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Rule

Soybean Promotion and Research: Amend the Order To Adjust Representation on the United Soybean Board

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule adjusts the number of members for certain States on the United Soybean Board (Board) to reflect changes in production levels that have occurred since the last time the Board was reapportioned in 2000. These adjustments are required by the Soybean Promotion and Research Order (Order). The results of the adjustments are an additional member for Maryland and Michigan. New York is no longer part of the Eastern Region unit. The State has sufficient soybean production to qualify as a separate State unit with one representative on the Board. New Jersey is merged into the Eastern Region unit. The State no longer has sufficient soybean production to be a separate State unit. As a result of these changes, the total Board membership increases from 62 members to 64 members. These changes to the Board are effective with the Secretary of Agriculture's 2004 appointments.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

November 3, 2003.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Kenneth R. Payne, Chief; Marketing Programs Branch; Livestock and Seed Program; Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA, Room 2638-S; STOP 0251; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW.; Washington, DC 20250-0251; telephone 202/720-1115.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Orders 12866

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has waived the review process required by Executive Order 12866 for this action.

Executive Orders 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have a retroactive effect. This rule would not preempt any State or local laws, regulations, or policies unless they present an irreconcilable conflict with this rule.

The Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act (Act) provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under § 1971 of the Act, a person subject to the Order may file a petition with the Secretary stating that the Order, any provision of the Order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the Order, is not in accordance with law and requesting a modification of the Order or an exemption from the Order. The petitioner is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After a hearing, the Department of Agriculture (Department) would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district courts of the United States in any district in which such person is an inhabitant, or has their principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, if a complaint for this purpose is filed within 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Administrator of AMS has determined that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), because it merely adjusts representation on the Board to reflect changes in production levels that have occurred since the Board was reapportioned in 2000. As such, these changes will not have an impact on those persons subject to the program. There are an estimated 600,813 soybean producers who pay assessments and an estimated 10,000 first purchasers who collect assessments, most of whom would be considered small entities under the criteria established by the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 121.201).

Paperwork Reduction Act

In accordance with OMB regulations (5 CFR part 1320), which implements the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the information collection requirements and recordkeeping requirements contained in the Order have been previously approved by OMB under OMB control number 0581-0093. Start Printed Page 57327

Background and Changes

The Act (7 U.S.C. 6301-6311) provides for the establishment of a coordinated program of promotion and research designed to strengthen the soybean industry's position in the marketplace, and to maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets and uses for soybeans and soybean products. The program is financed by an assessment of 0.5 percent of the net market price of soybeans sold by producers. Pursuant to the Act, an Order was made effective July 9, 1991. The Order established a Board of 60 members. For purposes of establishing the Board, the United States was divided into 31 geographic units. Representation on the Board from each unit was determined by the level of production in each unit. The Secretary appointed the initial Board on July 11, 1991. The Board is composed of domestic soybean producers.

Section 1220.201(c) of the Order provides that at the end of each 3-year period, the Board shall review soybean production levels in the geographic units throughout the United States. The Board may recommend to the Secretary modification in the levels of production necessary for Board membership for each unit. At its March 2003 meeting the Board decided not to recommend any changes to the levels of production necessary for Board membership for each unit.

Section 1220.201(d) of the Order provides that at the end of each 3-year period, the Secretary must review the volume of production of each unit and adjust the boundaries of any unit and the number of Board members from each such unit as necessary to conform with the criteria set forth in § 1220.201(e): (1) To the extent practicable, States with annual average soybean production of less than 3,000,000 bushels shall be grouped into geographically contiguous units, each of which has a combined production level equal to or greater than 3,000,000 bushels, and each such group shall be entitled to at least one member on the Board; (2) units with at least 3,000,000 bushels, but fewer than 15,000,000 bushels shall be entitled to one Board member; (3) units with 15,000,000 bushels or more but fewer than 70,000,000 bushels shall be entitled to two Board members; (4) units with 70,000,000 bushels or more but fewer than 200,000,000 bushels shall be entitled to three Board members; and (5) units with 200,000,000 bushels or more shall be entitled to four Board members.

A proposed rule was published in the Federal Register (68 FR 35825) on June 17, 2003, with a 60-day comment period. The Department received one comment from an individual who, while opposed to the proposal, did not address the proposed changes to the representation on the Board.

Based on the requirements of the Act and Order, AMS is adjusting representation on the Board as proposed. Maryland and Michigan will each gain an additional member. New York will no longer be part of the Eastern Region unit because the State has sufficient soybean production to qualify as a separate State unit with one representative on the Board. New Jersey will lose its only member because the State no longer has sufficient soybean production to be a separate State unit. New Jersey is merged into the Eastern Region unit, and will be represented on the Board by the Eastern Region's representative. There are no adjustments to the other States or regions.

This final rule will increase Board membership from 62 members to 64 members effective with the 2004 nominations and appointments. The number of geographical units will remain at 30.

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List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1220

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For the reasons set forth in the preamble, Title 7, part 1220 is amended as follows:

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PART 1220—SOYBEAN PROMOTION, RESEARCH, AND CONSUMER INFORMATION

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6301-6311.

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2. In § 1220.201, the table in paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:

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Membership of board.

(a) * * *

UnitNo. of members
Illinois4
Iowa4
Minnesota4
Indiana4
Missouri3
Ohio3
Arkansas3
Nebraska3
South Dakota3
Kansas3
Michigan3
Mississippi2
Louisiana2
Tennessee2
North Carolina2
Kentucky2
North Dakota2
Wisconsin2
Maryland2
Virginia1
Georgia1
South Carolina1
Alabama1
Delaware1
Texas1
Pennsylvania1
Oklahoma1
New York1
Eastern Region (New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, West Virginia, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico)1
Western Region (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Hawaii, and Alaska)1
* * * * *
Start Signature

Dated: September 29, 2003

A.J. Yates,

Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-25113 Filed 10-2-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P