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Rule

Olives Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rate

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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, USDA.

ACTION:

Affirmation of interim rule as final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that decreases the assessment rate established for the California Olive Committee (Committee) for 2011 and subsequent fiscal years from $44.72 to $16.61 per ton of olives handled. The Committee locally administers the marketing order which regulates the handling of olives grown in California. Assessments upon olive handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal year began January 1 and ends December 31. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

DATES:

Effective June 22, 2011.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jerry L. Simmons, Marketing Specialist, or Kurt J. Kimmel, Regional Manager, California Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 487-5906, or E-mail: Jerry.Simmons@ams.usda.gov or Kurt.Kimmel@ams.usda.gov.

Small businesses may request information on complying with this and other marketing order and/or agreement regulations by viewing a guide at the following Web site: http://Start Printed Page 35958www.ams.usda.gov/​MarketingOrdersSmallBusinessGuide;​ or by contacting Laurel May, 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: Laurel.May@ams.usda.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This rule is issued under Marketing Agreement No. 148 and Order No. 932, both as amended (7 CFR part 932), regulating the handling of olives grown in California, hereinafter referred to as the “order.” The order is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act.”

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 12866.

The handling of olives grown in California is regulated by 7 CFR part 932. California olive handlers are subject to assessments. Prior to this change handlers were assessed $44.72 per ton of olives handled.

The Committee met on December 15, 2010, and unanimously recommended an assessment rate of $16.61 per ton of olives. The assessment rate of $16.61 is $28.11 per ton lower than the rate currently in effect. The Committee recommended the lower assessment rate because of a substantial increase in assessable olives for the 2011 fiscal year.

The assessment rate established in this rule will be applicable to all assessable olives beginning on January 1, 2011, and continue in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other available information. Although this assessment rate is effective for an indefinite period, the Committee will continue to meet prior to or during each fiscal year to recommend a budget of expenses and consider recommendations for modification of the assessment rate.

In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on March 4, 2011, and effective on March 5, 2011 (76 FR 11937, Doc. No. AMS-FV-10-0115, FV11-932-1 IR), §§ 932.230 was amended by decreasing the assessment rate from $44.72 to $16.61 per ton of olives handled.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), 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. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in that they are brought about through group action of essentially small entities acting on their own behalf.

There are approximately 1,000 producers of California olives in the production area and 2 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $7,000,000.

Based upon information from the industry and the California Agricultural Statistics Service (CASS), the average grower price for 2010 was approximately $811 per ton and total grower production was around 165,000 tons. Based on production, producer prices, and the total number of California olive producers, the average annual producer revenue is less than $750,000. Thus, the majority of olive producers may be classified as small entities. Both of the handlers may be classified as large entities.

This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the Committee and collected from handlers for the 2011 and subsequent fiscal years from $44.72 to $16.61 per ton of olives. The Committee unanimously recommended 2011 expenditures of $2,203,909 and an assessment rate of $16.61 per ton. The recommended assessment rate of $16.61 is $28.11 lower than the 2010 rate. Income generated from the $16.61 per ton assessment rate should be adequate to meet this year's expenses when combined with funds from the authorized reserve and interest income.

The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2011 fiscal year include $1,093,009 for Research Programs, $700,000 for Marketing Programs, $335,900 for General Administration, and $75,000 for Inspection Equipment Development. Budgeted expenses for these items in 2010 were $300,000, $255,000, $324,923, and $50,000, respectively.

The Committee recommended the lower assessment rate because of a substantial increase in assessable olives for the 2011 fiscal year. The fiscal year 2011 olives as reported by CASS total 164,984 tons, as compared to 23,033 tons reported for the 2010 fiscal year.

The Committee reviewed and unanimously recommended 2011 expenditures of $2,203,909, which included increases in administrative expenses, marketing programs, equipment development and research programs. Prior to arriving at this budget, the Committee considered information from various sources, such as the Executive Subcommittee, Marketing Subcommittee, Inspection Subcommittee, and the Research Subcommittee. Alternative expenditure levels were discussed by these groups, based upon the relative value of various projects to the olive industry. The assessment rate of $16.61 per ton of assessable olives was derived by considering anticipated expenses, the volume of assessable olives, and additional pertinent factors.

A review of historical information and preliminary information indicates that grower price could range between approximately $811 per ton and $1,105 per ton. Therefore, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2011 fiscal year as a percentage of total grower revenue could range between 1.5 and 2 percent.

This action decreases the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. Assessments are applied uniformly on all handlers, and some of the costs may be passed on to producers. However, decreasing the assessment rate reduces the burden on handlers, and may reduce the burden on producers.

This action imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large California olive handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies.

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.

USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule.

Comments on the interim rule were required to be received on or before May 3, 2011. No comments were received. Therefore, for the reasons given in the interim rule, we are adopting the interim rule as a final rule, without change.Start Printed Page 35959

To view the interim rule, go to: http://www.regulations.gov/​#!documentDetail;​D=​AMS-FV-10-0115-0001.

This action also affirms information contained in the interim rule concerning Executive Orders 12866 and 12988, the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), and the E-Gov Act (44 U.S.C. 101).

After consideration of all relevant material presented, it is found that finalizing the interim rule, without change, as published in the Federal Register (76 FR 11937, March 4, 2011) will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

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List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 932

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PART 932—[AMENDED]

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Accordingly, the interim rule that amended

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Dated: June 15, 2011.

Ellen King,

Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

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[FR Doc. 2011-15446 Filed 6-20-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P