Last updated on December 2nd, 2023 at 04:10 pm
Title 7—Agriculture–Volume 10
Subtitle B—Regulations of the Department of Agriculture (Continued)
CHAPTER XI—AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE (MARKETING AGREEMENTS AND ORDERS; MISCELLANEOUS COMMODITIES), DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
PART 1200—RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE GOVERNING PROCEEDINGS UNDER RESEARCH, PROMOTION, AND INFORMATION PROGRAMS
Subpart A—Rules of Practice and Procedure Governing Proceedings To Formulate and Amend an Order
§ 1200.1 Words in the singular form.
Words in this subpart in the singular form shall be deemed to import the plural, and vice versa, as the case may demand.
§ 1200.2 Definitions.
(a) The term Act means the Cotton Research and Promotion Act, as amended [7 U.S.C. 2101–2119]; the Egg Research and Consumer Information Act, as amended [7 U.S.C. 2701–2718]; the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act [7 U.S.C. 4801–4819]; and the Potato Research and Promotion Act, as amended [7 U.S.C. 2611–2627].
(b) Administrator means the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service or any officer or employee of the Department to whom authority has been delegated or may hereafter be delegated to act for the Administrator.
(b) Board means the board or council established by the order to administer the program.
(c) Department means the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
(e) Hearing means that part of the proceeding which involves the submission of evidence.
(f) Judge means any administrative law judge appointed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3105 or any presiding official appointed by the Secretary, and assigned to conduct the proceeding.
(g) Hearing means that part of the proceeding that involves the submission of evidence.
(h) Hearing clerk means the Hearing Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
(i) Order means any order or any amendment thereto which may be issued pursuant to the Act. The term order shall include plans issued under the Acts listed in paragraph (a) of this section.
(j) Proceeding means a proceeding before the Secretary arising under the pertinent section of an Act.
(k) Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, or any officer or employee of the Department to whom authority has heretofore been delegated, or to whom authority may hereafter be delegated, to act for the Secretary.
§ 1200.3 Proposals.
(a) An order may be proposed by any organization certified pursuant to the Act or any interested person affected by the Act, including the Secretary. Any person or organization other than the Secretary proposing an order shall file with the Administrator a written application, together with a copy of the proposal, requesting the Secretary to hold a hearing upon the proposal. Upon receipt of such proposal, the Administrator shall cause such investigation to be made and such consideration to be given as, in the Administrator’s opinion, are warranted. If the investigation and consideration lead the Administrator to conclude that the proposed order will not tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act, or that for other proper reasons a hearing should not be held on the proposal, the Administrator shall deny the application, and promptly notify the applicant of such denial, which notice shall be accompanied by a brief statement of the grounds for the denial.
(b) If the investigation and consideration lead the Administrator to conclude that the proposed order will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act, or if the Secretary desires to propose an order, the Administrator shall sign and cause to be served a notice of hearing, as provided herein.
§ 1200.4 Reimbursement of Secretary’s expenses.
If provided for in the Act or any amendment thereto, expenses incurred by the Secretary in preparing or amending the order, administering the order, and conducting the referendum shall be reimbursed.
§ 1200.5 Institution of proceedings.
(a) Filing and contents of the notice of hearing. The proceeding shall be instituted by filing the notice of hearing with the hearing clerk. The notice of hearing shall contain a reference to the authority under which the order is proposed; shall define the scope of the hearing as specifically as may be practicable; shall contain either the terms or substance of the proposed order or a description of the subjects and issues involved; and shall state the time and place of such hearing, and the place where copies of such proposed order may be obtained or examined. The time of the hearing shall not be less than 15 days after the date of publication of the notice in the
(b) Giving notice of hearing and supplemental publicity. (1) The Administrator shall give or cause to be given notice of hearing in the following manner:
(i) By publication of the notice of hearing in the
(ii) By mailing a copy of the notice of hearing to each organization known by the Administrator to be interested therein;
(iii) By issuing a press release containing the complete text or a summary of the contents of the notice of hearing and making the same available to such newspapers as, in the Administrator’s discretion, are best calculated to bring the notice to the attention of the persons interested therein; and
(iv) By forwarding copies of the notice of hearing addressed to those Governors of the States and executive heads of territories and possessions of the United States and the mayor of the District of Columbia that are directly affected by such order.
(2) Legal notice of the hearing shall be deemed to be given if notice is given in the manner provided by paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section; failure to give notice in the manner provided in paragraphs (b)(2) (ii), (iii), and (iv) of this section shall not affect the legality of the notice.
(c) Record of notice and supplemental publicity. There shall be filed with the hearing clerk or submitted to the judge at the hearing an affidavit or certificate of the person giving the notice provided in paragraphs (b)(1) (iii) and (iv) of this section. In regard to the provisions relating to mailing in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, determination by the Administrator that such provisions have been complied with shall be filed with the hearing clerk or submitted to the judge at the hearing. In the alternative, if notice is not given in the manner provided in paragraphs (b)(1) (ii), (iii), and (iv) of this section there shall be filed with the hearing clerk or submitted to the judge at the hearing a determination by the Administrator that such notice is impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest with a brief statement of the reasons for such determination. Determinations by the Administrator as herein provided shall be final.
§ 1200.6 Docket number.
Each proceeding, immediately following its institution, shall be assigned a docket number by the hearing clerk and thereafter the proceeding may be referred to by such number.
§ 1200.7 Judge.
(a) Assignment. No judge who has any pecuniary interest in the outcome of a proceeding shall serve as judge in such proceeding.
(b) Power of judge. Subject to review by the Secretary, as provided elsewhere in this subpart, the judge in any proceeding shall have power to:
(1) Rule upon motions and requests;
(2) Change the time and place of hearings, and adjourn the hearing from time to time or from place to place;
(3) Administer oaths and affirmations and take affidavits;
(4) Examine and cross-examine witnesses and receive evidence;
(5) Admit or exclude evidence;
(6) Hear oral argument on facts or law; and
(7) Do all acts and take all measures necessary for the maintenance of order at the hearings and the efficient conduct of the proceeding.
(c) Who may act in absence of judge. In case of the absence of the judge or the judge’s inability to act, the powers and duties to be performed by the judge under this part in connection with a proceeding may, without abatement of the proceeding unless otherwise ordered by the Secretary, be assigned to any other judge.
(d) Disqualification of judge. The judge may at any time withdraw as judge in a proceeding if such judge deems himself or herself to be disqualified. Upon the filing by an interested person in good faith of a timely and sufficient affidavit of personal bias or disqualification of a judge, the Secretary shall determine the matter as a part of the record and decision in the proceeding, after making such investigation or holding such hearings, or both, as the Secretary may deem appropriate in the circumstances.
§ 1200.8 Motions and requests.
(a) General. (1) All motions and requests shall be filed with the hearing clerk, except that those made during the course of the hearing may be filed with the judge or may be stated orally and made a part of the transcript.
(2) Except as provided in § 1200.17(b) such motions and requests shall be addressed to, and ruled on by, the judge if made prior to certification of the transcript pursuant to § 1200.11 or by the Secretary if made thereafter.
(b) Certification to Secretary. The judge may, in his or her discretion, submit or certify to the Secretary for decision any motion, request, objection, or other question addressed to the judge.
§ 1200.9 Conduct of the hearing.
(a) Time and place. The hearing shall be held at the time and place fixed in the notice of hearing, unless the judge shall have changed the time or place, in which event the judge shall file with the hearing clerk a notice of such change, which notice shall be given in the same manner as provided in § 1200.5 (relating to the giving of notice of the hearing): Except that if the change in time or place of hearing is made less than five days prior to the date previously fixed for the hearing, the judge either in addition to or in lieu of causing the notice of the change to be given, shall announce, or cause to be announced, the change at the time and place previously fixed for the hearing.
(b) Appearances—(1) Right to appear. At the hearing, any interested person shall be given an opportunity to appear, either in person or through authorized counsel or representative, and to be heard with respect to matters relevant and material to the proceeding. Any interested person who desires to be heard in person at any hearing under these rules shall, before proceeding to testify, state his or her name, address, and occupation. If any such person is appearing through a counsel or representative, such person or such counsel or representative shall, before proceeding to testify or otherwise to participate in the hearing, state for the record the authority to act as such counsel or representative, and the names, addresses, and occupations of such person and such counsel or representative. Any such person or such counsel or representative shall give such other information respecting such appearance as the judge may request.
(2) Debarment of counsel or representative. (i) Whenever, while a proceeding is pending before the judge, such judge finds that a person, acting as counsel or representative for any person participating in the proceeding, is guilty of unethical or unprofessional conduct, the judge may order that such person be precluded from further acting as counsel or representative in such proceeding. An appeal to the Secretary may be taken from any such order, but the proceeding shall not be delayed or suspended pending disposition of the appeal: Except that the judge may suspend the proceeding for a reasonable time for the purpose of enabling the client to obtain other counsel or representative.
(ii) In case the judge has ordered that a person be precluded from further action as counsel or representative in the proceeding, the judge within a reasonable time thereafter shall submit to the Secretary a report of the facts and circumstances surrounding such order and shall recommend what action the Secretary should take respecting the appearance of such person as counsel or representative in other proceedings before the Secretary. Thereafter the Secretary may, after notice and an opportunity for hearing, issue such order respecting the appearance of such person as counsel or representative in proceedings before the Secretary as the Secretary finds to be appropriate.
(3) Failure to appear. If any interested person fails to appear at the hearing, that person shall be deemed to have waived the right to be heard in the proceeding.
(c) Order of procedure. (1) The judge shall, at the opening of the hearing prior to the taking of testimony, have noted as part of the record the notice of hearing as filed with the Office of the Federal Register and the affidavit or certificate of the giving of notice or the determination provided for in § 1200.5(c).
(2) Evidence shall then be received with respect to the matters specified in the notice of the hearing in such order as the judge shall announce.
(d) Evidence—(1) General. The hearing shall be publicly conducted, and the testimony given at the hearing shall be reported verbatim.
(i) Every witness shall, before proceeding to testify, be sworn or make affirmation. Cross-examination shall be permitted to the extent required for a full and true disclosure of the facts.
(ii) When necessary, in order to prevent undue prolongation of the hearing, the judge may limit the number of times any witness may testify to the same matter or the amount of corroborative or cumulative evidence.
(iii) The judge shall, insofar as practicable, exclude evidence which is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitious, or which is not of the sort upon which responsible persons are accustomed to rely.
(2) Objections. If a party objects to the admission or rejection of any evidence or to any other ruling of the judge during the hearing, such party shall state briefly the grounds of such objection, whereupon an automatic exception will follow if the objection is overruled by the judge. The transcript shall not include argument or debate thereon except as ordered by the judge. The ruling of the judge on any objection shall be a part of the transcript. Only objections made before the judge may subsequently be relied upon in the proceeding.
