1221.117 Exemptions.§ 1221.117 Exemptions.
(a) Any importer of less than and including 1,000 bushels of grain sorghum or 5,000 tons of sorghum forage, sorghum hay, sorghum haylage, sorghum billets, or sorghum silage per calendar year may claim an exemption from the assessment required under § 1221.116.
(b) An importer desiring an exemption shall apply to the Board, on a form provided by the Board, for a certificate of exemption. An importer shall certify that the importer will import less than and including 1,000 bushels of grain sorghum or 5,000 tons of sorghum forage, sorghum hay, sorghum haylage, sorghum billets, or sorghum silage.
(c) Upon receipt of an application, the Board shall determine whether an exemption may be granted. The Board then will issue, if deemed appropriate, a certificate of exemption to each person who is eligible to receive one. It is the responsibility of these persons to retain a copy of the certificate of exemption.
(d) Importers who receive a certificate of exemption shall be eligible for reimbursement of assessments collected by Customs. These importers shall apply to the Board for reimbursement of any assessments paid. No interest will be paid on the assessments collected by Customs. Requests for reimbursement shall be submitted to the Board within 90 days of the last day of the calendar year the sorghum was actually imported.
(e) Any person who desires an exemption from assessments for a subsequent calendar year shall reapply to the Board, on a form provided by the Board, for a certificate of exemption.
(f) The Board may require persons receiving an exemption from assessments to provide to the Board reports on the disposition of exempt sorghum and, in the case of importers, proof of payment of assessments.
(g) A producer or importer who operates under an approved National Organic Program (7 CFR part 205) (NOP) organic production or handling system plan may be exempt from the payment of assessments under this part, provided that:
(1) Only agricultural products certified as “organic” or “100 percent organic” (as defined in the NOP), or certified as “organic” or “100 percent organic” under a U.S. equivalency arrangement established under the NOP, are eligible for exemption;
(2) The exemption shall apply to all certified “organic” or “100 percent organic” (as defined in the NOP) products of a producer or importer regardless of whether the agricultural commodity subject to the exemption is produced or imported by a person that also produces or imports conventional or nonorganic agricultural products of the same agricultural commodity as that for which the exemption is claimed;
(3) The producer or importer maintains a valid certificate of organic operation as issued under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 6501-6522) (OFPA) and the NOP regulations issued under OFPA (7 CFR part 205); and
(4) Any producer or importer so exempted shall continue to be obligated to pay assessments under this part that are associated with any agricultural products that do not qualify for an exemption under this section.
(h) To apply for an exemption under this section, the applicant shall submit a request to the Board on an Organic Exemption Request Form (Form AMS-15) at any time during the year initially, and annually thereafter on or before January 1, for as long as the producer or importer continues to be eligible for the exemption.
(i) A producer or importer request for exemption shall include the following:
(1) The applicant's full name, company name, address, telephone and fax numbers, and email address;
(2) Certification that the applicant maintains a valid certificate of organic operation issued under the OFPA and the NOP;
(3) Certification that the applicant produces or imports organic products eligible to be labeled “organic” or “100 percent organic” under the NOP;
(4) A requirement that the applicant attach a copy of their certificate of organic operation issued by a USDA-accredited certifying agent under the OFPA and the NOP;
(5) Certification, as evidenced by signature and date, that all information provided by the applicant is true; and
(6) Such other information as may be required by the Board, with the approval of the Secretary.
(j) If the applicant complies with the requirements of this section, the Board will grant an assessment exemption and issue a Certificate of Exemption to the producer or importer within 30 days. If the application is disapproved, the Board will notify the applicant of the reason(s) for disapproval within the same timeframe.
(k) The producer or importer shall provide a copy of the Certificate of Exemption to each first handler. The first handler shall maintain records showing the name and address of the exempt producer or importer and the exemption number assigned by the Board.
(l) The exemption will apply at the first reporting period following the issuance of the exemption.[73 FR 25407, May 6, 2008, as amended at 80 FR 82032, Dec. 31, 2015]