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Notice

Notice of Intent To Request To Conduct a New Information Collection

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AGENCY:

National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), USDA.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 this notice announces the intention of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to seek approval to conduct a new information collection to gather data related to the costs incurred by farmers to improve the pollination of their crops through the use of honey bees and other pollinators.

DATES:

Comments on this notice must be received by October 2, 2015 to be assured of consideration.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by docket number 0535-NEW, by any of the following methods:

  • Email: ombofficer@nass.usda.gov. Include docket number above in the subject line of the message.
  • eFax: (855) 838-6382
  • Mail: Mail any paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions to: David Hancock, NASS Clearance Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 5336 South Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-2024.
  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Hand deliver to: David Hancock, NASS Clearance Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 5336 South Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-2024.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Renee Picanso, Associate Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, (202) 720-2707. Copies of this information collection and related instructions can be obtained without charge from David Hancock, NASS Clearance Officer, at (202) 690-2388.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Cost of Pollination Survey.

OMB Control Number: 0535—NEW.

Type of Request: Intent to seek approval to conduct a new information collection for a period of three years.

Abstract: The primary objective of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is to prepare and issue state and national estimates of crop and livestock production, prices, and disposition; as well as economic statistics, environmental statistics related to agriculture, and also to conduct the Census of Agriculture.

Pollinators (honey bees, bats, butterflies, hummingbirds, etc.) are vital Start Printed Page 45933to the agricultural industry for pollinating numerous food crops for the world's population. Concern for honey bee colony mortality has risen since the introduction of Varroa mites in the United States in the late 1980s and the appearance of Colony Collapse Disorder in the past decade.

In the Pollinator Research Action Plan, the President's Pollinator Health Task Force identified nearly 200 tasks that need to be conducted and coordinated from across the government to research all aspects of pollinator health and to come up with suggestions for improving this vital part of our food system. The Task Force's plan will involve conducting research and collecting data for the following categories: Status & Trends, Habitats, Nutrition, Pesticides, Native Plants, Collections, Genetics, Pathogens, Decision Tools, and Economics. The pollinators have been classified into Honey Bee, Native Bee, Wasp, Moth/Butterfly, Fly, and Vertebrate. The departments that will conduct the bulk of the research are the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Smithsonian Institute (SI), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

NASS has been given the tasks of collecting economic data related to honey bees and quantifying the number of colonies that were lost or reduced. NASS was approved to conduct the Quarterly and Annual Colony Loss Surveys under OMB approval number 0535-0255. NASS plans to also collect the economic data under this new collection. NASS collects data from crop farmers who rely on pollinators for their crops (fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc.). Data relating to the targeted crops will be collected for the total number of acres that rely on honey bee pollination, the number of honey bee colonies that were used on those acres, and any cash fees associated with honey bee pollination. Crop Farmers will also be asked if beekeepers who were hired to bring their bees to their farm were notified of pesticides used on the target acres, how many acres they were being hired to pollinate, and how much they were being paid to pollinate the targeted crops.

Authority: These data will be collected under the authority of 7 U.S.C. 2204(a). Individually identifiable data collected under this authority are governed by Section 1770 of the Food Security Act of 1985 as amended, 7 U.S.C. 2276, which requires USDA to afford strict confidentiality to non-aggregated data provided by respondents. This Notice is submitted in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-113) and the Office of Management and Budget regulations at 5 CFR part 1320.

NASS also complies with OMB Implementation Guidance, “Implementation Guidance for Title V of the E-Government Act, Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA),” Federal Register, Vol. 72, No. 115, June 15, 2007, p. 33376.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 15 minutes per response. Publicity materials and an instruction sheet for reporting via internet will account for 5 minutes of additional burden per respondent. Respondents who refuse to complete a survey will be allotted 2 minutes of burden per attempt to collect the data.

Once a year, NASS will contact approximately 53,000 crop farmers who rely on honey bees to pollinate their fruit, nut, vegetable, and other crops. NASS will conduct the annual survey initially using a mail and internet approach. This will be followed up with phone and personal enumeration for non-respondents. NASS will attempt to obtain at least an 80% response rate.

Respondents: Farmers.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 53,000.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: With an estimated response rate of approximately 80%, we estimate the burden to be 13,400 hours.

Comments: Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, technological, or other forms of information technology collection methods.

All responses to this notice will become a matter of public record and be summarized in the request for OMB approval.

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Signed at Washington, DC, July 24, 2015.

Joseph T. Reilly,

Administrator.

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[FR Doc. 2015-18975 Filed 7-31-15; 8:45 am]

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