(3) Proof and authentication of official records or documents. An official record or document, when admissible for any purpose, shall be admissible as evidence without the presence of the person who made or prepared the same. The judge shall exercise discretion in determining whether an official publication of such record or document shall be necessary, or whether a copy would be permissible. If permissible such a copy should be attested to by the person having legal custody of it, and accompanied by a certificate that such person has the custody.
(4) Exhibits. All written statements, charts, tabulations, or similar data offered in evidence at the hearing shall, after identification by the proponent and upon satisfactory showing of authenticity, relevancy, and materiality, be numbered as exhibits and received in evidence and made a part of the record. Such exhibits shall be submitted in quadruplicate and in documentary form. In case the required number of copies is not made available, the judge shall exercise discretion as to whether said exhibits shall, when practicable, be read in evidence or whether additional copies shall be required to be submitted within a time to be specified by the judge. If the testimony of a witness refers to a statute, or to a report or document (including the record of any previous hearing), the judge, after inquiry relating to the identification of such statute, report, or document, shall determine whether the same shall be produced at the hearing and physically be made a part of the evidence as an exhibit, or whether it shall be incorporated into the evidence by reference. If relevant and material matter offered in evidence is embraced in a report or document (including the record of any previous hearing) containing immaterial or irrelevant matter, such immaterial or irrelevant matter shall be excluded and shall be segregated insofar as practicable, subject to the direction of the judge.
(5) Official notice. Official notice at the hearing may be taken of such matters as are judicially noticed by the courts of the United States and of any other matter of technical, scientific, or commercial fact of established character: Except that interested persons shall be given an adequate period of time, at the hearing or subsequent to it, of matters so noticed and shall be given adequate opportunity to show that such facts are inaccurate or are erroneously noticed.
(6) Offer of proof. Whenever evidence is excluded from the record, the party offering such evidence may make an offer of proof, which shall be included in the transcript. The offer of proof shall consist of a brief statement describing the evidence to be offered. If the evidence consists of a brief oral statement or of an exhibit, it shall be inserted into the transcript in toto. In such event, it shall be considered a part of the transcript if the Secretary decides that the judge’s ruling in excluding the evidence was erroneous. The judge shall not allow the insertion of such evidence in toto if the taking of such evidence will consume a considerable length of time at the hearing. In the latter event, if the Secretary decides that the judge erred in excluding the evidence, and that such error was substantial, the hearing shall be reopened to permit the taking of such evidence.
§ 1200.10 Oral and written arguments.
(a) Oral argument before the judge. Oral argument before the judge shall be in the discretion of the judge. Such argument, when permitted, may be limited by the judge to any extent that the judge finds necessary for the expeditious disposition of the proceeding and shall be reduced to writing and made part of the transcript.
(b) Briefs, proposed findings, and conclusions. The judge shall announce at the hearing a reasonable period of time within which interested persons may file with the hearing clerk proposed findings and conclusions, and written arguments or briefs, based upon the evidence received at the hearing, citing, where practicable, the page or pages of the transcript of the testimony where such evidence appears. Factual material other than that adduced at the hearing or subject to official notice shall not be alluded to therein, and, in any case, shall not be considered in the formulation of the order. If the person filing a brief desires the Secretary to consider any objection made by such person to a ruling of the judge, as provided in § 1200.9(d), that person shall include in the brief a concise statement concerning each such objection, referring, where practicable, to the pertinent pages of the transcript.
§ 1200.11 Certification of the transcript.
The judge shall notify the hearing clerk of the close of a hearing as soon as possible thereafter and of the time for filing written arguments, briefs, proposed findings, and proposed conclusions and shall furnish the hearing clerk with such other information as may be necessary. As soon as possible after the hearing, the judge shall transmit to the hearing clerk an original and three copies of the transcript of the testimony and the original and all copies of the exhibits not already on file in the office of the hearing clerk. The judge shall attach to the original transcript of the testimony a certificate stating that, to the best of the judge’s knowledge and belief, the transcript is a true transcript of the testimony given at the hearing, except in such particulars as the judge shall specify, and that the exhibits transmitted are all the exhibits as introduced at the hearing with such exceptions as the judge shall specify. A copy of such certificate shall be attached to each of the copies of the transcript of testimony. In accordance with such certificate the hearing clerk shall note upon the official record copy, and cause to be noted on other copies of the transcript, each correction detailed therein by adding or crossing out (but without obscuring the text as originally transcribed) at the appropriate place any words necessary to make the same conform to the correct meaning, as certified by the judge. The hearing clerk shall obtain and file certifications to the effect that such corrections have been effectuated in copies other than the official record copy.
§ 1200.12 Copies of the transcript.
(a) During the period in which the proceeding has an active status in the Department, a copy of the transcript and exhibits shall be kept on file in the office of the hearing clerk where it shall be available for examination during official hours of business. Thereafter said transcript and exhibits shall be made available by the hearing clerk for examination during official hours of business after prior request and reasonable notice to the hearing clerk.
(b) Transcripts of hearings shall be made available to any person at actual cost of duplication.
§ 1200.13 Administrator’s recommended decision.
(a) Preparation. As soon as practicable following the termination of the period allowed for the filing of written arguments or briefs and proposed findings and conclusions the Administrator shall file with the hearing clerk a recommended decision.
(b) Contents. The Administrator’s recommended decision shall include: (1) a preliminary statement containing a description of the history of the proceedings, a brief explanation of the material issues of fact, law, or discretion presented on the record, and proposed findings and conclusions about such issues, including the reasons or basis for such proposed findings; (2) a ruling upon each proposed finding or conclusion submitted by interested persons; and (3) an appropriate proposed order effectuating the Administrator’s recommendations.
(c) Exceptions to recommended decision. Immediately following the filing of the recommended decision, the Administrator shall give notice thereof and opportunity to file exceptions thereto by publication in the
(d) Omission of recommended decision. The procedure provided in this section may be omitted only if the Secretary finds on the basis of the record that due and timely execution of the Secretary’s functions imperatively and unavoidably requires such omission.
§ 1200.14 Submission to Secretary.
Upon the expiration of the period allowed for filing exceptions or upon request of the Secretary, the hearing clerk shall transmit to the Secretary the record of the proceeding. Such record shall include: All motions and requests filed with the hearing clerk and rulings thereon; the certified transcript; any proposed findings or conclusions or written arguments or briefs that may have been filed; the Administrator’s recommended decision, if any; and such exceptions as may have been filed.
§ 1200.15 Decision by the Secretary.
After due consideration of the record, the Secretary shall render a decision. Such decision shall become a part of the record and shall include: (a) a statement of findings and conclusions, including the reasons or basis for such findings, upon all the material issues of fact, law, or discretion presented on the record, (b) a ruling upon each proposed finding and proposed conclusion not previously ruled upon in the record, (c) a ruling upon each exception filed by interested persons, and (d) either (1) denial of the proposal to issue an order, or (2) if the findings upon the record so warrant, an order, the provisions of which shall be set forth and such order shall be complete except for its effective date and any determinations to be made under § 1200.16: Except that such order shall not be executed, issued, or made effective until and unless the Secretary determines that the requirements of § 1200.16 have been met.
§ 1200.16 Execution of the order.
(a) Issuance of the order. The Secretary shall, if the Secretary finds that it will tend to effectuate the purposes of the Act, issue and make effective the order which was filed as part of the Secretary’s decision pursuant to § 1200.15: Except that the issuance of such order shall have been approved or favored by eligible voters as required by the applicable Act.
(b) Effective date of order. No order shall become effective in less than 30 days after its publication in the
(c) Notice of issuance. After issuance of the order, such order shall be filed with the hearing clerk, and notice thereof, together with notice of the effective date, shall be given by publication in the
§ 1200.17 Filing, extension of time, effective date of filing, and computation of time.
(a) Number of copies. Except as provided otherwise herein, all documents or papers required or authorized by the foregoing provisions hereof to be filed with the hearing clerk shall be filed in quadruplicate. Any documents or papers so required or authorized to be filed with the hearing clerk shall be filed with the judge during the course of an oral hearing.
(b) Extension of time. The time for filing of any document or paper required or authorized by the foregoing provisions to be filed may be extended by the judge (before the record is so certified by the judge) or by the Administrator (after the record is so certified by the judge but before it is transmitted to the secretary), or by the Secretary (after the record is transmitted to the secretary) upon request filed, and if, in the judgment of the judge, Administrator, or the Secretary, as the case may be, there is good reason for the extension. All rulings made pursuant to this paragraph shall be filed with the hearing clerk.
(c) Effective date of filing. Any document or paper required or authorized in this subpart to be filed shall be deemed to be filed at the time it is received by the Hearing Clerk.
(d) Computation of time. Each day, including Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays, shall be included in computing the time allowed for filing any document or paper: Provided, That when the time for filing a document or paper expires on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal public holiday, the time allowed for filing the document or paper shall be extended to include the following business day.
§ 1200.18 Ex parte communications.
(a) At no stage of the proceeding following the issuance of a notice of hearing and prior to the issuance of the Secretary’s decision thereon shall an employee of the Department who is or may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decision process of the proceeding discuss ex parte the merits of the proceeding with any person having an interest in the proceeding or with any representative of such person: Except that procedural matters and status reports shall not be included within the limitation: And except further that an employee of the Department who is or may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decisional process of the proceeding may discuss the merits of the proceeding with such a person if all parties known to be interested in the proceeding have been given notice and an opportunity to participate. A memorandum of any such discussion shall be included in the record of the proceeding.
(b) No person interested in the proceeding shall make or knowingly cause to be made to an employee of the Department who is or may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decisional process of the proceeding an ex parte communication relevant to the merits of the proceeding except as provided in paragraph (a) of this section.
(c) If an employee of the Department who is or may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decisional process of the proceeding receives or makes a communication prohibited by this section, the Department shall place on the public record of the proceeding:
(1) All such written communications;
(2) Memoranda stating the substance of all such oral communications; and
(3) All written responses, and memoranda, stating the substance of all oral responses thereto.
(d) Upon receipt of a communication knowingly made or knowingly caused to be made by a party in violation of this section, the Department may, to the extent consistent with the interest of justice and the policy of the underlying statute, take whatever steps are deemed necessary to nullify the effect of such communication.
(e) For the purposes of this section, ex parte communication means any oral or written communication not on the public record with respect to which reasonable prior notice to all interested parties is not given, but which shall not include requests for status reports (including requests on procedural matters) on a proceeding.
§ 1200.19 Additional documents to be filed with hearing clerk.
In addition to the documents or papers required or authorized by the foregoing provisions of this subpart to be filed with the hearing clerk, the hearing clerk shall receive for filing and shall have custody of all papers, reports, records, orders, and other documents which relate to the administration of any order and which the Secretary is required to issue or to approve.
§ 1200.20 Hearing before Secretary.
The Secretary may act in the place and stead of a judge in any proceeding herein. When the Secretary so acts, the hearing clerk shall transmit the record to the Secretary at the expiration of the period provided for the filing of proposed findings of fact, conclusions, and orders, and the Secretary shall then, after due consideration of the record, issue the final decision in the proceeding: Except the Secretary may issue a tentative decision in which event the parties shall be afforded an opportunity to file exceptions before the issuance of the final decision.
