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Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order: Rules and Regulations-Decrease in Assessment Rate and Decrease of Importer Assessments

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

Pursuant to the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985 (Act) and the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order (Order) thereunder, this final rule decreases the current rate of assessment of 0.45 percent of the market value of porcine animals to 0.40 percent, and decreases the amount of assessment per pound due on imported pork and pork products (two- to four-hundredths of a cent per pound) to reflect the combined effect of the increase in the 2001 average price for domestic barrows and gilts (about 7 percent) and the decrease in the assessment rate. The assessment decrease will decrease annual funding of the promotion, research, and consumer information program by an estimated $5 million to $6 million with an estimated $290,000 decrease in importer assessments. The assessment decrease reflects the National Pork Producers Delegate Body's (Delegate Body) desire to lessen the assessment burden on producers and make such funds available to pork producers and the industry. The adjustment in importer assessments also brings the equivalent market value of live animals from which imported pork and pork products are derived in line with the market value of domestic porcine animals. A Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) number for prepared or preserved pork has also been added to the regulations.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

September 30, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kenneth R. Payne, Chief, Marketing Programs Branch, 202/720-1115.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Orders 12866 and 12988, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and the Paperwork Reduction Act

The Office of Management and Budget has waived the review process required by Executive Order 12866.

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have a retroactive effect. The Act states that the statute is intended to occupy the field of promotion and consumer education involving pork and pork products and of obtaining funds thereof from pork producers and that the regulation of such activity (other than a regulation or requirement relating to a matter of public health or the provision of State or local funds for such activity) that is in addition to or different from the Act may not be imposed by a State.

The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under § 1625 of the Act, a person subject to an order may file a petition with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) stating that such order, a provision of such order or an obligation imposed in connection with such order is not in accordance with the law; and requesting Start Printed Page 58321a modification of the order or an exemption from the order. Such person 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 the district in which a person resides or does business has jurisdiction to review USDA's determination, if a complaint is filed not later than 20 days after the date such person receives notice of such determination.

This action also was reviewed under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 United States Code (U.S.C.) 601 et seq.). The effect of the Order upon small entities initially was discussed in the September 5, 1986, issue of the Federal Register (51 FR 31898). It was determined at that time that the Order would not have a significant effect upon a substantial number of small entities. Many of the estimated 81,000 pork producers and 500 importers may be classified as small entities under the Small Business Administration definition (13 CFR 121.201).

This final rule will decrease the rate of the assessment from 0.45 percent of the market value of porcine animals to 0.40 percent, and will decrease the cents per pound and per kilogram of assessments on imported pork and pork products subject to assessment. Adjusting the rate of assessment from 0.45 percent to 0.40 percent and decreasing the assessment on imported pork and pork products will result in an estimated decrease in assessments of $5 million to $6 million over a 12-month period. Of that amount, approximately $290,000 will be attributed to the decrease in importer assessments. The gross market value of all swine marketed in the United States during 2000 exceeded $11.7 billion. This decrease will reduce the assessment burden on producers. The adjustment in importer assessments also will bring the equivalent market value of live animals from which imported pork and pork products are derived in line with the market value of domestic porcine animals. An HTS number for prepared or preserved pork also will be added to the regulations. Therefore, the economic impact of the assessments will not be a significant part of the total market value of swine. Accordingly, the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

The Act (7 U.S.C. 4801-4819) approved December 23, 1985, authorized the establishment of a national pork promotion, research, and consumer information program. The final Order establishing a pork promotion, research, and consumer information program was published in the September 5, 1986, issue of the Federal Register (51 FR 31898; as corrected, at 51 FR 36383 and amended at 53 FR 1909, 53 FR 30243, 56 FR 4, 56 FR 51635, 60 FR 29963, 61 FR 29002, 62 FR 26205, 63 FR 45936, 64 FR 44643, and 66 FR 67071) and assessments began on November 1, 1986. The program was funded by an initial assessment rate of 0.25 percent of the market value of all porcine animals marketed in the United States and on imported porcine animals with an equivalent assessment on pork and pork products. However, that rate was increased to 0.35 percent effective December 1, 1991 (56 FR 51635), and to 0.45 percent effective September 3, 1995 (60 FR 29963). Based on the assessment rate of 0.45 percent, the total annual assessments collected during 2001 were approximately $57.4 million. Assessments on imported pork and pork products accounted for about $3.7 million of the total.

