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Nonrecourse Marketing Assistance Loan and Loan Deficiency Payment Regulations for Honey

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Commodity Credit Corporation, USDA.

ACTION:

Interim final rule.

SUMMARY:

This interim final rule amends the regulations governing the Honey Nonrecourse Marketing Assistance Loan (MAL) and Loan Deficiency Payment (LDP) Programs of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). This rule allows honey pledged as collateral for securing an MAL or to be eligible for an LDP to be stored in CCC-approved, five-gallon plastic storage containers, in addition to the plastic Intermediate Bulk Containers already allowed, metal containers, and steel containers. This rule is intended to increase the storage options for honey producers that participate in the MAL and LDP programs.

DATES:

This rule is effective August 25, 2004. Comments on this rule must be Start Printed Page 52168received on or before October 25, 2004 in order to be assured of consideration. Comments received after that date may be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES:

The Farm Service Agency invites interested persons to submit comments on this interim final rule. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

  • E-Mail: Send comments to Kimberly_Graham@wdc.usda.gov.
  • Fax: Submit comments by facsimile transmission to (202) 690-3307.
  • Mail: Send comments to Grady Bilberry, Director, Price Support Division (PSD), Farm Service Agency, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), STOP 0512, Room 4095-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-0512.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver comments to the above address.
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

Comments may be inspected in the Office of the Director, PSD, FSA, USDA, Room 4095-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. A copy of this rule is available on the PSD home page at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/​dafp/​psd. All comments will become a matter of public record, including the name, mailing address, and e-mail address of the commenting party.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kimberly Graham, (202) 720-9154, e-mail: Kimberly.Graham@wdc.usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

This rule allows honey stored in CCC-approved, 5-gallon plastic containers to be eligible for MAL's and LDP's. This change will make CCC regulations more consistent with marketing practices in the honey industry, especially regarding producers of relatively small quantities of honey. Most honey marketed in the U.S. is stored in metal drums or plastic storage units called Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC's), and the majority of commercially exported and imported honey is stored in steel drums. However, producers of smaller quantities of honey, who normally market through local channels like farmer markets or local groceries, often store it in smaller plastic containers, which are significantly less expensive than metal drums or IBC's. Producers who use these smaller plastic containers are currently not eligible for honey MAL's and LDP's. CCC has determined that storing honey in 5-gallon plastic containers is a normal marketing practice, and their use does not increase the risk to the honey loan collateral. Thus, this rule provides that honey stored in CCC-approved, 5-gallon plastic containers is eligible for MAL's and LDP's, and requests public comment on this change.

Notice and Comment

Section 1601(c) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Act) provides that the regulations needed to implement Title I of the 2002 Act, including those involved here, may be promulgated without regard to the notice and comment provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553 or the Statement of Policy of the Secretary of Agriculture effective July 24, 1971, (36 FR 13804) relating to notices of proposed rulemaking and public participation in rulemaking. Because this rule involves technical storage and packaging requirements, it was determined to be in the public's interest to solicit comments on the rule. The rule is effective upon publication in order to benefit producers in 2004, and because the rule is consistent with commercial storage practices used, under limited circumstances, for years.

Executive Order 12866

This rule is issued in conformance with Executive Order 12866, was determined to be not significant and has not been reviewed by the Office of Management Budget.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

It has been determined that the Regulatory Flexibility Act is not applicable to this rule because the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is not required to publish a notice proposed rulemaking for the subject matter of this rule.

Environmental Assessment

The environmental impacts of this rule have been considered in accordance with the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and the FSA regulations for compliance with NEPA, 7 CFR part 799. FSA concluded that the rule requires no further environmental review because it is categorically excluded. No extraordinary circumstances or other unforeseeable factors exist which would require preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

Executive Order 12988

This rule has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12988. This rule preempts State laws that are inconsistent with it. Before any legal action may be brought regarding a determination under this rule, the administrative appeal provisions set forth at 7 CFR parts 11 and 780 must be exhausted.