Subpart B—Rules of Practice Governing Proceedings on Petitions to Modify or To Be Exempted from Research, Promotion and Information Programs
§ 1200.50 Words in the singular form.
Words in this subpart in the singular form shall be deemed to import the plural, and vice versa, as the case may demand.
§ 1200.51 Definitions.
As used in this subpart, the terms as defined in the Act shall apply with equal force and effect. In addition, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) The term Act means the Commodity Research, Promotion, and Information Act of 1996 [7 U.S.C. 7401–7425]; the Cotton Research and Promotion Act, as amended [7 U.S.C. 2101–2119]; the Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983 [7 U.S.C. 4501–4513]; the Egg Research and Consumer Information Act, as amended [7 U.S.C. 2701–2718]; the Fluid Milk Promotion Act of 1990 [7 U.S.C. 6401–6417]; the Hass Avocado Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 2000 [7 U.S.C. 7801–7813]; the Honey Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act, as amended [7 U.S.C. 4601–4612]; the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1990 [7 U.S.C. 6101–6112]; the Pecan Promotion and Research Act of 1990 [7 U.S.C. 6001–6013]; the Popcorn Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act [7 U.S.C. 7481–7491]; the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act [7 U.S.C. 4801–4819]; the Potato Research and Promotion Act, as amended [7 U.S.C. 2611–2627]; the Sheep Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1994 [7 U.S.C. 7101–7111]; the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act [7 U.S.C. 6301–6311]; and the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act, as amended, [7 U.S.C. 4901–4916].
(b) Administrator means the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service or any officer or employee of the Department to whom authority has been delegated or may hereafter be delegated to act for the Administrator.
(c) Decision means the judge’s initial decision and includes the judge’s:
(1) Findings of fact and conclusions with respect to all material issues of fact, law or discretion, as well as the reasons or basis thereof;
(2) Order; and
(3) Rulings on findings, conclusions and orders submitted by the parties.
(d) Department means the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
(e) Hearing means that part of the proceedings which involves the submission of evidence.
(f) Hearing clerk means the Hearing Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
(g) Judge means any administrative law judge appointed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3105 or any presiding official appointed by the Secretary, and assigned to conduct the proceeding.
(h) Order means any order or any amendment thereto which may be issued pursuant to the Act. The term order shall include plans issued under the Acts listed in paragraph (a) of this section.
(i) Party includes the Department.
(j) Person means any individual, group of individuals, partnership, corporation, association, cooperative, or any other legal entity subject to an order or to whom an order is sought to be made applicable, or on whom an obligation has been imposed or is sought to be imposed under an order.
(k) Petition includes an amended petition.
(l) Proceeding means a proceeding before the Secretary arising under the pertinent section of an Act.
(m) Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, or any officer or employee of the Department to whom authority has heretofore been delegated, or to whom authority may hereafter be delegated, to act for the Secretary.
§ 1200.52 Institution of proceeding.
(a) Filing and service of petitions. Any person subject to an order desiring to complain that such order or any provision of such order or any obligation imposed in connection with an order is not in accordance with law, shall file with the hearing clerk, in quintuplicate, a petition in writing addressed to the Secretary. Promptly upon receipt of the petition in writing the hearing clerk shall transmit a true copy thereof to the Administrator and the General Counsel, respectively.
(b) Contents of petitions. A petition shall contain:
(1) The correct name, address, and principal place of business of the petitioner. If the petitioner is a corporation, such fact shall be stated, together with the name of the State of incorporation, the date of incorporation, and the names, addresses, and respective positions held by its officers and directors; if an unincorporated association, the names and addresses of its officers, and the respective positions held by them; if a partnership, the name and address of each partner;
(2) Reference to the specific terms or provisions of the order, or the interpretation or application of such terms or provisions, which are complained of;
(3) A full statement of the facts, avoiding a mere repetition of detailed evidence, upon which the petition is based, and which it is desired that the Secretary consider, setting forth clearly and concisely the nature of the petitioner’s business and the manner in which petitioner claims to be affected by the terms or provisions of the order or the interpretation or application thereof, which are complained of;
(4) A statement of the grounds on which the terms or provisions of the order, or the interpretation or application thereof, which are complained of, are challenged as not in accordance with law;
(5) Requests for the specific relief which the petitioner desires the Secretary to grant; and
(6) An affidavit by the petitioner, or, if the petitioner is not an individual, by an officer of the petitioner having knowledge of the facts stated in the petition, verifying the petition and stating that it is filed in good faith and not for purposes of delay.
(c) A motion to dismiss a petition: filing, contents, and responses to a petition. If the Administrator is of the opinion that the petition, or any portion thereof, does not substantially comply, in form or content, with the Act or with requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, the Administrator may, within 30 days after the service of the petition, file with the hearing clerk a motion to dismiss the petition, or any portion of the petition, on one or more of the grounds stated in this paragraph. Such motion shall specify the grounds for objection to the petition and if based, in whole or in part, on allegations of fact not appearing on the face of the petition, shall be accompanied by appropriate affidavits or documentary evidence substantiating such allegations of fact. The motion may be accompanied by a memorandum of law. Upon receipt of such motion, the hearing clerk shall cause a copy thereof to be served upon the petitioner, together with a notice stating that all papers to be submitted in opposition to such motion, including any memorandum of law, must be filed by the petitioner with the hearing clerk not later than 20 days after the service of such notice upon the petitioner. Upon the expiration of the time specified in such notice, or upon receipt of such papers from the petitioner, the hearing clerk shall transmit all papers which have been filed in connection with the motion to the judge for the judge’s consideration.
(d) Further proceedings. Further proceedings on petitions to modify or to be exempted from the Order shall be governed by §§ 900.52(c)(2) through 900.71 of the Rules of Practice Governing Proceedings on Petitions To Modify or To Be Exempted From Marketing Orders. However, each reference to marketing order in the title shall mean order.
Subpart C—General Definitions
§ 1200.100 General.
The terms defined/specified in this subpart shall apply to all research and promotion programs authorized under the Act.
§ 1200.101 Definitions.
(a) Act means the Commodity Research, Promotion, and Information Act of 1996 [7 U.S.C. 7411–7425]; the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 [7 U.S.C. 2901–2911]; the Cotton Research and Promotion Act, as amended [7 U.S.C. 2101–2119]; the Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983 [7 U.S.C. 4501–4514]; the Egg Research and Consumer Information Act, as amended [7 U.S.C. 2701–2718]; the Fluid Milk Promotion Act of 1990 [7 U.S.C. 6401–6417]; the Hass Avocado Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 2000 [7 U.S.C. 7801–7813]; the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1990 [7 U.S.C. 6101–6112]; the Popcorn Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act [7 U.S.C. 7481–7491]; the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act [7 U.S.C. 4801–4819]; the Potato Research and Promotion Act, as amended [7 U.S.C. 2611–2627]; the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act [7 U.S.C. 6301–6311]; and the Watermelon Research and Promotion Act, as amended, [7 U.S.C. 4901–4916].
(b) Mail means to transmit either electronically or through a postal or other delivery system, information or a package (e.g., letter or envelope) to a recipient.
Subpart D—Administrative Procedures Governing Formulation of a Research and Promotion Order
§ 1200.200 General.
The terms defined/specified in this subpart shall apply to all research and promotion programs authorized under the Act.
§ 1200.201 Definitions.
Act means the Commodity Research, Promotion, and Information Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7411–7425).
Administrator means the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service or any officer or employee of the United States Department of Agriculture to whom authority has been delegated or may hereafter be delegated to act for the Administrator.
Cost of the Referendum means all USDA expenditures related to development of an order proposal, including, but not limited to, salaries, travel, supplies, printing, mailing, and shipping, and any costs related to an initial referendum.
Order means any order which may be issued pursuant to the Act.
Secretary means the United States Secretary of Agriculture or any officer or employee of the United States Department of Agriculture to whom authority has been delegated or may hereafter be delegated to act for the Secretary.
§ 1200.202 Proposals.
(a) An order may be proposed by any association of producers of an agricultural commodity, by any person that may be affected by the issuance of an order with respect to an agricultural commodity, or by the Secretary. Any person or organization other than the Secretary proposing an order shall file with the Administrator a written proposal.
(b) Upon receipt of a proposal, the Administrator shall investigate and evaluate the proposal.
(c) If the proposal is submitted by an association of producers of the agricultural commodity or by any person that may be affected by the issuance of an order, and the investigation and consideration lead the Administrator to conclude that the proposed order will not tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act, the Administrator shall deny the proposal. The Administrator will promptly notify the proponent(s) of such denial, which will be accompanied by a brief statement of the grounds for the denial.
(d) If the proposal was submitted by an association of producers of the agricultural commodity or by any person that may be affected by the issuance of an order and the investigation and consideration lead the Administrator to conclude that an order will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act, the Administrator will promptly notify the proponent(s) of such conclusion, and the proponent(s) will be required to post a bond or other collateral in accordance with § 1200.204.
(e) If the Administrator concludes that an order will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act, the Administrator shall publish the proposed order in the
§ 1200.203 Initial referendum.
For the purpose of ascertaining whether the persons to be covered by an order favor the order going into effect, the Administrator may conduct an initial referendum among persons to be subject to an assessment under the order who, during a representative period determined by the Administrator, engaged in the production or handling of the agricultural commodity or the importation of the agricultural commodity.
§ 1200.204 Reimbursement of Secretary’s expenses.
The Administrator may require any person or organization proposing an order to post a bond or other collateral to cover the cost of the referendum as defined in § 1200.201.
§ 1200.205 Termination of proceedings.
If at any time during development of a new program the Administrator concludes, based on public comments, referendum votes, or other available information, that an order will not tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act, the Administrator shall terminate the proceedings and collect reimbursements from the bond or other collateral posted pursuant to § 1200.204 for any expenses incurred in development of the proposed program.
§ 1200.206 Execution of the order.
(a) Issuance of the order. The Administrator shall, if the Administrator finds that it will tend to effectuate the purposes of the Act, issue the final order.
(b) Effective date of order. No order shall become effective in less than 30 days after its publication in the
(c) Notice of issuance. After the Administrator issues the order, AMS will publish notice of the order’s issuance in the
PART 1205—COTTON RESEARCH AND PROMOTION
Subpart—Procedures for Conduct of Sign-up Period
§ 1205.10 Act.
The term Act means the Cotton Research and Promotion Act, as amended [7 U.S.C 2101–2118; Public Law 89–502, 80 Stat 279, as amended].
§ 1205.11 Administrator.
The term Administrator means the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service, or any officer or employee of USDA to whom authority has been delegated to act in the Administrator’s stead.
§ 1205.12 Cotton.
The term cotton means all Upland cotton harvested in the United States and all imports of Upland cotton, including the Upland cotton content of products derived thereof.
§ 1205.13 Upland cotton.
The term Upland cotton means all cultivated varieties of the species Gossypium hirsutum L.
