[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 203 (Friday, October 19, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 52943-52944]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-22761]

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. 203 / Friday, October 19, 2018 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 52943]]


Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 900

[Doc. No. AMS-SC-18-0066; SC18-900-2 FR]

General Regulations for Federal Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty 
Crop Marketing Agreements and Orders; Electronic Mailing of Notice of 

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This rule revises the general regulations for Federal fruit, 
vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and marketing orders 
(orders) to allow the use of electronic communication as a method for 
notifying industry and the public of hearings for proceedings related 
to proposing new or amending existing orders.

DATES: Effective October 19, 2018.

Specialist, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops 
Program, AMS, USDA, 2202 Monterey Street, Suite 102-B, Fresno, CA 
93721; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 487-5906 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' '' (February 2, 2017).
    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 USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service 
(AMS) to use either electronic communication or a postal or other 
delivery service to mail a notice of hearing to industry and the public 
for proceedings related to proposing new or amending existing orders.
    Part 900 provides the procedural requirements that govern 
proceedings to formulate orders and when necessary, to amend existing 
orders. These proceedings include holding a public hearing where, among 
other things, witnesses provide testimony about the proposal and 
evidence is admitted for consideration by the Secretary of Agriculture.
    Section 900.4(b) requires AMS to mail a true copy of a notice of 
hearing to each of the persons known to the AMS Administrator to be 
interested in the proceedings. However, the method to be used for 
mailing the notice is not specified. Historically, AMS has mailed paper 
copies of the notice using the United States Postal Service or other 
postal delivery services. These mailings may number in the hundreds, 
depending on the industry affected by the proposal.
    This final rule revises Sec.  900.4 to provide that the mailing of 
a notice of hearing may be done electronically or by using a postal or 
other delivery service. By providing that electronic communication may 
be used for mailing, this action will help strengthen and modernize 
AMS's outreach process and will reduce costs associated with paper 
mailings. Eventually, if all notice recipients have access to 
electronic communication as a delivery method and have adapted to its 
use, the older, more costly paper delivery methods could be eliminated.

Administrative Procedure Act and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final rule revises agency rules of practice and procedure. 
Under the Administrative Procedure Act, prior notice and opportunity 
for comment are not required for the revision 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

[[Page 52944]]

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 the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 

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. In Sec.  900.4, revise paragraph (b)(1)(ii) to read as follows:

Sec.  900.4   Institution of proceeding.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ii) By mailing a true copy of the notice of hearing, using a 
postal or other delivery service or electronic communication, to each 
of the persons known to the Administrator to be interested therein;
* * * * *

    Dated: October 15, 2018.
Bruce Summers,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-22761 Filed 10-18-18; 8:45 am]