Executive Order 12372

This program is not subject to the provisions of Executive Order 12372, which require intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. See the notice related to 7 CFR part 3014, subpart V, published at 48 FR 29115 (June 24, 1983).

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

The rule contains no Federal mandates under the regulatory provisions of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) for State, Local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Thus, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA.

Paperwork Reduction Act

Section 1601(c) of the 2002 Act provides that the promulgation of regulations and the administration of Title I of the 2002 Act shall be made without regard to chapter 5 of title 44 of the United States Code (the Paperwork Reduction Act). Accordingly, these regulations and the forms and other information collection activities needed to administer the program authorized by these regulations are not subject to review by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Executive Order 12612

This rule does not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. This rule will not have a substantial direct effect on States or their political subdivisions or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

Government Paperwork Elimination Act

FSA is committed to compliance with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) and the Freedom to E-File Act, which require Government agencies in general and FSA in particular to provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting business electronically to Start Printed Page 52169the maximum extent possible. The forms and other information collection activities required for participation in the program are available electronically for downloading or electronic submission through the USDA eForms Web site at http://forms.sc.egov.usda.gov/​eforms.

Federal Assistance Programs

The title and number of the Federal assistance program found in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance to which this final rule applies are Commodity Loans and Loan Deficiency Payments, 10.051.

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List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1434

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For the reasons set out in the preamble,

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PART 1434—NONRECOURSE MARKETING ASSISTANCE LOAN AND LDP REGULATIONS FOR HONEY

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1. The authority citation for part 1434 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7931.

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2. Amend § 1434.8 by revising paragraphs (a) and (b)(4) to read as follows:

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Containers and drums.

(a)(1) To be eligible for assistance under this part, honey must be packed in:

(i) CCC-approved, 5-gallon plastic containers;

(ii) 5-gallon metal containers;

(iii) Steel drums with a capacity not less than 5 gallons nor greater than 70 gallons, or

(iv) Plastic Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC's).

(2) Honey stored in plastic containers must be determined safe and secure from all possibility of contamination.

(3) Honey storage containers used for these purposes must meet requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as amended and other specified requirements, as determined by CCC and must be generally fit for the purpose for which they are to be used.

(4) CCC-approved 5-gallon plastic containers must hold approximately 60 pounds of honey. The containers must be free and clear of leakage and punctures and of suitable purity for food contact use and meet food storage standards as provided by CCC. Plastic containers must be new or previously used only to store honey. Plastic containers previously used to store chemicals, pesticides, or any other product or substance other than honey are ineligible for honey storage. The handle of each container must be firm and strong enough to permit carrying the filled container. The cover opening must not be damaged in any way that will prevent a tight seal. Containers that have been punctured and resealed will not be acceptable;

(5) The 5-gallon metal containers must hold approximately 60 pounds of honey, and must be new, clean, sound, uncased, and free from appreciable dents and rusts. The handle of each container must be firm and strong enough to permit carrying the filled container. The cover and container opening must not be damaged in any way that will prevent a tight seal. Containers that are punctured or have been punctured and resealed by soldering will not be acceptable; and

(6) The steel drums must be an open type and filled no closer than 2 inches from the top of the drums. Drums must be new or must be used drums that have been reconditioned inside and outside. Drums must be clean, treated inside and outside to prevent rusting, fitted with gaskets that provide a tight seal and have an inside coating suitable for honey storage.

(7) IBC's are bulk containers with a polyethylene inner bottle and a galvanized steel protective cage, a capacity of either 275 or 330 gallons, and are reusable. IBC's must be clean, sound and provide a tight seal.

(b) * * *

(4) Containers that do not meet the specified requirements of paragraph (a) of this section or other CCC specifications or requirements.

* * * * *
Start Signature

Signed in Washington, DC, on July 6, 2004.

James R. Little,

Executive Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 04-19401 Filed 8-24-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-05-P