§ 1205.14 Department.
The term Department means the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
§ 1205.15 Farm Service Agency.
The term Farm Service Agency—formerly Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS)—also referred to as “FSA,” means the Farm Service Agency of the Department.
§ 1205.16 Order.
The term Order means the Cotton Research and Promotion Order.
§ 1205.17 Person.
The term person means any individual 18 years of age or older, or any partnership, corporation, association, or any other entity.
§ 1205.18 Producer.
The term producer means any person who shares in a cotton crop, or in the proceeds thereof, as an owner of the farm, cash tenant, landlord of a share tenant, share tenant, or sharecropper, that planted the cotton during the representative period.
§ 1205.19 Importer.
The term importer means any person who enters, or withdraws from warehouse, cotton for consumption in the customs territory of the United States, and the term import means any such entry.
§ 1205.20 Representative period.
The term representative period means the 2020 calendar year.
§ 1205.21 Secretary.
The term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, or any other officer or employee of the Department to whom authority has been delegated to act in the Secretary’s stead.
§ 1205.22 State.
The term State means each of the 50 states.
§ 1205.23 United States.
The term United States means the 50 states of the United States of America.
§ 1205.24 General.
A sign-up period will be conducted to determine whether eligible producers and importers favor the conduct of a referendum on the continuance of the 1991 amendments to the Order.
(a) If the Secretary determines, based on the results of the sign-up period, that at least 10 percent (4,622) or more of the number of cotton producers and importers who voted in the 1991 referendum request the conduct of a continuance referendum on the 1991 Order amendments, a referendum will be held within 12 months after the end of the sign-up period. Not more than 20 percent of the total requests counted toward the 10 percent figure may be from producers from any one state or from importers of cotton.
(b) If the Secretary determines that fewer than 10 percent (4,622) of the number of producers and importers who voted in the 1991 referendum do not favor a continuance referendum, no referendum will be held.
§ 1205.25 Supervision of sign-up period.
The Administrator shall be responsible for conducting the sign-up period in accordance with this subpart.
§ 1205.26 Eligibility.
Only persons who meet the eligibility requirements in this subpart may participate in the sign-up period. No person is entitled to sign up more than once.
(a) Except as set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, the following persons are eligible to request the conduct of a continuance referendum:
(1) Any person who was engaged in the production of Upland cotton during calendar year 2020; and
(2) Any person who was an importer of Upland cotton during calendar year 2020.
(b) A general partnership is not eligible to request a continuance referendum, however, the individual partners of an eligible general partnership are each entitled to submit a request.
(c) Where a group of individuals is engaged in the production of Upland cotton under the same lease or cropping agreement, only the individual or individuals who signed or entered into the lease or cropping agreement are eligible to participate in the sign-up period. Individuals who are engaged in the production of Upland cotton as joint tenants, tenants in common, or owners of community property, are each entitled to submit a request if they share in the proceeds of the required crop as owners, cash tenants, share tenants, sharecroppers or landlords of a fixed rent, standing rent or share tenant.
(d) An officer or authorized representative of a qualified corporation, association, or limited partnership may submit a request on behalf of that corporation, association, or limited partnership.
(e) A guardian, administrator, executor, or trustee of any qualified estate or trust may submit a request on behalf of that estate or trust.
(f) An individual may not submit a request on behalf of another individual.
(g) Participation in the sign-up by proxy or power of attorney is not authorized.
§ 1205.27 Participation in the sign-up period.
The sign-up period will be from June 21, 2021, until July 2, 2021, and October 18, 2021, until October 29, 2021. Those persons who favor the conduct of a continuance referendum and who wish to request that Department of Agriculture (USDA) conduct such a referendum may do so by submitting such request in accordance with this section. All requests must be received by the appropriate USDA office by October 29, 2021.
(a) Before the sign-up period begins, FSA shall establish a list of known, eligible, Upland cotton producers in the county that it serves during the representative period, and AMS shall also establish a list of known, eligible Upland cotton importers.
(b) Before the start of the sign-up period, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will post sign-up information, including sign-up forms, on its website: http://www.ams.usda.gov/Cotton. Importers who favor the conduct of a continuance referendum can download a form from the website, or request a sign-up form by contacting [email protected] or (540) 361–2726 and one will be provided to them. Importers may participate in the sign-up period by submitting a signed, written request for a continuance referendum, along with a copy of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection form 7501 showing payment of a cotton assessment for calendar year 2020. The USDA, AMS, Cotton and Tobacco Program, Attention: Cotton Sign-Up, P.O. Box 23181, Washington, DC 20077–8249 shall be considered the polling place for all cotton importers. All requests and supporting documents must be received by October 29, 2021.
(c) Each person on the county FSA office lists may participate in the sign-up period. Eligible producers must date and sign their name on the “County FSA Office Sign-up Sheet.” A person whose name does not appear on the county FSA office list may participate in the sign-up period. Such person must be identified on FSA–578 during the representative period or provide documentation that demonstrates that the person was a cotton producer during the representative period. Cotton producers not listed on the FSA–578 shall submit at least one sales receipt for cotton they planted during the representative period. Cotton producers must make requests to the county FSA office where the producer’s farm is located. If the producer’s land is in more than one county, the producer shall make request at the county office where FSA administratively maintains and processes the producer’s farm records. It is the responsibility of the person to provide the information needed by the county FSA office to determine eligibility. It is not the responsibility of the county FSA office to obtain this information. If any person whose name does not appear on the county FSA office list fails to provide at least one sales receipt for the cotton they produced during the representative period, the county FSA office shall determine that such person is ineligible to participate in the sign-up period, and shall note “ineligible” in the remarks section next to the person’s name on the county FSA office sign-up sheet. In lieu of personally appearing at a county FSA office, eligible producers may request a sign-up form from the county FSA office where the producer’s farm is located. If the producer’s land is in more than one county, the producer shall make the request for the sign-up form at the county office where FSA administratively maintains and processes the producer’s farm records. Such request must be accompanied by a copy of at least one sales receipt for cotton they produced during the representative period. The appropriate FSA office must receive all completed forms and supporting documentation by October 29, 2021.
§ 1205.28 Counting.
County FSA offices and FSA, Deputy Administrator for Field Operations (DAFO), shall begin counting requests no later than October 29, 2021.
FSA shall determine the number of eligible persons who favor the conduct of a continuance referendum.
§ 1205.29 Reporting results.
(a) Each county FSA office shall prepare and transmit to the state FSA office, by November 5, 2021, a written report of the number of eligible producers who requested the conduct of a referendum and the number of ineligible persons who made requests.
(b) DAFO shall prepare, by November 5, 2021, a written report of the number of eligible importers who requested the conduct of a referendum and the number of ineligible persons who made requests.
(c) Each state FSA office shall, by November 5, 2021, forward all county reports to DAFO. By November 12, 2021, DAFO shall forward its report of the total number of eligible producers and importers that requested a continuance referendum, through the sign-up period, to the Deputy Administrator, Cotton and Tobacco Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, 100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 101, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406.
§ 1205.30 Instructions and forms.
The Administrator is hereby authorized to prescribe additional instructions and forms consistent with the provisions of this subpart to govern conduct of the sign-up period.
Subpart—Procedures for the Conduct of Referenda in Connection With Cotton Research and Promotion Order
§ 1205.200 General.
Referenda for the purpose of ascertaining whether producers and importers favor the issuance, continuance, amendment, suspension, or termination of the Cotton Research and Promotion Order shall be conducted in accordance with this subpart.
§ 1205.201 Definitions.
(a) Act means the Cotton Research and Promotion Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 2101–2118; Pub. L. 89–502, as amended).
(b) Administrator means the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service, or any officer or employee of USDA to whom authority has been delegated to act in the Administrator’s stead.
(c) Agricultural Marketing Service also referred to as “AMS” means the Agricultural Marketing Service of the Department.
(d) Cotton means all Upland cotton harvested in the United States or imports of Upland cotton, including the Upland cotton content of the products derived thereof. The term cotton shall not, however, include any entry of imported cotton by an importer which has a value or weight less than the de minimis value established by the Secretary or industrial products as that term is defined by regulation.
(e) Upland Cotton means all cultivated varieties of the species Gossypium hirsutum L.
(f) Department means the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
(g) Deputy Administrator means the Deputy Administrator for Field Operations and also referred to as “DAFO.”
(h) Farm Service Agency also referred to as “FSA” means the Farm Service Agency of the Department.
(i)(1) Importer means any person who enters, or withdraws from warehouse, cotton for consumption in the customs territory of the United States and who, during a 12-month period ending no later than 90 days prior to the conduct of the referendum, imported Upland cotton, and
(2) the term import means any such entry.
(j) Order means the Cotton Research and Promotion Order.
(k) Person means any individual 18 years of age or older, or any partnership, corporation, association, or any other entity.
(l) Producer means any person who shares in a cotton crop, or in the proceeds thereof, as an owner of the farm, cash tenant, landlord of a share tenant, share tenant, or sharecropper, that planted the cotton during the representative period.
(m) Representative Period means the period designated by the Secretary pursuant to section 8 of the Act (7 U.S.C. 2107).
(n) Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture or any other officer or employee of the Department of Agriculture to whom there has heretofore been delegated, or to whom there may be hereafter be delegated, the authority to act in the Secretary’s stead.
(o) State means each of the 50 states.
(p) United States means 50 states of the United States of America.
(q) Customs and Border Protection means the U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security. Customs and Border Protection is also referred to as “CBP.”
§ 1205.202 Agencies through which a referendum shall be conducted.
(a) Agricultural Marketing Service. The Administrator shall:
(1) Determine the referendum period.
(2) Give producers and importers reasonable advance notice of the referendum
(i) by utilizing without advertising expense, available media of public information (including, but not being limited to, press and radio facilities) to announce the dates, places, or methods of voting, and other pertinent information, and
(ii) by such other means as the Administrator may deem advisable.
(3) Provide ballots and related material to be used in the referendum to FSA. The ballots:
(i) shall provide for recording essential information for ascertaining whether the person voting is an eligible voter, and
(ii) may provide for recording the total amount of Upland cotton produced by the producer or the total amount of cotton imported by the importer during the appropriate representative period.
(4) Make available to producers through FSA county offices instructions on voting, an appropriate ballot and, except in the case of a referendum on the termination or suspension of an order, a summary of the terms and conditions of the order. The instructions on voting shall explain the method to be used in determining the amount of Upland cotton produced during the representative period and shall specify whether such amount is to be entered on the ballot by the voter, subject to the following terms and conditions:
(i) If a current production year for which harvesting has not been completed is designated as the representative period, the amount of Upland cotton produced shall be determined by the FSA county office on the basis of the acreage planted or in the case of approved prevented plantings under the disaster payment program, the acreage the person intended to plant up to the allotted acreage as determined by the FSA county office, and the established yield for FSA program payment purposes: Provided, That on farms for which an established yield has not been established, the county committee shall determine an established yield based on actual production records on the farm for the preceding three years, as adjusted for any abnormal conditions, if available; if not available, on the basis of yield on similar farms in the area.
