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Proposed Rule

Sweet Cherries Grown in Designated Counties in Washington; Continuance Referendum

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AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Referendum order.

SUMMARY:

This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible Washington sweet cherry growers to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order regulating the handling of sweet cherries grown in designated counties in Washington.

DATES:

The referendum will be conducted from April 21 through May 5, 2017. Only current growers of sweet cherries within the designated counties in Washington that have grown sweet cherries during the period April 1, 2016, through March 31, 2017, are eligible to vote in this referendum.

ADDRESSES:

Copies of the marketing order may be obtained from the Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1220 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 305, Portland, OR 97204; Telephone: (503) 326-2724; from the Office of the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; or on the Internet: http://www.regulations.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Teresa Hutchinson or Gary D. Olson, Northwest Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (503) 326-2724, Fax: (503) 326-7440, or Email: Teresa.Hutchinson@ams.usda.gov or GaryD.Olson@ams.usda.gov, respectively.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Marketing Order No. 923 (7 CFR part 923), hereinafter referred to as the “order,” and the applicable provisions of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act,” it is hereby directed that a referendum be conducted to ascertain whether continuance of the order is favored by growers. The referendum shall be conducted from April 21 through May 5, 2017, among eligible Washington sweet cherry growers. Only current growers that were also engaged in the production of sweet cherries in designated counties in Washington during the period of April 1, 2016, through March 31, 2017, may participate in the continuance referendum.

USDA has determined that continuance referenda are an effective means for determining whether growers favor the continuation of marketing order programs. USDA would consider termination of the order if less than two-thirds of the growers voting in the referendum and growers of less than two-thirds of the volume of Washington sweet cherries represented in the referendum favor continuance of their program. In evaluating the merits of continuance versus termination, USDA will not exclusively consider the results of the continuance referendum. USDA will also consider all other relevant information regarding operation of the order and relative benefits and disadvantages to growers, handlers, and consumers to determine whether continuing the order would tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the ballot materials used in the referendum herein ordered have been submitted to and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and have been assigned OMB No. 0581-0189, Generic Fruit Crops. It has been estimated that it will take an average of 20 minutes for each of the approximately 1,500 Washington sweet cherry growers to cast a ballot. Participation is voluntary. Ballots postmarked after May 5, 2017, will not be included in the vote tabulation.

Teresa Hutchinson and Gary Olson of the Northwest Marketing Field Office, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, are hereby designated as the referendum agents of the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct this referendum. The procedure applicable to the referendum shall be the “Procedure for the Conduct of Referenda in Connection With Marketing Orders for Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts Pursuant to the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as Amended” (7 CFR part 900.400 et seq.).

Ballots will be mailed to all growers of record and may also be obtained from the referendum agents or from their appointees.

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List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 923

  • Cherries
  • Marketing agreements
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601-674.

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Dated: February 8, 2017.

Bruce Summers,

Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

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[FR Doc. 2017-02904 Filed 2-13-17; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P