Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule suspending Part 926 in the Code of Federal Regulations, which requires persons engaged in the handling or importation of fresh cranberries or cranberry products, but not subject to the reporting requirements of the Federal cranberry marketing order (7 CFR part 929), to report sales, acquisition, and inventory information to the Cranberry Marketing Committee (Committee), and to maintain adequate records of such activities. The establishment of these requirements is authorized under section 8(d) of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (Act). The Committee, which administers marketing order 929, regulating the handling of cranberries grown in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York, has been delegated by USDA to collect such information authorized under Part 926. Based on information provided by the Committee, USDA has determined that the Start Printed Page 16266collection of information under Part 926 is of marginal benefit to the industry and should continue to be suspended.
Effective Date: May 4, 2007.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Patricia A. Petrella or Kenneth G. Johnson, DC Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, Unit 155, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, Maryland 20737; Telephone: (301) 734-5243, Fax: (301) 734-5275, or E-mail at Patricia.Petrella@usda.gov or Kenneth.Johnson@usda.gov.
Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Jay Guerber, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or E-mail: Jay.Guerber@usda.gov.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
This rule is issued pursuant to the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended [7 U.S.C. 601-674], hereinafter referred to as the “Act”.
USDA is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 12866.
This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. This rule will not preempt any State or local laws, regulations, or policies, unless they present an irreconcilable conflict with this rule. There are no administrative procedures which must be exhausted prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of this rule.
This rule continues in effect the action that suspended indefinitely Part 926 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which contains the reporting and recordkeeping requirements for entities engaged in the handling or importation of fresh cranberries or cranberry products but not subject to the cranberry marketing order (7 CFR part 929) (order). Under Part 926, such entities are required to provide to USDA or its delegate, certain information regarding the sales, acquisitions, and inventories of fresh cranberries or cranberry products. USDA delegated authority to the Committee to collect such information. The Committee, which is also responsible for administering the order, has used this information to analyze market conditions and make volume control recommendations to USDA. The Committee has determined that this data collection under Part 926 is not needed at this time, and advised USDA of its findings following its meeting on June 6, 2006.
Section 608d(3) of the Act, as amended, authorizes the collection of cranberry and cranberry product inventory information from producer-handlers, second handlers, processors, brokers, and importers that are not regulated by the order. Pursuant to this statutory authority, USDA issued reporting and recordkeeping requirements for these entities under Part 926 on January 12, 2005 (70 FR 1995). Sections 926.16, 926.17, and 926.18 require these entities to file and maintain certain reports and other information that are also required of handlers regulated under the order.
Part 926 was implemented to allow the Committee access to cranberry and cranberry product inventory information from throughout the industry, including segments outside the scope of the order, so that it could make more informed marketing decisions. For example, the Committee makes annual volume control recommendations to USDA that are based upon estimated cranberry production, acquisition, inventory, and sales for the total industry. Adding inventory data collected from entities outside the order to the data reported by handlers under the order was expected to provide a more accurate estimate of the total industry inventory, thus enabling the Committee to make more informed volume control recommendations.
However, after more than a year's experience collecting the data pursuant to Part 926, the Committee has found that most inventories are maintained by handlers regulated under the order, and that the amount of cranberries and cranberry products held by entities outside the order is minimal and does not affect the Committee's marketing decisions. The Committee met on June 6, 2006, to evaluate the effectiveness of the data collection conducted under Part 926. Taking into account the marginal benefits of this data collection, the committee advised USDA that the reporting and recordkeeping provisions under Part 926 should be suspended.
This action continues in effect, an interim final rule suspending the reporting and recordkeeping requirements of Part 926 indefinitely. Should changes occur in the cranberry industry that would warrant reimplementation of these requirements USDA may take appropriate action to reinstate these provisions under Part 926.
Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final regulatory flexibility analysis.
The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of business subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) [13 CFR 121.201] as those having annual receipts less than $6,500,000. Small agricultural producers are defined as those with annual receipts of less than $750,000. The Committee estimates that there are approximately 56 handlers, producer-handlers, processors, brokers, and importers subject to the data collection requirements under Part 926. The Committee further estimates that most of the entities required to file reports under Part 926 would be considered small under the SBA criteria.
This final rule continues to suspend indefinitely the provisions of 7 CFR part 926, which require persons engaged in the handling of cranberries or cranberry products (including producer-handlers, second-handlers, processors, brokers, and importers) but not subject to the order to maintain adequate records and report sales, acquisitions, and inventory information to the Committee. Part 926 was established because the Committee needed inventory information from non-regulated entities as well as those subject to the order to better formulate its marketing decisions and recommendations. It continues to be suspended because the Committee has determined that, considering the size of the inventories held outside the scope of the order, collecting that data from the non-regulated entities is of marginal benefit to the industry.
This action continues to suspend the reporting and recordkeeping requirements for these cranberry handlers and importers. It also reduces the Committee's costs associated with the collection and maintenance of that information.
Alternatives to this action included continuing to collect information as currently provided in Part 926, raising the inventory threshold that triggers the need for a non-regulated entity to report its inventory so that only those entities holding the largest inventories would be required to file reports, or requesting that non-regulated entities provide inventory information voluntarily. Start Printed Page 16267However, the Committee advised USDA that most cranberries and cranberry products are currently held in the inventories of the regulated handlers until needed by processors, which greatly reduces the likelihood that large unreported inventories exist. Therefore, the collection of inventory information from entities under Part 926 no longer benefits the industry.
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the information collection requirements related to this rule were previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and assigned OMB No. 0581-0222, Data Collection Requirements Applicable to Cranberries Not Subject to the Cranberry Marketing Order (7 CFR part 926). This information collection package expires August 31, 2007. We have submitted this information collection package (currently under OMB review) for renewal and requested OMB approval for a 1-hour burden placeholder for future reimplementation should changes occur in the cranberry industry that require reinstatement of these reporting and recordkeeping requirements under Part 926.
The AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes.
In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule.
An interim final rule concerning this action was published in the Federal Register on December 28, 2006 (7 FR 78044). Copies of the rule were made available through the Internet by the Office of the Federal Register and USDA. A 30-day comment period ending February 26, 2007, was provided to allow interested persons to respond to the interim final rule. No comments were received.
A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http//www.ams.usda.gov/fv/moab/html. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Jay Guerber at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.
After consideration of all relevant material presented, it is found that Part 926, as suspended in this action, as hereinafter set forth, does not tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act and that the interim final rule, as published in the Federal Register (71 FR 78044, December 28, 2006), is adopted, without change, in this final rule.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 926End List of Subjects Start Part
PART 926—DATA COLLECTION, REPORTING AND RECORDKEEPING REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO CRANBERRIES NOT SUBJECT TO THE CRANBERRY MARKETING ORDEREnd Part Start Amendment Part
Accordingly, the interim final rule suspendingEnd Amendment Part Start Signature
Dated: March 29, 2007.
Lloyd C. Day,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. E7-6241 Filed 4-3-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P