(ii) On farms in which more than one eligible voter is engaged in production, the vote cast by each voter shall represent only the amount of Upland cotton that is the voter’s share of the crop, or proceeds thereof.
(iii) If an eligible voter is engaged in production of Upland cotton on more than one farm, such voter is entitled to only one vote but any vote cast by such voter shall represent the total amount of Upland cotton that is that voter’s share of the crop, or proceeds thereof, on all such farms: Provided, That only farms for which records are maintained by the FSA county office designated as the voter’s polling place shall be considered unless the voter, prior to the expiration of the referendum period, establishes to the satisfaction of such county office the voter’s share of the crop, or proceeds thereof, on an additional farm or farms.
(5) Make available to importers through FSA instructions on voting, an appropriate ballot and, except in the case of a referendum on the termination or suspension of an order, a summary of the terms and conditions of the order. The instructions on voting shall explain the appropriate method to be used in determining the amount of cotton imported during the representative period and specify whether such amount is to be entered on the ballot. If applicable, the following terms and conditions apply:
(i) For importer entities in which more than one importer is eligible to vote, the vote cast by each importer shall represent only the amount in weight or value of cotton imported by each eligible voter.
(ii) If an eligible importer is engaged in importation of cotton as more than one importer entity, such voter is entitled to only one vote but any vote cast by such voter shall represent the total amount in weight or value, of cotton in the voters share of cotton imported from each such importer entity: Provided, that only the importer entities for which records are maintained by CBP or other source determined by the Administrator shall be considered unless the voter, prior to the expiration of the referendum period, establishes to the satisfaction of the Administrator the voters share, in weight or value, of the imported cotton.
(b) Farm Service Agency. Except for the functions specified in paragraph (a) of this section the Deputy Administrator shall be in charge of and responsible for conducting the referendum. Each FSA county office shall be in charge and responsible for conducting such referendum in its State. Each county office shall be responsible for the proper holding of such referendum in its county. It shall be the duty of each FSA county office to conduct each referendum in a fair, unbiased, and impartial manner in accordance with the regulations in this subpart.
§ 1205.203 Voting eligibility.
(a) General eligibility requirements. The following persons shall be eligible to vote in an announced referendum—
(1) each person who was engaged in the production of Upland cotton during the representative period; and
(2) each person who is an importer of Upland cotton and who, during a 12-month period ending no later than 90 days prior to the conduct of the referendum, imported Upland cotton.
(b) Special eligibility requirements. (1)(i) A person may qualify as an eligible voter by meeting the eligibility requirements, but no such person shall be entitled to more than one vote regardless of the number of importing entities or Upland cotton farms in which the person is interested or the number of communities, counties, or States in which are located farms in which such person is interested: Provided, however, That the individual members of a qualified partnership shall each have one vote, but the partnership as such shall not have a vote and an individual who qualifies as an eligible voter by reason of that individual’s separate farming or importing operations will be entitled to one vote even though that person is interested in an entity such as (but not limited to) a corporation which is also eligible as a voter and entitled to one vote. A person who, as a guardian, administrator, executor, or trustee engages in the production of Upland cotton or importation of cotton will be eligible to vote in such a fiduciary capacity if, in such a capacity, that person qualifies as an eligible voter.
(ii) In such cases the person for whom he or she is acting in a fiduciary capacity will not be eligible to vote. An individual may, if otherwise eligible, cast a ballot in his or her individual capacity although that person may also cast a ballot as a guardian, administrator, executor, or trustee. An individual who holds more than one fiduciary position may vote as a fiduciary in each case in which that person is otherwise eligible, as for example, if an individual is administrator of estate X, he or she may cast a ballot as administrator of estate X, and if the same individual is administrator of estate Y, he or she may cast another ballot as administrator or estate Y.
(2) Where a group of several persons, such as a spouse or marital partner, and children, or unrelated individuals, are engaged in the production of Upland cotton under the same lease or cropping agreement, only the person or persons who signed or entered into the lease or cropping agreement shall be eligible to vote. In the event two or more persons are engaged in the production of Upland cotton as joint tenants, tenants in common, or owners of community property, each such person shall be entitled to one vote if otherwise qualified. For example, a husband or a wife is eligible to vote if he or she shares with his or her spouse in the proceeds of the required crop as an owner, cash tenant, share tenant, sharecropper or landlord of a fixed rent, standing rent or share tenant. Thus, if a husband and wife are tenants or sharecropper on a farm, jointly responsible under the rental or sharecropping agreement, both are eligible to vote. This is true whether the rental or sharecropping agreement is written, signed by both parties, or oral, provided both husband and wife made the oral agreement. A minor is not disqualified from voting solely because of minority if otherwise eligible and the minor is not less than 18 years of age.
(c) Voting by proxy prohibited. There shall be no voting by proxy or agent but a duly authorized officer of a corporation, association or their legal entity may cast its vote.
§ 1205.204 Voting.
(a) Place of voting. The FSA county office serving the county in which the producer’s farm is located shall be the producer’s polling place. For a person not participating in an FSA program, the opportunity to vote in a referendum will be provided at the FSA county office serving the county where the person owns or rents land. If a person’s operation is located in several counties, the voting office shall be determined based on the major portion of the operation’s location. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, FSA, DAFO, P.O. Box 23704, Washington, DC 20026–3704 shall be the polling place for all cotton importers.
(b) Register of eligible voters. The FSA county office shall establish a register of known eligible producer voters prior to the referendum. AMS shall establish a register of known eligible importer voters prior to the referendum and provide the list to FAS.
(c) Voting. (1) For Upland producers to vote, eligible persons may obtain form CN–100 in-person, by mail or by facsimile from FSA county offices or through the Internet during the voting period. A completed and signed CN–100 and supporting documentation, such as a sales receipt or remittance form, must be returned to the appropriate FSA county office. Forms obtained via the Internet will be located at http://www.ams.usda.gov/Cotton. Upon request by Upland producers, ballots shall be mailed by FSA county offices.
(2) For cotton importers to vote, eligible persons may obtain form CN–100 in-person, by mail or by facsimile from USDA, FSA in Washington, D.C. or through the Internet during the voting period. In addition, before the referendum, USDA shall mail a request form to each known, eligible, cotton importer. A completed and signed CN–100 and supporting documentation of CBP Form 7501, must be returned USDA, FSA, DAFO, P.O. Box 23704, Washington, DC 20026–3704. Forms obtained via the Internet will be located at http://www.ams.usda.gov/Cotton.
(d) Returning ballot to polling place. Each person to whom a ballot is issued by Internet, mail, facsimile, or in-person shall only be allowed to vote in the referendum by completing and signing the ballot, placing it in an envelope, and delivering or mailing it to the appropriate polling place. In order to be eligible for tabulation, voted ballots must be received at the polling place during the period established for holding the referendum. A ballot shall be considered to have been received during the referendum period if:
(1) In the case of the ballot delivered to the polling place, it was received in the office prior to the close of the work day on the final day of the referendum period, or
(2) In the case of the mailed ballot, it was postmarked not later than midnight of the final day of the referendum period and was received in the polling place prior to the start of canvassing the ballots.
(e) Placing ballots in ballot box. Notwithstanding the fact that a ballot(s) may be later challenged by FSA county office or a representative of FSA, envelopes containing ballots received at the polling place during the referendum period shall remain unopened and shall be placed immediately in a ballot box provided by FSA for producers and importers. Such ballot box shall be arranged so that ballots cannot be read or moved without breaking the seal on the container.
§ 1205.205 Canvass of ballots.
(a) Canvassing procedure. Canvassing of returned ballots shall take place as soon as possible after the opening of the FSA offices on the fifth day following the close of the referendum period. Such canvassing shall be in the presence of at least one member of the FSA county office for producer ballots or an FSA representative for importer ballots and shall be open to the public. The canvassing and ballots shall be handled in such a manner so that no member of the public may see how any person voted in the referendum. The county office or FSA representative shall supervise the opening of the sealed ballot box, the opening of the envelopes containing the ballots and a determination as to:
(1) The number of eligible voters favoring the Order and where necessary, the amount of cotton represented by them,
(2) The number of eligible voters disapproving the Order and, where necessary, the amount of cotton represented by them.
(3) The number of ballots cast by voters found to be ineligible to vote in the referendum, and
(4) The number of spoiled ballots. The ballots determined to be spoiled or cast by ineligible voters shall not be considered as approving or disapproving the Order, and the persons who cast such ballots shall not be regarded as participating in the referendum.
(b) Spoiled ballots. A ballot shall be considered as a spoiled ballot if:
(1) It is mutilated or marked in such a way that it is not possible to determine with certainty how the ballot was intended to be counted, or
(2) It does not contain the signature of the voter, or the voter’s properly witnessed mark.
(c) Challenge of ballots. A producer ballot may be challenged by the member of the FSA county office and the importer ballot may be challenged by the representative of FSA. Before a challenged ballot is either counted or declared invalid, a determination shall be made by the FSA county office or representative of FSA as to the eligibility of the voter to vote in the referendum.
§ 1205.206 Reporting results of referendum.
(a) Each FSA county office shall transmit a written county summary of ballots showing the results of the referendum in its county to its State office.
(b) Each State office shall transmit a written summary of the referendum results from the county offices within its State to DAFO, and DAFO will provide a copy to the AMS. AMS will make the results available for public inspection for a period of 5 years following the end of the referendum period.
(c) AMS shall prepare and submit to the Secretary a report as to the results of the referendum. The Secretary shall then publically proclaim the results of the referendum.
§ 1205.207 Challenge of correctness of county summary of ballots.
The FSA state offices shall make a prompt investigation and decision in case of any dispute or challenge regarding the correctness of the county summary of ballots in any county: Provided, That no dispute of challenge shall be investigated unless it is brought to the attention of the State FSA office within 3 days after receipt by the FSA State office of the county summary of ballots from such county.
§ 1205.208 Disposition of ballots and records.
The FSA county office shall seal the voted ballots, challenged ballots found to be ineligible, spoiled ballots, register sheets, and summary sheets for the county in one or more envelopes or packages, plainly marked with the identification of the referendum, the date and the names of the county and State, and place them under lock and key in a safe place under the custody of the FSA county office for a period of 45 days after the referendum period. If no notice to the contrary is received by the end of such time, and after the ballots and other records have been examined by a representative of the State FSA office, the voted ballots and challenged ballots shall be destroyed, but the registers and county summary sheets shall be filed for a period of 5 years in the office of the FSA county office.
§ 1205.209 Confidential information.
(a) The ballots cast or the manner in which any person voted and all information furnished to, compiled by, or in the possession of the referendum agent shall be regarded as confidential.
(b) The ballots and other information or reports that reveal, or tend to reveal, the vote of any person covered under the Order and the voter list shall be strictly confidential and shall not be disclosed.
§ 1205.210 Additional instructions and forms.
