The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking comments on a proposal for changes to the membership of the Softwood Lumber Board (Board) established under the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order (or check-off). Attached is a copy of the proposal that was published today in the Federal Register.
This action would: 1) revise the Board’s membership to reflect the diversity of the industry in terms of size of operation; 2) allow companies that operate in multiple geographic regions to seek representation in any one region in which they operate; 3) add flexibility for the Board to nominate persons to fill vacancies that occur during a term, with the Secretary of Agriculture still making the final appointments; and 4) re-designate the States of Virginia and West Virginia to the U.S. South Region. Please see the attached proposed rulemaking for more details.
The Board administers the check-off, a national research and promotion program for softwood lumber. USDA oversees the program. Under the program, assessments are collected from U.S. manufacturers and importers and used for projects designed to strengthen the position of softwood lumber in the marketplace, maintain and expand markets for softwood lumber, and develop new uses for softwood lumber within the United States.
A 30-day period is provided for public comment on the proposal. Comments must be received by October 25, 2013. Comments may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov; mailed to the Promotion and Economics Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, USDA, Stop 0244, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-0244; or faxed to (202) 205-2800.
USDA will analyze the comments received and, if warranted, publish a final rule in the Federal Register implementing the changes.
Please give me a call at (312) 321-5131 if you have any questions. You may also contact Maureen Pello at the USDA at (503) 632-8848; or by email at Maureen.Pello (at) ams.usda.gov.