U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 07, 2023
Words in this subpart in the singular form shall be deemed to import the plural, and vice versa, as the case may demand.
(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.
(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.
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.
(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.
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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
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.
(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.
(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.
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.
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.
(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
(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.
(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.
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.
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.