AMS is hereby authorized to prescribe additional instructions and forms not inconsistent with the provisions of this subpart for the use of State and County FSA offices in conducting a referendum. Such additional instructions may include procedures for FSA county and State offices to report and announce the results of the preliminary count of the votes in the county and the State.
Subpart—Cotton Research and Promotion Order
§ 1205.301 Secretary.
Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, or any officer or employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to whom authority has heretofore been delegated, or to whom authority may hereafter be delegated, to act in his stead.
§ 1205.302 Act.
Act means the Cotton Research and Promotion Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 2101–2118; Public Law 89–502, 80 Stat 279, as amended).
§ 1205.303 Person.
Person means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or any other entity.
§ 1205.304 Cotton.
(a) All Upland cotton harvested in the United States, and, except as used in §§ 1205.311 and 1205.335, includes cottonseed of such cotton and the products derived from such cotton and its seed, and
(b) Imports of Upland cotton, including the Upland cotton content of the products derived thereof. The term “cotton” shall not, however, include:
(1) Any entry of imported cotton by an importer which has a value or weight less than a de minimis amount established in regulations issued by the Secretary and
(2) Industrial products as that term is defined by regulation.
§ 1205.305 Upland cotton.
Upland cotton means all cultivated varieties of the species Gossypium hirsutum L.
§ 1205.306 Bale.
Except as used in § 1205.322, Bale means the package of lint cotton produced at a cotton gin or the amount of processed cotton in a manufactured product that is equivalent to a 500 pound bale of lint cotton.
§ 1205.307 Fiscal period.
Fiscal period is the 12-month budgetary period and means the calendar year unless the Cotton Board, with the approval of the Secretary, selects some other 12-months budgetary period.
§ 1205.308 Cotton Board.
Cotton Board means the administrative body established pursuant to § 1205.318.
§ 1205.309 Producer.
Producer means any person who shares in a cotton crop actually harvested on a farm, or in the proceeds thereof, as an owner of the farm, cash tenant, landlord of a share tenant, share tenant, or sharecropper.
§ 1205.310 Importer.
Importer means many person who enters, or withdraws from warehouse, cotton for consumption in the customs territory of the United States, and the term import means any such entry.
§ 1205.311 Handler.
Handler means any person who handles cotton, including the Commodity Credit Corporation.
§ 1205.312 Handle.
Handle means to harvest, gin, warehouse, compress, purchase, market, transport, or otherwise acquire ownership or control of cotton.
§ 1205.313 United States.
United States means the 50 States of the United States of America.
§ 1205.314 Cotton-producing State.
Cotton-producing State means each of the following States and combination of States: Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; California-Nevada; Florida; Georgia; Kansas; Louisiana; Mississippi; Missouri-Illinois; New Mexico; North Carolina; Oklahoma; South Carolina; Tennessee-Kentucky; Texas; Virginia.
§ 1205.315 Marketing.
Marketing includes the sale of cotton or the pledging of cotton to the Commodity Credit Corporation as collateral for a price support loan.
§ 1205.316 Cotton-Producer organization.
Cotton-Producer organization means any organization which has been certified by the Secretary pursuant to § 1205.341.
§ 1205.317 Cotton-Importer organization.
Cotton-Importer organization means any organization which has been certified by the Secretary pursuant to § 1205.342.
§ 1205.318 Contracting organization or association.
Contracting organization or association means the organization or association with which the Cotton Board has entered into a contract or agreement pursuant to § 1205.328(c).
§ 1205.319 Cotton-producing region.
Cotton-producing region means each of the following groups of cotton-producing States:
(a) Southeast Region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia;
(b) Midsouth Region: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri-Illinois, and Tennessee-Kentucky;
(c) Southwest Region: Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas;
(d) Western Region: Arizona, California-Nevada, and New Mexico.
§ 1205.320 Marketing year.
Marketing year means a consecutive 12-month period ending on July 31.
§ 1205.321 Part and subpart.
Part means the cotton research and promotion order and all rules, regulations and supplemental orders issued pursuant to the act and the order, and the aforesaid order shall be a “subpart” of such part.
§ 1205.322 Establishment and membership.
(a) There is hereby established a Cotton Board composed of:
(1) Representatives of cotton producers, each of whom shall have an alternate, selected by the Secretary from nominations submitted by eligible producer organizations within a cotton-producing state, as certified pursuant to § 1205.341, or, if the Secretary determines that a substantial number of producers are not members of or their interests are not represented by any such eligible organizations, from nominations made by producers in a manner authorized by the Secretary, and
(2) Representatives of cotton importers, each of whom shall have an alternate, selected by the Secretary from nominations submitted by eligible importer organizations, as certified pursuant to § 1205.342, or, if the Secretary determines that a substantial number of importers are not members of or their interests are not represented by any such eligible organization, from nominations made by importers in a manner authorized by the Secretary.
(b) Representation on the Cotton Board shall be as follows:
(1) Each cotton-producing state shall have at least one member and an additional member for each 1 million bales or major fraction (more than half) thereof of cotton produced in the state and marketed above one million bales during the period specified in the regulations for determining Board membership; and
(2) Cotton importers shall be represented by an appropriate number of representatives, as determined by the Secretary, of importers of cotton subject to assessment during the period specified in the regulations for determining Board membership. That number shall not be less than two members. The initial importer representation on the Board shall consist of four representatives. The Secretary may, after consultation with organizations representing importers, reduce or increase the number of importer representatives, in the manner prescribed by the Secretary.
§ 1205.323 Term of office.
All members of the Board and their alternatives shall serve for terms of three years. Each member and alternate shall continue to serve until a successor is selected and has qualified.
§ 1205.324 Nominations.
All nominations authorized under § 1205.322 shall be made within such a period of time and in such a manner as the Secretary shall prescribe. The eligible producer organizations within each cotton-producing state, as certified pursuant to § 1205.341, shall caucus for the purpose of jointly nominating two qualified persons for each member and each alternate member to be selected to represent the cotton producers of such cotton-producing state. The eligible importer organizations, as certified pursuant to § 1205.342, shall caucus for the purpose of jointly nominating two qualified persons for each member and alternate member to be selected to represent cotton importers. If joint agreement is not reached with respect to the nominees for any such position, each such organization may nominate two qualified persons for any position on which there is no agreement.
§ 1205.325 Selection.
From the nominations made pursuant to §§ 1205.322 and 1205.324, the Secretary shall select the members of the Board and an alternate for each member on the basis of representation provided for in §§ 1205.322 and 1205.323.
§ 1205.326 Acceptance.
Any person selected by the Secretary as a member or as an alternate member of the Board shall qualify by filing a written acceptance with the Secretary promptly after being notified of such selection.
§ 1205.327 Vacancies.
To fill any vacancy occasioned by the failure of any person selected as a member or as an alternate member of the Board to qualify, or in the event of death, removal, resignation or disqualification of any member or alternate member of the Board, a successor for the unexpired term of such member or alternate member of the Board shall be nominated and selected in the manner specified in §§ 1205.322, 1205.324 and 1205.325.
§ 1205.328 Alternate members.
An alternate member of the Board, during the absence of the member for whom the person is the alternate, shall act in the place and stead of such member and perform such other duties as assigned. In the event of death, removal, resignation or disqualification of a member, the alternate for the member shall act for the member until a successor for such member is selected and qualified. In the event that both a producer member of the Board and the member’s alternate are unable to attend a meeting, the Board may designate any other alternate member from the same cotton-producing state or region to serve in such member’s place and stead of such meeting. In the event that both an importer member and the member’s alternate are unable to attend a meeting, the Board may designate any other importer alternate member to serve in such member’s place and stead at such meeting.
§ 1205.329 Procedure.
A majority of the members of the Board, or alternates acting for members, shall constitute a quorum and any action of the Board shall require the concurring votes of at least a majority of those present and voting. At assembled meetings all votes shall be cast in person. For routine and noncontroversial matters which do not require deliberation and the exchange of views, and in matters of an emergency nature when there is not enough time to call an assembled meeting of the Board, the Board may also take action upon the concurring votes of a majority of its members by mail, telegraph or telephone, but any such action by telephone shall be confirmed promptly in writing.
§ 1205.330 Compensation and reimbursement.
The members of the Board, and alternates when acting as members, shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses, as approved by the Board, incurred by them in the performance of their duties under this subpart.
§ 1205.331 Powers.
The Board shall have the following powers:
(a) To administer the provisions of this subpart in accordance with its terms and provisions;
(b) Subject to the approval of the Secretary, to make rules and regulations to effectuate the terms and provisions of this subpart including the designation of the handler, importer, or other person responsible for collecting the assessments authorized by § 1205.335, which designation may be of different handlers, importers, or other persons, or classes of handlers, importers, or other persons, to recognize differences in marketing practices or procedures in any state or area;
(c) To receive, investigate, and report to the Secretary complaints of violations of the provisions of this subpart;
(d) To recommend to the Secretary amendments to this subpart.
§ 1205.332 Duties.
The Board shall have the following duties:
(a) To select from among its members a chairman and such other officers as may be necessary for the conduct of its business, and to define their duties;
(b) To appoint or employ such persons as it may deem necessary and to determine the compensation and to define the duties of each;
(c) With the approval of the Secretary, to enter into contracts or agreements for the development and submission to it of research and promotion plans or projects authorized by § 1205.333, and for the carrying out of such plans or projects when approved by the Secretary, and for the payment of costs thereof with funds collected pursuant to § 1205.335, with an organization or association whose governing body consists of cotton producers selected by the cotton-producer organizations certified by the Secretary under § 1205.341, in such manner that the producers of each cotton-producing state will, to the extent practicable, have representation on the governing body of such organization in the proportion that the cotton marketed by the producers of such state bears to the total marketed by the producers of all cotton-producing states. Any such contract or agreement shall provide that such contracting organization or association shall develop and submit annually to the Cotton Board, for the purpose of review and making recommendations to the Secretary, a program of research, advertising, and sales promotion projects, together with a budget, or budgets, which shall show the estimated cost to be incurred for such projects, and that any such projects shall become effective upon approval by the Secretary. Any such contract or agreement shall also provide that the contracting organization shall keep accurate records of all its transactions, which shall be available to the Secretary and Board on demand, and make an annual report to the Cotton Board of activities carried out and an accounting for funds received and expended, and such other reports as the Secretary may require;
(d) To review and submit to the Secretary any research and promotion plans or projects which have been developed and submitted to it by the contracting organization or association, together with its recommendations with respect to the approval thereof by the Secretary;
(e) To submit to the Secretary for his approval budgets on a fiscal period basis of its anticipated expenses and disbursements in the administration of this subpart, including probable costs of advertising and promotion and research and development projects as estimated in the budget or budgets submitted to it by the contracting organization or association, with the Board’s recommendations with respect thereto;
(f) To maintain such books and records and prepare and submit such reports from time to time to the Secretary as he may prescribe, and to make appropriate accounting with respect to the receipt and disbursement of all funds entrusted to it;
(g) To cause its books to be audited by a competent public accountant at least once each fiscal period and at such other times as the Secretary may request, and to submit a copy of each such audit to the Secretary;
(h) To give the Secretary the same notice of meetings of the Board as is given to members in order that his representative may attend such meetings;
(i) To act as intermediary between the Secretary and any producer, importer, or handler.
