National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA.
Notice of the Charter renewal for the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking renewal of the 2-year charter for its discretionary committee, the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics. Effective October 1, 1996, responsibility for the census of agriculture program was transferred to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) at USDA from the Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce. Effective February 2, 1997, NASS also received the transferred program positions and staff from the Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce. Responsibility for the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics, which is a discretionary committee and was established by agency authority, was transferred, along with its allocated slot, to USDA with the census of agriculture program.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Hubert Hamer, Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, (202) 720-2707, or email HQOA@nass.usda.gov.
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Purpose: The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Secretary on the conduct of the periodic censuses and surveys of agriculture, other related surveys, and the types of agricultural information to obtain from respondents. The committee also prepares recommendations regarding the content of agriculture reports, and presents the views and needs for data of major suppliers and users of agriculture statistics. The committee draws on the experience and expertise of its members to form a collective judgment concerning agriculture data collected and the statistics issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
Description of Duties: The duties of the Committee are solely advisory in nature. The Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture with regard to the agricultural statistics program of NASS, and such other matters as it may deem advisable, or which the Secretary of Agriculture, Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, or the Administrator of NASS may request.
Agency or Official to Whom the Committee Reports: The Committee reports to the Secretary of Agriculture through the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.
Committee Membership: The Secretary of Agriculture will appoint the membership of the Committee. Furthermore, members will serve for two-year terms, and can serve no more than three consecutive terms. Membership will consist of 20 individuals with diverse capabilities distinguished by their broad range of knowledge and interest in, though not limited to, agricultural economics, rural sociology, farm policy analysis, and agricultural education. Members will also be drawn from representatives of state and local governments; agriculture-related industry and trade or marketing associations; major national farm organizations; and producer organizations. A representative from the Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, and a representative from the Economic Research Service, USDA, shall serve as ex officio members of the Committee.
This Committee will be fairly balanced in its membership in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed. Steps will be taken to encourage fresh points of view, such as establishing staggered membership terms and limiting the number of renewed memberships.
Equal opportunity practices in accordance with USDA policies will be followed in all appointments to the Committee. To ensure that the recommendations of the Committee have taken into account the needs of the diverse groups served by USDA, membership will include to the extent possible, individuals with demonstrated ability to represent the needs of all racial and ethnic groups, women and men, and persons with disabilities.
The USDA prohibits discrimination in all of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental Start Printed Page 59981status, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, genetic information, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program.
Ethics Statement: To maintain the highest levels of honesty, integrity and ethical conduct, no Committee or subcommittee member shall participate in any “specific party matters” (i.e., matters are narrowly focused and typically involve specific transactions between identified parties) such as a lease, license, permit, contract, claim, grant, agreement, or related litigation with the Department in which the member has a direct or indirect financial interest. This includes the requirement for Committee or Subcommittee members to immediately disclose to the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) any specific party matter in which the member's immediate family, relatives, business partners or employer would be directly seeking to financially benefit from the Committee's recommendations.
All members will receive ethics training to identify and avoid any actions that would cause the public to question the integrity of the Committee's advice and recommendations. Members who are appointed as “Representatives” are not subject to Federal ethics laws because such appointment allows them to represent the point(s) of view of a particular group, business sector or segment of the public.
Members appointed as “Special Government Employees” (SGEs) are considered intermittent Federal employees and are subject to Federal ethics laws. SGE's are appointed due to their personal knowledge, academic scholarship, background or expertise. No SGE may participate in any activity in which the member has a prohibited financial interest. Appointees who are SGEs are required to complete and submit a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-450 form) and, upon request, USDA will assist SGEs in preparing these financial reports. To ensure the highest level of compliance with applicable ethical standards USDA will provide ethics training to SGEs on an annual basis. The provisions of these paragraphs are not meant to exhaustively cover all Federal ethics laws and do not affect any other statutory or regulatory obligations to which advisory committee members are subject.
Recordkeeping: The records of this Committee, formally and informally established subcommittees, or other subgroups of the committee, shall be handled in accordance with General Records Schedule 26, Item 2 or other approved agency records disposition schedule. These records shall be available for public inspection and copying, subject to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552. Information about this Committee is available online at: https://www.nass.usda.gov/About_NASS/Advisory_Committee_on_Agriculture_Statistics/index.php.
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Signed at Washington, DC, August 22, 2016.
[FR Doc. 2016-20899 Filed 8-30-16; 8:45 am]
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