The Order requires that producers pay to the National Pork Board an assessment of 0.45 percent of the market value of each porcine animal upon sale. However, for purposes of collecting and remitting assessments, porcine animals are divided into three separate categories (1) feeder pigs, (2) slaughter hogs, and (3) breeding stock. The Order specifies that purchasers of feeder pigs, slaughter hogs, and breeding stock shall collect an assessment on these animals if assessments are due. The Order further provides that for the purpose of collecting and remitting assessments persons engaged as a commission merchant, auction market, or livestock market in the business of receiving such porcine animals for sale on commission for or on behalf of a producer shall be deemed to be a purchaser.

The Order requires importers of porcine animals to pay U.S. Customs Service (USCS), upon importation, the assessment of 0.45 percent of the porcine animal's declared value and importers of pork and pork products to pay USCS, upon importation, the assessment of 0.45 percent of the market value of the live porcine animals from which such pork and pork producers were produced.

The Act and § 1230.71 of the Order contain provisions for adjusting the initial rate of assessment. The Delegate Body has the responsibility to recommend the rate of assessment to the USDA. The 2002 Delegate Body, at its annual meeting on March 1-2, 2002, in Denver, Colorado, voted to recommend to the USDA that the rate of assessment of 0.45 percent be decreased to 0.40 percent. There were 167 Delegate Body members appointed by the Secretary in 2002. At the Delegate Body meeting 144 delegates were present during voting and voted 50,750.1 valid share votes. States and importers are allotted one share per $1,000 of the aggregated amount of assessment collected. There were 29,974.9 share votes cast in favor of the 0.05 percent decrease.

The formula in the preamble for the Order at 51 FR 31901 contemplated that it would be necessary to recalculate the equivalent live animal value of imported pork and pork products to reflect changes in the rate of assessment or changes in the annual average price of domestic barrows and gilts to maintain equity of assessments between domestic and porcine animals and imported pork and pork products.

This final rule will decrease the amount of assessment on all of the imported pork and pork products subject to assessment as published in the Federal Register as a final rule December 28, 2001, and effective on January 28, 2002 (66 FR 67071). The assessment decrease reflects the Delegate Body's desire to lessen the assessment burden on producers and make such funds available to pork producers and the industry. The adjustment in importer assessments also will bring the equivalent market value of live animals from which imported pork and pork products are derived in line with the market value of domestic porcine animals. An HTS number for prepared or preserved pork also will be added to the regulations.

The methodology for determining the per-pound amounts for imported pork and pork products was described in the supplementary information accompanying the Order and published in the September 5, 1986, Federal Register at 51 FR 31901. The weight of imported pork and pork products is converted to a carcass weight equivalent by utilizing conversion factors which are published in the USDA's Agricultural Handbook No. 697 “Conversion Factors and Weights and Measurers.” These conversion factors take into account the removal of bone, weight lost in cooking or other processing, and the nonpork components of pork products. Secondly, the carcass weight equivalent is converted to a live animal equivalent weight by dividing the carcass weight equivalent by 74 percent, which is the average dressing percentage of porcine animals in the United States as recognized by the industry. Thirdly, the equivalent value of the live porcine Start Printed Page 58322animals is determined by multiplying the live animal equivalent weight by an annual average market price for barrows and gilts as calculated by the USDA's, AMS, Livestock and Grain Market News (LGMN) Branch. Finally, the equivalent value is multiplied by the applicable assessment rate due on imported pork and pork products. The end result is expressed in an amount per pound for each type of pork or pork product. To determine the amount per kilogram for pork and pork products subject to assessment under the Act and Order, the cent-per-pound assessments are multiplied by a metric conversion factor 2.2046 and carried to the sixth decimal.

Since the last adjustment was made in the amount of the assessment due on live hogs and imported pork and pork products (66 FR 67071), there has been a change in the way LGMN Branch reports hog prices. Due to the implementation of the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting Program, LGMN no longer report hogs on a live basis because most of the industry moved to buying hogs on a carcass basis. Thus, the Iowa-Southern Minnesota hog reports are now reported on a carcass basis defined by muscle and fat. Previously, these reports were quoted for 49-52 percent lean yield barrows and gilts weighing an average of 240-280 pounds live weight. Therefore, the only consistent price available for hogs for calendar year 2001 is the average base carcass price for 51-52 percent lean hogs derived from the National Base Lean Hog Carcass Slaughter Cost Report. To convert this figure to a live basis, it must be multiplied by 74 percent, the average dressing percentage of porcine animals in the United States as recognized by the industry.

