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Proposed Rule

Honey Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Order; Continuance Referendum

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, Agriculture.

ACTION:

Referendum order.

SUMMARY:

This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible producers of honey and importers of honey or honey products to determine whether they favor continuance of the Honey Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Order (Order).

DATES:

The referendum will be conducted from July 25, 2003, through August 22, 2003. To vote in this referendum, producers and importers must have been producing honey or importing honey or honey products during the period from January 1, 2001, through December 31, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Copies of the Order may be obtained from: Referendum Agent, Research and Promotion Branch (RP), Fruit and Vegetable Programs (FV), AMS, USDA, Stop 0244, Room 2535-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-0244.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kathie Birdsell, RP, FV, AMS, USDA, Stop 0244, Room 2535-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-0244, telephone 888-720-9917 (toll free), fax 202-205-2800, e-mail kathie.birdsell@usda.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to the Honey Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act, as amended (Act) (7 U.S.C. 4601-4613), it is hereby directed that a referendum be conducted to ascertain whether continuance of the Order is favored by producers of honey and importers of honey or honey products. The Order is authorized under the Act.

The representative period for establishing voter eligibility for the referendum shall be the period from January 1, 2001, through December 31, 2002. Persons who are producers of honey or importers of honey or honey products at the time of the referendum and during the representative period are eligible to vote. Persons who received an exemption from assessments for the entire representative period are ineligible to vote. The referendum shall be conducted by mail ballot from July 25, 2003, through August 22, 2003.

Section 13 of the Act provides that the Department of Agriculture (Department) shall conduct a referendum every five years or when 10 percent or more of the eligible voters petition the Secretary of Agriculture to hold a referendum to determine if persons subject to assessment favor continuance of the Order. Previous continuance referenda were conducted in 1991, 1996, and 2002. On February 10, 2003, a petition was filed containing the requisite number of eligible voter signatures to call for another continuance referendum.

Sections 12(b)(1)(A) and (B) of the Act provide that the Department shall continue the Order if continuance of the Order is approved by a majority of the producers and importers voting in the referendum and that the producers and importers comprising this majority produce or import not less than 50 percent of the quantity of the honey or honey products produced or imported during the representative period by those voting in the referendum.

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), the referendum ballot has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and assigned OMB No. 0581-0093. It has been estimated that there are approximately 3,290 producers and importers who will be eligible to vote in the referendum. It will take an average of 15 minutes for each voter to read the voting instructions and complete the referendum ballot.

Referendum Order

Kathie M. Birdsell and Margaret B. Irby, RP, FV, AMS, USDA, Stop 0244, Room 2535-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-0244, are designated as the referendum agents to conduct this referendum. The referendum procedures (7 CFR 1240.200 through 1240.207), which were issued pursuant to the Act, shall be used to conduct the referendum.

The referendum agents will mail the ballots to be cast in the referendum and voting instructions to all known producers and importers prior to the first day of the voting period. Persons who are producers or importers at the time of the referendum and during the representative period are eligible to vote. Persons who received an exemption from assessments during the entire representative period are ineligible to vote. Any eligible producer or importer who does not receive a ballot should contact the referendum agents no later than one week before the end of the voting period. Ballots must be received by the referendum agents on or before August 22, 2003, in order to be counted.

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List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1240

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 4601-4613 and 7 U.S.C. 7401.

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Dated: June 18, 2003.

A.J. Yates,

Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-15825 Filed 6-20-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P