[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 236 (Tuesday, December 9, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 72967-72968]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-28834]

Rules and Regulations
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Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 236 / Tuesday, December 9, 2014 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 72967]]


Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 987

[Docket No. AMS-FV-14-0057; FV14-987-3 FIR]

Domestic Dates Produced or Packed in Riverside County, 
California; Decreased Assessment Rate

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 decreased the assessment 
rate established for the California Date Administrative Committee 
(committee) for the 2014-15 and subsequent crop years from $0.40 to 
$0.20 per hundredweight of dates handled. The committee locally 
administers the marketing order, which regulates the handling of dates 
grown or packed in Riverside County, California. The interim rule 
decreased the assessment rate due to a significant decrease in the 
committee's budgeted expenses. The interim rule was necessary to allow 
the committee to reduce the assessment rate for the 2014-15 crop year.

DATES: Effective December 10, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Terry Vawter, Senior Marketing 
Specialist, or Martin Engeler, Regional Director, California Marketing 
Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and 
Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 
487-5906, or Email: [email protected] or 
[email protected].
    Small businesses may obtain information on complying with this and 
other marketing order regulations by viewing a guide at the following 
Web site: http://www.ams.usda.gov/MarketingOrderSmallBusinessGuide; or 
by contacting Jeffrey Smutny, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, 
Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: 
(202) 720-8938, or Email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under Marketing 
Agreement and Order No. 987, both as amended (7 CFR part 987), 
regulating the handling of dates produced or packed in Riverside 
County, 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 Orders 12866, 13563, and 13175.
    Under the order, California date handlers are subject to 
assessments, which provide funds to administer the order. Assessment 
rates issued under the order are intended to be applicable to all 
assessable dates for the entire crop year, and continue indefinitely 
until amended, suspended, or terminated. The committee's crop year 
begins on October 1, and ends on September 30.
    In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on August 27, 
2014, and effective on October 1, 2014, (79 FR 51067, Doc. No. AMS-FV-
14-0057, FV14-987-3 IR), Sec.  987.339 was amended by decreasing the 
assessment rate established for California dates for the 2014-15 crop 
year and subsequent crop years from $0.40 to $0.20 per hundredweight of 
dates handled. The decrease in the assessment rate was the result of 
decreased committee expenses for the 2014-15 crop year.

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 rule on small entities. 
Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final regulatory flexibility 
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses 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 70 date producers in the production area 
and 11 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. The 
Small Business Administration defines small agricultural producers as 
those having annual receipts of less than $750,000, and small 
agricultural service firms as those whose annual receipts are less than 
$7,000,000. (13 CFR 121.201)
    According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), 
data for the most-recently completed crop year (2012) shows that about 
4.04 tons, or 8,080 pounds, of dates were produced per acre. The 2012 
grower price published by NASS was $1,340 per ton, or $0.67 per pound. 
Thus, the value of date production per acre in 2011-12 averaged about 
$5,414 (8,080 pounds times $0.67 per pound). At that average price, a 
producer would have to farm over 138 acres to receive an annual income 
from dates of $750,000 ($750,000 divided by $5,414 per acre equals 
138.53 acres). According to committee staff, the majority of California 
date producers farm less than 138 acres. Thus, it can be concluded that 
the majority of date producers could be considered small entities. In 
addition, according to data from the committee staff, the majority of 
California date handlers have receipts of less than $7,000,000 and may 
also be considered small entities.
    This rule continues in effect the action that decreased the 
assessment rate established for the committee and collected from 
handlers for the 2014-15 and subsequent crop years from $0.40 to $0.20 
per hundredweight of dates handled. The committee unanimously 
recommended 2014-15 expenditures of $56,200, and an assessment rate of 
$0.20 per hundredweight of dates, which is $0.20 lower than the 2013-14 
rate previously in effect. The quantity of assessable dates for the 
2014-15 crop year is estimated at 27,000,000 pounds (270,000 
hundredweight). Thus, the $0.20 rate should provide $54,000 in 
assessment income. Income derived from handler assessments, funds 
already in the committee's monetary reserve,

[[Page 72968]]

along with the $5,000 contribution from the surplus program, should be 
adequate to cover expenses for the 2014-15 crop year.
    This rule continues in effect the action that decreased 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.
    In addition, the committee's meeting was widely publicized 
throughout the California date industry, and all interested persons 
were invited to attend the meetings and encouraged to participate in 
committee deliberations on all issues. Like all committee meetings, the 
June 25, 2014, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both 
large and small, were able to express views on this issue.
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the order's information collection requirements have been 
previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and 
assigned OMB No. 0581-0178, ``Vegetable and Specialty Crops.'' No 
changes in those requirements as a result of this action are necessary. 
Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for 
    This action imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements on either small or large Riverside County, California, 
date 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.
    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 October 27, 2014. No comments were received. Therefore, for 
reasons given in the interim rule, we are adopting the interim rule as 
a final rule, without change.
    To view the interim rule, go to: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=AMS-FV-14-0057-0001.
    This action also affirms information contained in the interim rule 
concerning Executive Orders 12866, 12988, 13175, and 13563; 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 (79 FR 51067, August 27, 2014) will tend to effectuate 
the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 987

    Dates, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping 


Accordingly, the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 987, which was 
published at 79 FR 51067 on August 27, 2014, is adopted as a final 
rule, without change.

    Dated: December 4, 2014.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-28834 Filed 12-8-14; 8:45 am]