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SUMMARY: The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) finalizes the Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Onion Crop Insurance Provisions. The intended effect of this action is to provide policy changes and clarify existing policy provisions to better meet the needs of insured producers, and to reduce vulnerability to program fraud, waste, and abuse. The changes will apply for the 2013 and succeeding crop years.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This rule is effective April 9, 2012.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Director, Product Administration and Standards Division, Risk Management Agency, United States Department of Agriculture, Beacon Facility, Stop 0812, Room 421, P.O. Box 419205, Kansas City, MO 64141-6205, telephone (816) 926-7730.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule has been determined to be non-significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
Pursuant to the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), the collections of information in this rule have been approved by OMB under control number 0563-0053.
E-Government Act Compliance
FCIC 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.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector. This rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory provisions of title II of the UMRA) for State, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of UMRA.
Executive Order 13132
It has been determined under section 1(a) of Executive Order 13132, Federalism, that this rule does not have sufficient implications to warrant consultation with the States. The provisions contained in this rule will not have a substantial direct effect on States, or on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.
Executive Order 13175
This rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this regulation will not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal governments and will not have significant Tribal implications.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
FCIC certifies that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Program requirements for the Federal crop insurance program are the same for all producers regardless of the size of their farming operation. For instance, all producers are required to submit an application and acreage report to establish their insurance guarantees and compute premium amounts, and all producers are required to submit a notice of loss and production information to determine the amount of an indemnity payment in the event of an insured cause of crop loss. Whether a producer has 10 acres or 1000 acres, there is no difference in the kind of information collected. To ensure crop insurance is available to small entities, the Federal Crop Insurance Act authorizes FCIC to waive collection of administrative fees from limited resource farmers. FCIC believes this waiver helps to ensure that small entities are given the same opportunities as large entities to manage their risks through the use of crop insurance. A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis has not been prepared since this regulation does not have an impact on small entities, and, therefore, this regulation is exempt from the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605).
Federal Assistance Program
This program is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under No. 10.450.
Executive Order 12372
This program is not subject to the provisions of Executive Order 12372, which require intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. See the Notice related to 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V, published at 48 FR 29115, June 24, 1983.
Executive Order 12988
This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12988 on civil justice reform. The provisions of this rule will not have a retroactive effect. The provisions of this rule will preempt State and local laws to the extent such State and local laws are inconsistent herewith. With respect to any direct action taken by FCIC or action by FCIC directing the insurance provider to take specific action under the terms of the crop insurance policy, the administrative appeal provisions published at 7 CFR part 11, or 7 CFR part 400, subpart J for determinations of good farming practices, as applicable, must be exhausted before any action against FCIC for judicial review may be brought.
This action is not expected to have a significant economic impact on the quality of the human environment, health, or safety. Therefore, neither an Environmental Assessment nor an Environmental Impact Statement is needed.
This rule finalizes changes to the Common Crop Insurance Regulations (7 CFR part 457), Onion Crop Insurance Provisions that were published by FCIC on July 21, 2011, as a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register at 76 FR 43606-43610. The public was afforded 60 days to submit comments after the regulation was published in the Federal Register .
A total of 35 comments were received from 6 commenters. The commenters were insurance providers, an insurance service organization, and other interested parties.
The public comments received regarding the proposed rule and FCIC's responses to the comments are as follows:
Comment: A commenter stated many of the proposed changes in the Onion Crop Provisions Proposed Rule, as explained in the "Background" section, appear to be reasonable.
Response: FCIC thanks the commenter for their review of the proposed rule and their support.
Comment: A few commenters recommended beginning the definition of "non-storage onions" with the phrase "Onions of a Bermuda, Granex, or Grano variety * * *" consistent with the definition of "storage onions."
Response: FCIC agrees with the commenters and has revised the provision accordingly.
Comment: A few comments were received regarding the definition of "onion production." The commenters stated FCIC proposed removing the phrase "of recoverable size and condition" because as stated in the Background of the proposed rule "these terms are vague and ambiguous." However, if that phrase is deleted, the commenters questioned whether it will mean that onions that are too small to recover could be considered "onion production." The definition of "damaged onion production" includes onions that do not meet certain grade standards. The commenters questioned whether it is supposed to be implied that (undamaged) "onion production" will always meet those standards. The commenters questioned whether this definition should also include some reference to those standards. While damaged onions are considered storage type onions that do not grade U.S. No. 1 or do not satisfy any other standards that may be contained in the Special Provisions, or non-storage type onions that do not satisfy any applicable marketing order (i.e., U.S. commercial), there are many times the insurance provider has had to deal with unharvested onions that obviously made grade, but there is a crop production loss, and they are able to determine the production to count based on weighing what the harvest equipment could pick up without having to have the crop graded by state/federal graders. The insurance provider was able to get the producer to harvest a representative strip and did not have to manually dig the onions with shovels, or deal with grading. The commenters felt the deleted phrase either needs to be retained, or if it is considered to be too vague, it can be further defined by indicating something about the size and condition that can be picked up by normal harvesting equipment. It would be very inefficient for adjusters to hand dig, bag and haul the really small onions that would not have been picked up by the harvesting equipment to have them graded because of the multitude of different marketing orders for size requirements that may be in effect. Additionally, if there is no language that production has to be of recoverable size and condition, would this mean insurance providers have to appraise every single harvested field to prove that any onions left in the field after harvest did not make grade? Would the insurance providers have to go to the Loss Adjustment Manual and prove the small onions were not able to be mechanically harvested?
Response: FCIC agrees and has retained the deleted phrase "of recoverable size and condition" and has retained the current definition in the final rule.
Comment: A commenter stated the definition of "planted acreage" states, "in addition to the definition contained in the Basic Provisions, onions must be planted in rows." The commenter noted in the Basic Provisions, planted acreage is "land in which seeds, plants, or trees have been placed * * *" The commenter asks if an onion set (bulb) may not be considered a seed (otherwise a conflict between direct seeded and transplanted will result). The commenter asked FCIC to consider revising the definition of "planted acreage" in the Onion Crop Provisions to "* * * land in which seeds, sets, or plants have been placed * * *"
--This is a summary of a Federal Register article originally published on the page number listed below--
CFR Part: "7 CFR Part 457"
RIN Number: "RIN 0563-AC29"
Citation: "77 FR 13961"
Document Number: "Docket No. FCIC-11-0004"
Federal Register Page Number: "13961"
"Rules and Regulations"