(j) To submit to the Secretary such information as he may request.
Research and Promotion
§ 1205.333 Research and promotion.
The Cotton Board shall in the manner prescribed in § 1205.332(c) establish or provide for:
(a) The establishment, issuance, effectuation, and administration of appropriate plans or projects for the advertising and sales promotion of cotton and its products, which plans or projects shall be directed toward increasing the general demand for cotton or its products in accordance with section 6(a) of the act;
(b) The establishment and carrying on of research and development projects and studies with respect to the production, ginning, processing, distribution, or utilization of cotton and its products in accordance with section 6(b) of the act, to the end that the marketing and utilization of cotton may be encouraged, expanded, improved, or made more efficient.
Expenses and Assessments
§ 1205.334 Expenses.
(a) The Board is authorized to incur such expenses as the Secretary finds are reasonable and likely to be incurred by the Board for its maintenance and functioning and to enable it to exercise its powers and perform its duties in accordance with the provisions of this subpart.
(b) The Board shall reimburse the Secretary for:
(1) Expenses up to $300,000 incurred by the Secretary in connection with any referendum conducted under the Act and
(2) Expenses incurred by the Department of Agriculture for administrative and supervisory costs up to five employee years annually.
(c) The Board shall reimburse any agency of the United States Government that assists in administering the import provisions of the order for a reasonable amount of the expenses incurred by that agency in connection therewith.
(d) The funds to cover such expenses incurred under paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of this section shall be paid from assessments received pursuant to § 1205.335.
§ 1205.335 Assessments.
(a) Each cotton producer or other person for whom cotton is being handled shall pay to the handler thereof designated by the Cotton Board pursuant to regulations issued by the Secretary and such handler shall collect from the producer or other person for whom the cotton, including cotton owned by the handler, is being handled, and shall pay to the Cotton Board, at such times and in such manner as prescribed by regulations issued by the Secretary, assessments as prescribed in paragraphs (a) (1) and (2) of this section:
(1) An assessment at the rate of $1 per bale of cotton handled;
(2) A supplemental assessment on cotton handled which shall not exceed one percent of the value of such cotton as determined by the Cotton Board and approved by the Secretary and published in the Cotton Board rules and regulations. The rate of the supplemental assessment may be increased or decreased by the Cotton Board with the approval of the Secretary. The Secretary shall prescribe by regulation whether the assessment rate shall be levied on:
(i) The current value of the cotton, or
(ii) An average value determined from current and/or historical cotton prices and converted to a fixed amount for each bale.
(b) Each importer of cotton shall pay to the Cotton Board through the U.S. Customs Service, or in such other manner and at such times as prescribed by regulations issued by the Secretary, assessments as prescribed in paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section:
(1) An assessment of $1 per bale of cotton imported or the bale equivalent thereof for cotton products.
(2) A supplemental assessment on each bale of cotton imported, or the bale equivalent thereof for cotton products, which shall not exceed one percent of the value of such cotton as determined by the Cotton Board and approved by the Secretary and published in the Cotton Board rules and regulations. The rate of the supplemental assessment on imported cotton shall be the same as that paid on cotton produced in the United States. The rate of the supplemental assessment may be increased or decreased by the Cotton Board with the approval of the Secretary. The Secretary shall prescribe by regulation the value of imported cotton based on an average of current and/or historical cotton prices.
(c) The Secretary may designate by regulation exemptions to assessments provided for in this section for the following:
(1) Entries of products designated by specific Harmonized Tariff Schedule numbers which the Secretary determines are composed of U.S. cotton or other than Upland cotton, and for;
(2) Cotton contained in entries of imported cotton and cotton products that is U.S. produced cotton or is other than Upland cotton.
(d) Assessments collected under this section are to be used for such expenses and expenditures, including provision for a reasonable reserve, as the Secretary finds reasonable and likely to be incurred by the Cotton Board and the Secretary under this subpart.
§ 1205.336 “Importer Reimbursements”.
Any cotton importer against whose imports any assessment is made and collected under the authority of the Act who has reason to believe that such assessment or any portion of such assessment was made on U.S. produced cotton or cotton other than Upland cotton shall have the right to demand and receive from the Cotton Board a reimbursement of the assessment or portion of the assessment upon submission of proof satisfactory to the Board that the importer paid the assessment and that the cotton was produced in the U.S. or is other than Upland cotton. Any such demand shall be made by the importer in accordance with regulations and on a form and within a time period prescribed by the Board and approved by the Secretary. Such time periods shall provide the importer at least 90 days from the date of collection to submit the reimbursement form to the Board. Any such reimbursement shall be made within 60 days after demand therefor.
§ 1205.337 Influencing governmental action.
No funds collected by the Board under this subpart shall in any manner be used for the purpose of influencing governmental policy or action except in recommending to the Secretary amendments to this subpart.
Reports, Books, and Records
§ 1205.338 Reports.
Each handler and importer subject to this subpart and importers of de minimis amounts of cotton may be required to report to the Cotton Board periodically such information as is required by regulations, which may include but not be limited to the following:
(a) Number of bales handled or imported;
(b) Number of bales on which an assessment was collected;
(c) Name and address of person from whom the handler has collected the assessments on each bale handled or imported;
(d) Date collection was made on each bale handled or imported.
§ 1205.339 Books and records.
Each handler and importer subject to this subpart and importers of de minimis amounts of cotton shall maintain and make available for inspection by the Secretary such books and records as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this subpart and the regulations issued thereunder, including such records as are necessary to verify any reports required. Such records shall be retained for at least two years beyond the marketing year of their applicability.
§ 1205.340 Confidential treatment.
All information obtained from such books, records or reports shall be kept confidential by all officers and employees of the Department of Agriculture and of the Cotton Board, and only such information so furnished or acquired as the Secretary deems relevant shall be disclosed by them, and then only in a suit or administrative hearing brought at the direction, or upon the request, of the Secretary of Agriculture, or to which the Secretary or any officer of the United States is a party, and involving this subpart. Nothing in this § 1205.340 shall be deemed to prohibit:
(a) The issuance of general statements based upon the reports of a number of handlers or importers subject to this subpart or importers of de minimis amounts of cotton, which statements do not identify the information furnished by any person, or
(b) The publication by the direction of the Secretary, of the name of any person violating this subpart, together with a statement of the particular provisions of this subpart violated by such person.
Certification of Cotton Producer Organization
§ 1205.341 Certification of cotton producer organization.
Any cotton producer organization within a cotton-producing State may request the Secretary for certification of eligibility to participate in nominating members and alternate members to represent such State on the Cotton Board. Such eligibility shall be based in addition to other available information upon a factual report submitted by the organization which shall contain information deemed relevant and specified by the Secretary for the making of such determination, including the following:
(a) Geographic territory within the State covered by the organization’s active membership;
(b) Nature and size of the organization’s active membership in the State, proportion of total of such active membership accounted for by farmers, a map showing the cotton-producing counties in such State in which the organization has members, the volume of cotton produced in each such county, the number of cotton producers in each such county, and the size of the organization’s active cotton producer membership in each such county;
(c) The extent to which the cotton producer membership of such organization is represented in setting the organization’s policies;
(d) Evidence of stability and permanency of the organization;
(e) Sources from which the organization’s operating funds are derived;
(f) Functions of the organization; and
(g) The organization’s ability and willingness to further the aims and objectives of the act.
§ 1205.342 Certification of cotton importer organizations.
Any importer organization may request the Secretary for certification of eligibility to participate in nominating members and alternate members to represent cotton importers on the Cotton Board. Such eligibility shall be based, in addition to other available information, upon a factual report submitted by the organization which shall contain information deemed relevant and specified by the Secretary for the making of such determination, including the following:
(a) Nature and size of organization’s active membership, proportion of total active membership accounted for by cotton importers and the total amount of cotton imported by the organization’s cotton importer members;
(b) The extent to which the cotton importer membership of such organization is represented in setting the organization’s policies;
(c) Evidence of stability and permanency of the organization;
(d) Sources from which the organization’s operating funds are derived;
(e) Functions of the organization; and
(f) The organization’s ability and willingness to further the aims and objectives of the Act.
The primary consideration in determining the eligibility of an organization shall be whether its membership consist of a sufficient large number of cotton importers who import a relatively significant volume of cotton to reasonably warrant its participation in the nomination of members for the Cotton Board. Any importer organization found eligible by the Secretary under this § 1205.342 will be certified by the Secretary, and the Secretary’s determination as to eligibility is final.
§ 1205.343 Suspension and termination.
(a) The Secretary will, whenever the Secretary finds that this subpart or any provision thereof obstructs or does not tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act, terminate or suspend the operation of this subpart or such provision.
(b) The Secretary may conduct a referendum at any time, and shall hold a referendum on request of 10 percent or more of the number of cotton producers and importers (if subject to the Order) voting in the most recent referendum, to determine whether cotton producers and importers subject to the Order favor the suspension or termination of this subpart, except that in counting such request for a referendum, not more than 20 percent of such request may be from producers from any one state or importers of cotton (if subject to the Order). The Secretary shall suspend or terminate such subpart at the end of the marketing year whenever the Secretary determines that its suspension or termination is approved or favored by a majority of producers and importers subject to the Order voting in such referendum who, during a representative period determined by the Secretary, have been engaged in the production or importation of cotton, and who produced and imported more than 50 percent of the volume of cotton produced and imported by those voting in the referendum.
§ 1205.345 Proceedings after termination.
(a) Upon the termination of this subpart the Cotton Board shall recommend not more than five of its members to the Secretary to serve as trustees, for the purpose of liquidating the affairs of the Cotton Board. Such persons, upon designation by the Secretary, shall become trustees of all of the funds and property then in the possession or under control of the Board, including claims for any funds unpaid or property not delivered or any other claim existing at the time of such termination.
(b) The said trustees shall—
(1) Continue in such capacity until discharged by the Secretary;
(2) Carry out the obligations of the Cotton Board under any contracts or agreements entered into by it pursuant to § 1205.332 (c);
(3) From time-to-time account for all receipts and disbursements and deliver all property on hand, together with all books and records of the Board and the trustees, to such person or persons as the Secretary may direct; and
(4) Upon request of the Secretary execute such assignments or other instruments necessary or appropriate to vest in such persons full title and right to all funds, property and claims vested in the Board or the trustees pursuant to this § 1205.345.
(c) Any person to whom funds, property or claims have been transferred or delivered pursuant to this § 1205.345 shall be subject to the same obligation imposed upon the Cotton Board and upon the trustees.
(d) Any residual funds not required to defray the necessary expenses of liquidation shall be turned over to the Secretary to be disposed of, to the extent practicable, in the interest of continuing one or more of the cotton research or promotion programs hitherto authorized.
