USDA proposes assessment rate increase for Florida tomato handlers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is inviting comments on a recommendation by the Florida Tomato Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate prescribed under the marketing order regulating the handling of tomatoes grown in Florida.

This action would increase the assessment rate for the 2016-17 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.03 to $0.035 per 25-pound carton of Florida tomatoes handled under the order. The Committee estimates the 2016-17 crop to be approximately 33 million 25-pound cartons. Income generated from the new assessment rate, along with funds from interest income, Market Access Program funds, and block grants, should be adequate to fund Committee expenditures.

The proposed rule for this action is published in the Nov. 23, 2016, Federal Register. Written comments must be received by Dec. 8, 2016, and should be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; by fax at (202) 720-8938; or on the internet by visiting www.regulations.gov.

All comments timely submitted in response to this proposed rule will be made available for public review and considered before any increases to the assessment rate are finalized.

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