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Proposed Rule

Tart Cherries Grown in the States of Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin; 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 continuance referendum be conducted among eligible growers and processors of tart cherries in the States of Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order regulating the handling of tart cherries grown in the production area.

DATES:

The referendum will be conducted from March 17 through March 28, 2003. To vote in this referendum, growers and processors must have been engaged in producing or processing tart cherries within the production area during the period July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Copies of the marketing order may be obtained from USDA, Washington, DC Marketing Field Office, 4700 River Road, Unit 155, Room 2A38, Riverdale, Maryland 20737, or the Office of the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kenneth G. Johnson, Regional Manager, Washington, DC Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 4700 River Road Unit 155, Room 2A38, Riverdale, MD 20737; telephone (301) 734-5243; fax (301) 734-5275; or Melissa Schmaedick, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 1035, Moab, UT 84532; telephone (435) 259-7988; fax (435) 259-4945.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Marketing Order No. 930 (7 CFR part 930), 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 and processors. The referendum shall be conducted during the period March 10 through March 21, 2003, among eligible tart cherry growers and processors in the production area. Only growers and processors that were engaged in the production or processing of tart cherries in the States of Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin during the period of July 1, 2001, through June 30, 2002, may participate in the continuance referendum.

USDA has determined that continuance referenda are an effective means for determining whether growers and processors favor continuation of marketing order programs. The USDA would not consider termination of the order if continuance is favored by more than 50 percent of the growers and processors who vote in the referendum provided that they represent more than 50 percent of the volume of produced and processed tart cherries represented in the referendum.

In evaluating the merits of continuance versus termination, the USDA will not only consider the results of the continuance referendum. The USDA will also consider all other relevant information concerning the operation of the order and the relative benefits and disadvantages to growers, processors, and consumers in order to determine whether continued operation of 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. 0581-0177. It has been estimated that it will take an average of 30 minutes for each of the approximately 40 processors and 905 producers of tart cherries in the production area to cast a ballot. Participation is voluntary. Ballots postmarked after March 21, 2003, will be marked invalid and not included in the vote tabulation.

Kenneth G. Johnson, James B. Wendland, Patricia A. Petrella and Dawana Clark of the Washington, DC Marketing Field Office, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, are hereby designated as the referendum agents of 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 Part 900.400 et. seq).

Ballots will be mailed to all growers and processors 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 930

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

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Dated: February 25, 2003.

Kenneth C. Clayton,

Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-4874 Filed 2-28-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P