The average annual market price increased from $42.70 per hundredweight in 2000 to $45.87 per hundredweight in 2001, an increase of about 7 percent. The combined effect of the assessment rate decrease and the increase in the average annual market price will result in a decrease in assessments for all HTS numbers listed in the table in § 1230.110(b), 66 FR 67071; December 28, 2001, of an amount equal to two-to four-hundredths of a cent per pound, or as expressed in cents per kilogram, four-hundredths to nine-hundredths of a cent per kilogram. Based on Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census, data on the volume of pork and pork products imported during 2001, the decreases in the assessment amounts will result in an estimated $290,000 decrease in importer assessments over a 12-month period. In addition, this rule adds a new HTS number—1602.49.9000—to the table in § 1230.110(b). This HTS number has been assigned to prepared or preserved pork. In 2001, over 2,114 metric tons of prepared or preserved pork products were imported into the United States as reported by the Department of Commerce.

On July 19, 2002, AMS published in the Federal Register (67 FR 47474) a proposed rule which would (1) decreases the current rate of assessment of 0.45 percent of the market value of porcine animals to 0.40 percent, and (2) decreases the amount of assessment per pound due on imported pork and pork products (two-to four-hundredths of a cent per pound) to reflect the combined effect of the increase in the 2001 average price for domestic barrows and gilts (about 7 percent) and the decrease in the assessment rate. The proposal was published with a request for comments by August 19, 2002. Five comments were received. All of the commenters, which included the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, and three state pork producer associations, support the decrease of assessment rate. In addition, the Board provided information regarding the timing of the decrease in order to provide the Board with ample time to communicate an assessment rate change and to minimize the burden on those responsible for remitting pork checkoff assessments.

USDA carefully considered the comments and the recommendation of the Delegate Body. This action lessens the assessment burden on producers and importers. The effective date of September 30, 2002, gives the Board ample time to communicate this change and will not burden those that remit pork checkoff assessments. Accordingly, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it is found that good cause exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

This final rule adopts the decrease in the assessment rate from .45 percent of market value of porcine animals to .40 percent as proposed and decreases the amount of assessment per pound due on imported pork and pork products (two-to four-hundredths of a cent per pound) to reflect the combined effect of the increase in the 2001 average price for domestic barrows and gilts (about 7 percent) and the decrease in the assessment rate.

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List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1230

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For the reasons set forth in the preamble,

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PART 1230—PORK PROMOTION, RESEARCH, AND CONSUMER INFORMATION

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 4801-4819.

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Subpart B—[Amended]

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2. Section 1230.110 is revised to read as follows:

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Assessments on imported pork and pork products.

(a) The following Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) categories of imported live porcine animals are subject to assessment at the rate specified.

Live porcine animalsAssessment
0103.10.00001 0.40
0103.91.00001 0.40
0103.92.00001 0.40
1 percent Customs Entered Value.

(b) The following HTS categories of imported pork and pork products are subject to assessment at the rates specified.

Pork and pork productsAssessment
Cents/lbCents/kg
0203.11.0000.25.551150
0203.12.1010.25.551150
0203.12.1020.25.551150
0203.12.9010.25.551150
0203.12.9020.25.551150
0203.19.2010.29.639334
0203.19.2090.29.639334
0203.19.4010.25.551150
0203.19.4090.25.551150
0203.21.0000.25.551150
0203.22.1000.25.551150
0203.22.9000.25.551150
0203.29.2000.29.639334
0203.29.4000.25.551150
0206.30.0000.25.551150
0206.41.0000.25.551150
0206.49.0000.25.551150
0210.11.0010.25.551150
0210.11.0020.25.551150
0210.12.0020.25.551150
0210.12.0040.25.551150
0210.19.0010.29.639334
0210.19.0090.29.639334
1601.00.2010.34.749564
1601.00.2090.34.749564
1602.41.2020.37.815702
1602.41.2040.37.815702
1602.41.9000.25.551150
1602.42.2020.37.815702
1602.42.2040.37.815702
1602.42.4000.25.551150
1602.49.2000.34.749564
1602.49.4000.29.639334
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1602.49.9000.29.639334
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3. Section 1230.112 is revised to read as follows:

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Rate of assessment.

In accordance with § 1230.71(d) the rate of assessment shall be 0.40 percent of market value.

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Dated: September 11, 2002.

A.J. Yates,

Administrator Agricultural Marketing Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-23549 Filed 9-12-02; 10:36 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P