[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 96 (Thursday, May 17, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 22831-22832]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-10487]

Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 


Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 96 / Thursday, May 17, 2018 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 22831]]


Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 900

[Doc. No. AMS-SC-17-0086; SC18-900-1 FR]

General Regulations for Federal Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty 
Crop Marketing Agreements and Orders; Authority To Meet Via Electronic 

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This rule amends the general regulations for Federal fruit, 
vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and marketing orders 
(orders) and allows such programs to conduct meetings and vote using 
electronic means of communication.

DATES: Effective May 17, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Schmaedick, Marketing Order 
and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, Post Office 
Box 952, Moab, UT 84532; Telephone: (202) 557-4783, Fax: (435) 259-
1502, or Julie Santoboni, 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] or 
[email protected].
    Small businesses may request information on complying with this 
regulation by contacting Richard Lower, 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 final rule is issued under the general 
regulations for Federal marketing agreements and orders (7 CFR part 
900), 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 final rule in 
conformance with Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13175. 
Additionally, because this rule does not meet the definition of a 
significant regulatory action, it does not trigger the requirements 
contained in Executive Order 13771. See the Office of Management and 
Budget's (OMB) Memorandum titled, ``Interim Guidance Implementing 
Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017, titled `Reducing 
Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs'[thinsp]'' (February 2, 
    This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. It is not intended to have retroactive effect.
    The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted 
before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the 
Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition 
stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation 
imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and 
request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. Such 
handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. 
After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides 
that the district court of the United States in any district in which 
the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of 
business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, 
provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of 
the entry of the ruling.
    This final rule authorizes administrative bodies of Federal fruit, 
vegetable, and specialty crop orders that currently do not have 
authority to conduct meetings using electronic communication means to 
do so.
    This action also stipulates that each program follow its respective 
quorum and voting requirements when conducting meetings via electronic 
communication. Lastly, this action allows administrative bodies to 
recommend, subject to approval by the Secretary of Agriculture 
(Secretary), new requirements specific to meetings and verifying votes 
made at meetings conducted other than in-person.
    Adding this authority increases operating efficiencies by adding 
flexibility to the methods by which meetings may be held and decisions 
made. Additionally, time and travel costs of attending meetings will be 
reduced. Of the 29 fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop orders 
currently in effect, six either do not have authority to meet other 
than in person or are limited specifically to phone or mail voting as 

Administrative Procedure Act and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final rule establishes agency rules of practice and procedure. 
Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), prior notice and 
opportunity for comment are not required for the promulgation of agency 
rules of practice and procedure. 5 U.S.C. 553 (b)(3)(A). Only 
substantive rules require publication 30 days prior to their effective 
date. 5 U.S.C. 553 (d). Therefore, this final rule is effective upon 
publication in the Federal Register.
    In addition, because prior notice and opportunity for comment are 
not required to be provided for this final rule, this rule is exempt 
from the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, 
et seq.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule contains no information collection or recordkeeping 
requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-
    AMS is committed to complying with the E-Government Act to promote 
the use of the internet and other information technologies, to provide 
increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.
    USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, 
overlap, or conflict with this final rule.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/moa/small-businesses. Any questions 
about the compliance guide should be sent to Richard Lower at the 
previously-mentioned address in

[[Page 22832]]


List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 900

    Administrative practice and procedure, Freedom of information, 
Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth above, 7 CFR part 900 is amended as 


1. The authority citation for part 900 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 601-674 and 7 U.S.C. 7401.

2. Add Sec.  900.83 to subpart E read as follows:

Sec.  900.83   Conducting Meetings via Electronic Communication or 

    Notwithstanding any other provisions of a marketing order in this 
part, administrative bodies of fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop 
marketing orders, and their committees/subcommittees may, upon due 
notice to all members and the public:
    (a) Conduct meetings by any means of communication available, 
electronic or otherwise, that effectively assembles members and the 
public, and facilitates open communication.
    (b) Vote by any means of communication available, electronic or 
otherwise; Provided, That votes cast are verifiable and that quorum and 
other procedural requirements of each respective marketing order are 
    (c) With the approval of the Secretary, each administrative body 
may prescribe any additional procedures necessary to carry out the 
objectives of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.

    Dated: May 11, 2018.
Bruce Summers,
Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-10487 Filed 5-16-18; 8:45 am]