[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 56 (Wednesday, March 23, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 15425-15426]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-06459]

Rules and Regulations
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Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 56 / Wednesday, March 23, 2016 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 15425]]


Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 966

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-15-0058; FV15-966-1 FIR]

Tomatoes Grown in Florida; 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 implemented a recommendation 
from the Florida Tomato Committee (Committee) to decrease the 
assessment rate established for the Florida Tomato Committee 
(Committee) for the 2015-2016 and subsequent fiscal periods from 
$0.0375 to $0.03 per 25-pound carton of tomatoes handled under the 
marketing order (order). The Committee locally administers the order 
and is comprised of producers of tomatoes operating within the area of 
production. The interim rule was necessary to more closely align 
assessment income to the Committee's lower budget.

DATES: Effective March 24, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steven Kauffman, Marketing Specialist 
or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Director, Southeast Marketing Field 
Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops 
Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324-3375, Fax: (863) 291-8614, 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/rules-regulations/moa/small-businesses; or by contacting Antoinette Carter, Marketing Order and 
Agreement Division, Specialty Crops 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 No. 125 and Order No. 966, both as amended (7 CFR part 966), 
regulating the handling of tomatoes grown in Florida, 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, Florida tomato 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 Florida tomatoes for the entire fiscal period, and continue 
indefinitely until amended, suspended, or terminated. The Committee's 
fiscal period begins on August 1, and ends on July 31.
    In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on November 
25, 2015, and effective on November 27, 2015, (80 FR 73642, Doc. No. 
AMS-FV-15-0058; FV15-966-1 IR), Sec.  966.234 was amended by decreasing 
the assessment rate established for Florida tomatoes for the 2015-2016 
and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0375 to $0.03 per 25-pound 
carton. The decrease in the per 25-pound carton assessment rate more 
closely aligns assessment income to the Committee's lower budget.

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 100 producers of tomatoes in the production 
area and approximately 80 handlers subject to regulation under the 
marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small 
Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less 
than $750,000, and small agricultural service firms are defined as 
those whose annual receipts are less than $7,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    Based on industry and Committee data, the average annual price for 
fresh Florida tomatoes during the 2014-15 season was approximately 
$10.58 per 25-pound container, and total fresh shipments for the 2014-
15 season were approximately 36.5 million cartons. Based on the average 
price, about 80 percent of handlers could be considered small 
businesses under SBA's definition. In addition, based on production 
data, grower prices as reported by the National Agricultural Statistics 
Service, and the total number of Florida tomato growers, the average 
annual grower revenue is below $750,000. Thus, the majority of handlers 
and producers of Florida tomatoes may be classified as small entities.
    This rule continues in effect the action that decreased the 
assessment rate established for the Committee and collected from 
handlers for the 2015-16 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0375 to 
$0.03 per 25-pound carton of tomatoes. The Committee unanimously 
recommended 2015-16 expenditures of $1,513,177 and an assessment rate 
of $0.03 per 25-pound carton. The assessment rate of $0.03 is $0.0075 
lower than the 2013-14 rate. The quantity of assessable tomatoes for 
the 2015-16 season is estimated at 33 million cartons. Thus, the $0.03 
rate should provide $990,000 in assessment income. Income derived from 
handler assessments, along with funds from the Committee's authorized 
reserve, interest income, and funds from block grants, will be adequate 
to cover budgeted expenses. The decrease in the per 25-pound carton 
assessment rate more closely aligns assessment income to the 
Committee's lower budget.

[[Page 15426]]

    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 Florida tomato industry and all interested persons were 
invited to attend the meeting and participate in Committee 
deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the August 
25, 2015, 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 Florida tomato 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 January 25, 2016. 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-15-0058-0001.
    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 (80 FR 73642, November 25, 2015) will tend to 
effectuate the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 966

    Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 


    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 966, which was 
published at 80 FR 73642, November 25, 2015, is adopted as a final 
rule, without change.

    Dated: March 17, 2016.
Elanor Starmer,
Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-06459 Filed 3-22-16; 8:45 am]