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Notice

Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders; Notice of Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection

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AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this notice announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request an extension and revision to the approved forms and information collection for marketing orders covering various vegetable and specialty crops.

DATES:

Comments on this notice are due by October 11, 2016 to be assured of consideration.

ADDRESSES:

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this notice. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or Internet: www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference the docket number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this notice will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of individuals or entities submitting the comments will be made public on the Internet at the address provided above.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Andrew Hatch, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Room 1406-S, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-6862; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or Email: andrew.hatch@ams.usda.gov.

Small businesses may request information on this notice by contacting Antoinette Carter, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Room 1406-S, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone (202) 720-2491; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or Email: Antoinette.Carter@ams.usda.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders.

OMB Number: 0581-0178.

Expiration Date of Approval: April 30, 2017.

Type of Request: Extension and Revision of a currently approved information collection.

Abstract: Agricultural Marketing Service recently changed the name of the “Fruit and Vegetable Program” to the “Specialty Crops Program.” Marketing order programs provide an opportunity for producers of fresh fruits, vegetables and specialty crops, in specified production areas, to work together to solve marketing problems that cannot be solved individually. This notice covers the following marketing order citations: 7 CFR parts 932 (California olives), 945 (Idaho/Oregon potatoes), 946 (Washington potatoes), 948 (Colorado potatoes), 953 (North Carolina/Virginia potatoes), 955 (Vidalia onions), 956 (Walla Walla onions), 958 (Idaho/Oregon onions), 959 (South Texas onions), 966 (Florida tomatoes), 981 (California almonds), 982 (Oregon/Washington hazelnuts), 984 (California walnuts), 985 (Northwest spearmint oil), 987 (California dates), 989 (California raisins), 993 (California dried prunes), and 999 (Specialty Crop Import Regulation).

Marketing Order 947 (Oregon/California potatoes) has been terminated since the last renewal period. Currently, the following marketing orders are suspended at the respective industry's request, meaning their handling regulations and most of their information collection requirements are not active: 953 (North Carolina/Virginia potatoes); and 993 (California dried prunes). The North Carolina/Virginia potato marketing order, 953, is currently suspended and the industry will determine whether to reactivate or permanently terminate its marketing order by March 1, 2017. All North Carolina/Virginia potato forms were deleted from the previously approved OMB package. The California dried prune industry maintains the committee and marketing order 993, which work in partnership with State programs. In addition, the import regulation for California dried prunes, as contained in 7 CFR 999.200—Regulation governing the importation of prunes—is indefinitely suspended, effective January 17, 2009 (Federal Register, Vol. 74 No. 11).

Marketing order regulations help ensure adequate supplies of high quality product and adequate returns to producers. Marketing orders are authorized under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (Act), as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674). The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to oversee the marketing order operations and issue regulations recommended by a committee of representatives from each commodity industry.

The information collection requirements in this request are essential to carry out the intent of the Act, to provide the respondents the type of service they request, and to administer the marketing orders. Under the Act, marketing orders may authorize: Production and marketing research, including paid advertising; volume regulations; reserves, including pools and producer allotments; container regulations; and quality control. Assessments are levied on handlers regulated under the marketing orders. Section 8e of the Act requires imports of 14 commodities to meet certain standards. Included among these commodities are some covered in this forms package; olives, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, walnuts, dates, dried prunes, and raisins.

USDA requires several forms to be filed to enable the administration of each marketing order. These include forms covering the selection process for industry members to serve on a marketing order's committee or board Start Printed Page 52611and ballots used in referenda to amend or continue marketing orders.

Under Federal marketing orders, producers and handlers are nominated by their peers to serve as representatives on a committee or board which administers each program. Nominees must provide information on their qualifications to serve on the committee or board. Qualified nominees are then appointed by the Secretary. Formal rulemaking amendments must be approved in referenda conducted by USDA and the Secretary. For the purposes of this action, ballots are considered information collections and are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act. If a marketing order is amended, handlers are asked to sign an agreement indicating their willingness to abide by the provisions of the amended marketing order.

Some forms are required to be filed with the committee or board. The marketing orders and their rules and regulations authorize the respective commodities' committees and boards, the agencies responsible for local administration of the marketing orders, to require handlers and producers to submit certain information. Much of the information is compiled in aggregate and provided to the respective industries to assist in marketing decisions. The committees and boards have developed forms as a means for persons to file required information relating to supplies, shipments, and dispositions of their respective commodities, and other information needed to effectively carry out the purpose of the Act and their respective orders, and these forms are utilized accordingly.

The forms covered under this information collection require respondents to provide the minimum information necessary to effectively carry out the requirements of the marketing orders, and use of these forms is necessary to fulfill the intent of the Act as expressed in the marketing orders' rules and regulations.

The information collected is used only by authorized employees of the committees and authorized representatives of the USDA, including AMS, Specialty Crops Program's regional and headquarters' staff. Authorized committee or board employees are the primary users of the information and AMS is the secondary user.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.26 hours per response.

Respondents: Producers, handlers, processors, dehydrators, cooperatives, manufacturers, importers, and public members.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 17,750.

Estimated Number of Responses: 97,129.29.

Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 5.47.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 25,219.72 hours.

Comments are invited on: (1) 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; (2) 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; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments should reference OMB No. 0581-0178 OMB Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders, and be sent to the USDA in care of the Docket Clerk at the address above. All comments received will be available for public inspection during regular business hours at the same address.

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

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.

A 60-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to the notice.

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Dated: August 4, 2016.

Elanor Starmer,

Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

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[FR Doc. 2016-18848 Filed 8-8-16; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P