Marketing Order No. 915 (7 CFR part 915), hereinafter referred to as the “order” and the applicable provisions of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act,” it is hereby directed that a referendum be conducted to ascertain whether continuance of the order is favored by growers. The referendum shall be conducted during the period June 3, through June 14, 2002, among Florida avocado growers in the production area. Only growers that were engaged in the production of Florida avocados during the period of April 1, 2001, through March 31, 2002, may participate in the continuance referendum.

The USDA has determined that continuance referenda are an effective means for ascertaining whether growers favor continuation of marketing order programs. The USDA would consider termination of the order if less than two-thirds of the growers voting in the referendum and growers of less than two-thirds of the volume of Florida avocados represented in the referendum favor continuance. In evaluating the merits of continuance versus termination, the USDA will consider the results of the referendum and other relevant information regarding operation of the order. The USDA will evaluate the order's relative benefits and disadvantages to growers, handlers, and consumers to determine whether continuing the order would tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the ballot materials used in the referendum herein ordered have been submitted to and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and have been assigned OMB No. 0581-0189 for Florida avocados. It has been estimated that it will take an average of 20 minutes for each of the approximately 150 growers of Florida avocados to cast a ballot. Participation is voluntary. Ballots postmarked after June 14, 2002, will not be included in the vote tabulation.

Doris Jamieson and Chris Nissen of the Southeast Marketing Field Office, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, are hereby designated as the referendum agents of the USDA to conduct such referendum. The procedure applicable to the referendum shall be the “Procedure for the Conduct of Referenda in Connection With Marketing Orders for Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts Pursuant to the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as Amended” (7 CFR 900.400 et seq.).

Ballots will be mailed to all growers of record and may also be obtained from the referendum agents and from their appointees.

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List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 915

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

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Dated: February 22, 2002.

A.J. Yates,

Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-4705 Filed 2-27-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P