[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 69 (Wednesday, April 12, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 17531]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-07360]

Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register

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Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 69 / Wednesday, April 12, 2017 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 17531]]


Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration

9 CFR Part 201

RIN 0580-AB25

Scope of Sections 202(a) and (b) of the Packers and Stockyards 

AGENCY: Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, USDA.

ACTION: Interim final rule; notice of delay of effective date.


SUMMARY: The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Grain 
Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is delaying 
the effective date of the rule published on December 20, 2016, for an 
additional six months to October 19, 2017, in response to a comment 
received from a national general farm organization that requested an 
extension of time and to allow time for further consideration by USDA. 
The effective date for this rule was originally February 21, 2017, and 
subsequently delayed to April 22, 2017, by a document published in the 
Federal Register on February 7, 2017. The interim final rule addresses 
the scope of sections 202(a) and (b) of the Packers and Stockyards Act, 
1921, as amended and supplemented (P&S Act) in order to clarify that 
conduct or action may violate sections 202(a) and (b) of the P&S Act 
without adversely affecting, or having a likelihood of adversely 
affecting, competition.

DATES: The effective date for the interim final rule amending 9 CFR 
part 201, published at 81 FR 92566, December 20, 2016, delayed at 82 FR 
9489, February 7, 2017, is further delayed until October 19, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: S. Brett Offutt, Director, Litigation 
and Economic Analysis Division, P&SP, GIPSA, 1400 Independence Ave. 
SW., Washington, DC 20250, (202) 720-7051, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Consistent with the memorandum of January 
20, 2017, to the heads of executive departments and agencies from the 
Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff entitled ``Regulatory 
Freeze Pending Review,'' on February 7, 2017, GIPSA extended the public 
comment period and delayed the effective date of the interim final rule 
entitled ``Scope of sections 202(a) and (b) of the Packers and 
Stockyards Act'' that was published in the Federal Register on December 
20, 2016, 81 FR 92566. The comment period was extended at that time to 
March 24, 2017, and the effective date delayed to April 22, 2017.
    Given the significant public interest in this rule, GIPSA has found 
that the initial delay of the effective date to April 22, 2017, will 
likely not provide sufficient time for USDA to adequately consider all 
comments received and make informed policy decisions regarding this 
rule. GIPSA is therefore further delaying the effective date of this 
rule an additional 180 days to October 19, 2017. In addition, GIPSA 
will publish a proposed rule that solicits public comments on the 
direction that USDA should take with respect to the rule. The public 
will have a 60-day comment period to specify whether USDA should (1) 
let the rule become effective, (2) suspend the rule indefinitely, (3) 
delay the effective date of the rule further, or (4) withdraw the rule.
    As published, this interim final rule states the USDA's long held 
interpretation that not all violations of the P&S Act require a showing 
of harm or likely harm to competition. Section 201.3(a) specifically 
provides that the scope of section 202(a) and (b) encompasses conduct 
or action that, depending on their nature and the circumstances, can be 
found to violate the P&S Act without a finding of harm or likely harm 
to competition. This interim final rule finalizes a proposed Sec.  
201.3(c) that GIPSA published on June 22, 2010, 75 FR 35338, with 
slight modifications in order to allow additional public comment on 
these provisions.
    To the extent that 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A) applies to this action, it is 
exempt from notice and comment rulemaking for good cause and for 
reasons cited above, GIPSA finds that notice and solicitation of 
comment regarding the extension of the effective date of the interim 
final rule are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public 
interest pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B). The delay of the effective 
date until October 19, 2017, should give GIPSA sufficient time to 
receive and consider public comments and to take action on the 
disposition of the IFR. Delaying the effective date would also reduce 
confusion or uncertainty for the industry while GIPSA determines the 
appropriate final disposition of the IFR. GIPSA believes that affected 
parties need to be informed as soon as possible of the extension and 
its length.

Randall D. Jones,
Acting Administrator, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards 
[FR Doc. 2017-07360 Filed 4-11-17; 8:45 am]