§ 1205.346 Effect of termination or amendment.
Unless otherwise expressly provided by the Secretary, the termination of this subpart or of any regulation issued pursuant thereto, or the issuance of any amendment to either thereof, shall not (a) affect or waive any right, duty, obligation, or liability which shall have arisen or which may thereafter arise in connection with any provision of this subpart or any regulation issued thereunder, or (b) release or extinguish any violation of this subpart or any regulation issued thereunder, or (c) affect or impair any rights or remedies of the United States, or of the Secretary, or of any other person, with respect to any such violation.
§ 1205.347 Personal liability.
No member or alternate member of the Cotton Board shall be held personally responsible, either individually or jointly with others, in any way whatsoever, to any person for errors in judgment, mistakes, or other acts, either of commission or omission, as such member or alternate, except for acts of dishonesty or willful misconduct.
§ 1205.348 Separability.
If any provision of this subpart is declared invalid or the applicability thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this subpart or the applicability thereof to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
Subpart—Members of Cotton Board
§ 1205.401 Definitions.
(a) Cotton Division. Cotton Division means the Cotton Division of the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
(b) Director. Director means the Director of the Cotton Division.
§ 1205.402 Determination of Cotton Board membership.
(a) In determining whether any cotton-producing state is entitled to be represented by more than one member of the Cotton Board as provided in § 1205.322, average annual production of Upland cotton in terms of 480-pound net weight bales for the five most recent marketing years will be used as the criteria for determination of such additional members.
(b) In determining whether importers of cotton and cotton-containing products are entitled to be represented by more than a minimum of two members on the Cotton Board as provided in § 1205.322, the average annual volume of imported cotton and the cotton content of imported products on which assessments have been collected will be used as the criteria for determination of such additional members. This volume of cotton will be expressed in terms of 480-pound net weight bales for the five most recent calendar years. The initial importer representation on the Board shall consist of four importer representatives.
(c) All members appointed from a state will be entitled to serve a full three-year term even though it is determined in a subsequent year that a state should have fewer additional members by using the average production of the five most recent marketing years as specified in paragraph (a) of this section.
(d) All members appointed to represent importers will be entitled to serve a full three-year term even though it is determined in a subsequent year that importers should be represented by fewer additional members by using the average volume of imports of cotton and the cotton content of products on which assessments have been collected as specified in paragraph (b) of this section.
(e) Each year the Director shall:
(1) Based on the average annual production of Upland cotton in terms of 480-pound net weight bales for the five most recent marketing years, notify all certified cotton producer organizations in each cotton-producing state of the number of vacancies to be filled by cotton producers on the Cotton Board; and
(2) Based on the average annual volume of imports of cotton and the cotton content of cotton-containing products on which assessments as provided for in § 1205.335 have been collected in terms of 480-pound net weight bales for the five most recent calendar years, notify all certified cotton importer organizations of the number of vacancies to be filled by cotton importers on the Cotton Board.
§ 1205.403 Nomination procedure.
(a) The Director shall notify all certified producer organizations within each cotton-producing state and all certified importer organizations of the location, date, and time of the caucus for nominating producer and importer representatives for the Cotton Board as specified in § 1205.324. The Director will designate a representative from the Cotton Division to attend the caucus meeting of cotton producer organizations in each state, and of cotton importer organizations. Each eligible cotton producer organization within each cotton-producing state and each importer organization will be entitled to only one representative at the caucus for the purpose of nominating two qualified persons for each member and for each alternate member to be selected. The representative of a cotton producer organization shall be a cotton producer and resident of such state, an officer or member of the Board of Directors of such organization, and duly and unqualifiedly authorized in writing by such organization to make nominations on its behalf. The representative of an importer organization shall be an importer of cotton and/or products containing cotton, an officer or member of the Board of Directors of such organization, and duly and unqualifiedly authorized in writing by such organization to make nominations on its behalf. The representative of the Director designated to attend the caucus meeting of cotton producer organizations in each state and of cotton importer organizations will ascertain the qualifications and eligibility of each representative of a cotton producer organization or cotton importer organization to participate in said meeting and to make nominations.
(b) Each caucus will be conducted as follows:
(1) The representative from the Cotton Division will act as temporary chairperson and will explain the procedure for nominations and the duties of the Cotton Board;
(2) The representatives in attendance from the certified organizations will then select a chairperson and secretary;
(3) At each caucus there will be presented for nomination and there will be nominated not less than the number of nominees required under the provisions of §§ 1205.322, 1205.324, and 1205.402.
Subpart—Cotton Board Rules and Regulations
§ 1205.500 Terms defined.
As used throughout this subpart, unless the context otherwise requires, the following terms shall mean:
(a) ASCS means the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
(b) Cotton Board means the administrative body established pursuant to the Cotton Research and Promotion Order.
(c) CCC means the Commodity Credit Corporation.
(d) Current value of Cotton means the gross price per pound of lint cotton received by the producer for cotton as shown on the producers’ settlement document before deductions are made for weight penalties, buyer’s commission or brokerage fees, marketing fees, the $1 per bale cotton research and promotion assessment, picking charges, ginning charges, warehouse receiving charges, warehouse storage charges, transportation charges or any other charges, plus any amount received by a producer in the form of a loan deficiency payment with respect to such cotton.
(e) Form A means Cotton Producer’s Note, Form CCC Cotton A.
(f) Gin code number means the identification number assigned to each cotton gin by the Cotton Division, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
(g) Handle means to harvest, gin, warehouse, compress, purchase, market, transport, or otherwise acquire ownership or control of cotton.
(h) Handler means any person who handles cotton, including CCC.
(i) Marketing means any sale of cotton, or the pledging of cotton to CCC as collateral for a price support loan.
(j) Marketing year means a consecutive 12-month period ending on July 31.
(k) Person means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or any other entity, whether governmental or private.
(l) Producer means any person who owns or shares in a cotton crop (or in the proceeds thereof) as landowner, landlord, tenant, or sharecropper.
(m) Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, or any officer or employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to whom authority has heretofore been delegated, or to whom authority may hereafter be delegated, to act in the Secretary’s stead.
(n) Loan deficiency payment means any payment on Upland cotton made by the Commodity Credit Corporation to a producer in accordance with 7 CFR 713.55.
(o) Importer means any person who enters, or withdraws from warehouse, cotton for consumption in the customs territory of the United States and import means any such entry.
(p) Customs Service means the United States Customs Service of the United States Department of Treasury.
(q) Cotton means:
(1) All Upland cotton harvested in the United States, and, except as used in section 7(e) of the Act, includes cottonseed of such cotton and the products derived from such cotton and its seed, and
(2) Imports of Upland cotton, including the Upland cotton content of the products derived thereof. The term cotton shall not, however, include:
(i) Any entry of imported cotton by an importer which has a value or weight less than a de minimis amount established in regulations issued by the Secretary and
(ii) Industrial products as that term is defined by regulation.
(r) Industrial products means cotton-containing products which are classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States under classifications other than textile classifications. Certain cotton-containing textile products under textile classifications shall also be considered to be industrial products, and are therefore not included in the table appearing in these regulations as products subject to assessment. Such products include, but are not limited to textile fabrics coated, impregnated, covered, or laminated, with other materials, textile piping and tubing, and belting materials.
§ 1205.505 Communication.
All reports, requests, applications for reimbursements, and communications in connection with the Cotton Research and Promotion Order shall be addressed as follows: Cotton Board, Post Office Box 2121, Memphis, Tennessee, 38101–2121.
§ 1205.510 Levy of assessments.
(a) Producer assessments. An assessment of $1 per bale for cotton research and promotion is hereby levied on each bale of Upland cotton that is produced from cotton harvested and ginned except cotton consumed by any governmental agency from its own production. Such assessment shall be payable and collected only once on each bale.
(1) A supplemental assessment for cotton research and promotion in addition to the $1 per bale assessment provided for in paragraph (a) of this section, is hereby levied on each bale of Upland cotton harvested and ginned except cotton consumed by any governmental agency from its own production. The supplemental assessment rate shall be levied at the rate of five-tenths of one percent of:
(i) The current value of the cotton multiplied by the number of pounds of lint cotton or;
(ii) The current value of the cotton converted to a fixed amount per bale as reflected in the following assessment chart:
|Current value (cents per pound)||Supplemental Assessment, dollars per bale|
|.00 to 9.99||0.15|
|10.00 to 19.99||.40|
|20.00 to 29.99||.65|
|30.00 to 39.99||.90|
|40.00 to 49.99||1.15|
|50.00 to 59.99||1.40|
|60.00 to 69.99||1.65|
|70.00 to 79.99||1.90|
|80.00 to 89.99||2.15|
|90.00 to 99.99||2.40|
|100.00 to 109.99||2.65|
|110.00 to 119.99||2.90|
1 Assessment is calculated on
(2) Each marketing year the collecting handler must select one of the two options for collecting the supplemental assessment as provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. The handler shall notify the Cotton Board as to the method selected at the time the handler files the first handler report each marketing year.
(b) Importer assessment. An assessment for cotton research and promotion of $1 per bale is hereby levied on each bale of cotton, or the bale equivalent thereof for cotton in cotton-containing products identified in the HTS conversion factor table in paragraph (b)(3) of this section and imported into the United States on or after July 31, 1992. The $1 per bale assessment shall be converted to a fixed amount per kilogram to facilitate the U.S. Customs Service in collecting this assessment.
(1) A supplemental assessment for cotton research and promotion in addition to the $1 per bale assessment provided for in paragraph (b) of this section is hereby levied on each bale of cotton or bale equivalent of cotton in cotton-containing products, identified in this subpart, imported into the United States on or after July 31, 1992. The supplemental assessment shall be levied at the rate of five-tenths of one percent of the historical value of cotton as determined by the Secretary and expressed in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The rate of the supplemental assessment on imported cotton will be the same as that levied on cotton produced within the United States. The supplemental assessment will be calculated as a fixed amount per kilogram and added to the $1 per bale or bale equivalent assessment to facilitate the Customs Service in collecting assessments.
(2) The 12-month average of monthly weighted average prices received by U.S. farmers will be calculated annually. Such weighted average will be used as the value of imported cotton for the purpose of levying the supplemental assessment on imported cotton and will be expressed in kilograms. The value of imported cotton for the purpose of levying this supplemental assessment is $1.4691 cents per kilogram.
(3) The following table contains Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification numbers and corresponding conversion factors and assessments. The left column of the following table indicates the HTS classifications of imported cotton and cotton-containing products subject to assessment. The center column indicates the conversion factor for determining the raw fiber content for each kilogram of the HTS. HTS numbers for raw cotton have no conversion factor in the table. The right column indicates the total assessment per kilogram of the article assessed. In the event that any HTS number subject to assessment is changed and such change is merely a replacement of a previous number and has no impact on the physical properties, description, or cotton content of the product involved, assessments will continue to be collected based on the new number.
Table 2 to Paragraph (
[Raw cotton fiber]
|HTS No.||Conv. factor.||Cents/kg.|