[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 76 (Wednesday, April 20, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 22058-22059]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-9522]

Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 76 / Wednesday, April 20, 2011 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 22058]]


2 CFR Chapter IX

5 CFR Chapter LXXIII

7 CFR Subtitle A and Chapters I Through VII, XIV Through XVIII, XX, 

9 CFR Chapters I Through III

36 CFR Chapter II

48 CFR Chapter 4

Reducing Regulatory Burden; Retrospective Review Under Executive 
Order 13563

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, USDA.

ACTION: Request for Information (RFI).


SUMMARY: In accordance with Executive Order 13563, ``Improving 
Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' the Department of Agriculture 
(USDA) is reviewing its existing regulations to evaluate their 
continued effectiveness in addressing the circumstances for which they 
were promulgated. As part of this review, USDA invites public comment 
to assist in analyzing its existing significant regulations to 
determine whether they should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or 
    The focus of USDA's initial review is to identify areas where it 
can simplify and reduce the reporting burden on the public for entry 
and access to USDA programs, while simultaneously reducing its 
administrative and operating costs by sharing similar data across 
participating agencies.

DATES: Comments and information are requested on or before May 20, 

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding 
this notice. All submissions must refer to ``Retrospective Review'' to 
ensure proper delivery.
    Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit 
comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. USDA strongly encourages commenters to submit 
comments electronically. Electronic submission of comments allows the 
commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, and ensures 
timely receipt by USDA. Commenters should follow the instructions 
provided on that site to submit comments electronically.
    E-mail Submission of Comments. Comments may be submitted by E-mail: 
reg.review@obpa.usda.gov. E-mail submission of comments must include 
the term ``Retrospective Review'' in the subject line of the message.
    Submission of Comments by Mail. Paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions 
should be submitted to Julie Hetrick, Office of Budget and Program 
Analysis, USDA, Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 101-A, 1400 
Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250.
    Submission of Comments by Hand Delivery/Courier: Julie Hetrick, 
Office of Budget and Program Analysis, USDA, Jamie L. Whitten Building, 
Room 101-A, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250.
    Background: To read background information on Executive Order 
13563, go to http://www.regulations.gov/exchange/topic/eo-13563.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julie Hetrick, Office of Budget and 
Program Analysis, Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 101-A, USDA, 1400 
Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250; Voice: (202) 720-1269.


I. Executive Order 13563

    On January 18, 2011, the President issued Executive Order 13563, 
``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' to ensure that Federal 
regulations use the best available tools to promote innovation that 
will reduce costs and burden while allowing public participation and an 
open exchange of ideas. These principles will enhance and strengthen 
Federal regulations to allow them to achieve their regulatory 
objectives, most important among them, protecting public health, 
welfare, safety, and the environment. In consideration of these 
principles, and as directed by the Executive Order, Federal agencies 
and departments need to periodically review and consider existing 
regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or 
excessively burdensome and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal 
them in accordance with what has been learned. As part of this 
retrospective review of regulations, and as USDA develops a preliminary 
plan to periodically review the regulatory programs of its mission 
areas, USDA is seeking public comment on how best to remove obstacles 
created by current regulations and ways to improve them to help USDA 
agencies advance the mission of the Department.

II. Request for Information

    USDA is contemplating focusing its initial retrospective review 
under Executive Order 13563 in the following areas: Rural Development, 
Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the 
Food Safety and Inspection Service. Each area has identified potential 
issues for review. USDA is particularly interested in public comments 
that speak to these areas and the issues identified below.

A. Rural Development

    To better serve its customers, Rural Development (RD) is 
considering a review of its regulations in order to determine whether 
certain application procedures can be streamlined. RD is particularly 
interested in hearing from the public on how best to streamline certain 
application procedures to reflect the size and risk of certain types of 
loans and grants, including required audits, paperwork, and forms, and 
other ways to reduce excessive burdens.

B. Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services

    The Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS) mission area is 
considering a review of process improvements that could be achieved 
through the consolidation of information required to participate in 
farm programs administered by the Farm Service Agency and the Federal 
Crop Insurance Program administered by the Risk Management Agency. FFAS 
is interested in hearing from the public on how best to simplify and 
standardize, to the extent practical, acreage reporting processes, 
program dates, and data definitions across the various USDA programs 
and agencies. FFAS also welcomes comments on how best to develop 
procedures, processes, and standards that will allow producers to use 
information from their farm-management and precision-ag systems

[[Page 22059]]

for reporting production, planted and harvested acreage, and other key 
information needed to participate in USDA programs. These process 
changes may allow for program data that is common across agencies to be 
collected once and utilized or redistributed to agency programs in 
which the producer chooses to participate. It also may provide a single 
Web site for producers to report commodity information if they so 
choose, or access their previously reported information.

C. Natural Resources Conservation Service

    The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is considering a 
review of its regulations consistent with its other ongoing 
streamlining efforts to improve the processes that deliver technical 
and financial assistance to program users. To inform this process, NRCS 
welcomes comments on approaches that will allow NRCS to enhance its 
delivery of technical assistance and streamline the application process 
and participation in financial assistance programs. NRCS is 
specifically interested in comments on such approaches as allowing 
customers to apply for programs or services online 24/7, reducing the 
number of office visits required through the use of mobile 
technologies, accelerating payments to clients after a practice is 
applied, and simplifying conservation plan documents.

D. Food Safety and Inspection Service

    The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is considering a 
review of its regulations to identify potential improvements in 
information collection procedures to increase the quality of data 
available to inform and support regulatory decision making. For 
example, FSIS is considering collecting additional information about 
establishment verification testing, such as testing for pathogens. FSIS 
is also considering potential means to decrease the recordkeeping 
burden on industry, by possibly reducing label submission requirements. 
In addition, FSIS is also considering how its new Public Health 
Information System could potentially be used to share data and reduce 
data reporting requirements. To aid this effort, FSIS invites the 
public to comment on how best to improve data quality and minimize the 
recordkeeping burden on industry.

III. Questions for Commenters

    In providing comments, the public is encouraged to respond to the 
questions as they pertain to the four areas identified above:
    (1) Are there regulations or reporting requirements that have 
become outdated and, if so, how can they be modernized to accomplish 
their regulatory objectives better?
    (2) Do agencies currently collect information that they do not need 
or use effectively to achieve regulatory objectives?
    (3) Is there information that agencies should begin collecting to 
achieve regulatory objectives?
    (4) Are there regulations, reporting requirements, or regulatory 
submission or application processes that are unnecessarily complicated, 
or that could be streamlined to achieve regulatory objectives in ways 
that are more efficient?
    (5) Are there regulations, submission and application processes, or 
reporting requirements that have been overtaken by technological 
developments? Can new technologies be used to modify, streamline, or do 
away with existing regulatory or reporting requirements?
    This is a non-exhaustive list that is meant to assist in the 
formulation of comments and is not intended to limit the issues that 
commenters may choose to address. Although we are contemplating on 
focusing our initial review on the four areas identified above, we 
welcome comments from the public on any of USDA's regulations and ways 
to improve them to help USDA agencies advance the mission of the 
Department consistent with the Executive Order. We encourage the public 
to comment on those rules that have been in effect for a sufficient 
amount of time to warrant meaningful evaluation. USDA notes that this 
RFI is issued solely for information and program-planning purposes. 
While responses to this RFI do not bind USDA to any further actions 
related to the response, all submissions will be made publicly 
available on http://www.regulations.gov.

    Signed in Washington, DC, on April 12, 2011.
Thomas J. Vilsack,
Secretary of Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2011-9522 Filed 4-19-11; 8:45 am]