Thursday, July 19, 2018

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—July 19, 2018


Written by:
Sara Jenkins—Research Assistant
M. Sean High—Staff Attorney
                 
The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture:

WOTUS: EPA and Army Seek Additional Comment Regarding Repeal of WOTUS Rule
On July 12, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) published notice in the Federal Register seeking additional comment on the agencies proposal to repeal the 2015 rule defining Waters of the United States (WOTUS) (83 FR 32227).  On July 27, 2017, EPA and the Army announced a proposal to permanently repeal the 2015 WOTUS rule (82 FR 34899).  Subsequently, the agencies accepted comments on the proposed repeal from July 27, 2017, through September 27, 2017.  During that time, the agencies received more than 685,000 comments from interested parties.  Because of this large response, EPA and the Army determined that it would be in the public interest to provide an additional opportunity for comment.  Accordingly, the agencies will accept comments until August 13, 2018.  Nevertheless, EPA and the Army stated, that “regardless of the timing or ultimate outcome of [the] additional rulemaking, the agencies are proposing a permanent repeal of the 2015 Rule at this stage.”

Food Labeling: FDA Intends to Limit the Labeling of “Milk” to Dairy Products
On July 17, 2018, Politico reported that U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s intends to enforce regulations recognizing the term “milk” as a dairy product, instead of a plant-based product.  The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) previously sent comments to the FDA calling for enforcement action to be taken.  The NMPF was encouraged by Gottlieb’s comments, stating that several non-dairy products were misleading to consumers because they did not contain the same nutritional value as dairy products.  The NMPF is hopeful that the FDA will begin enforcing federal labeling standards soon, holding food marketers accountable for the terms used on non-dairy products.

Agricultural Labor: USDA Releases Guidance on Changes to Housing for Seasonal Farm Workers
On July 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released guidance on changes to the Housing Act of 1949 which now permits H-2A employers to gain access to Section 514 Farm Labor Housing loans (Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018).  Secretary Perdue expressed his support for the change, stating that Congress’ decision created a much-needed housing solution for temporary farm workers.  The pre-application for Section 514 FLH loans is available now, and must be submitted by August 27, 2018.

Water Quality: Ohio Gov. Signs Executive Order to Reduce Agricultural Runoff into Lake Erie
On July 11, 2018, Cleveland.com reported that Ohio Governor, John Kasich, signed an executive order allowing the Department of Agriculture to more closely regulate farming activities affecting Lake Erie water quality.  The order allows the Department of Agriculture to set certain requirements and nutrient management plans for farmers.  For a more detailed analysis of Governor Kasich’s action see Peggy Kirk Hall’s article “Agricultural nutrients targeted in Clean Lake 2020 bill and Kasich Executive Orders” appearing in the Ohio Agricultural Law Blog on July 12, 2018. 

Animal Welfare: California Voters Advance Animal Welfare Initiative for November Ballot
According to Feedstuffs, the Prevent Cruelty California (Prop 12) campaign received more than 660,000 signatures, moving it to California’s November ballot. Prop 12 would require that pork, eggs, and veal sold in the state meet certain standards including cage-free requirements and ensuring the animals were not confined in a cruel manner.  The ballot measure would require a minimum of 144 sq. in. of floor space for each egg-laying hen, 24 sq. ft. for each breeding pig, and 43 sq. ft. for each veal calf.  If passed, farms would have until the end of 2019 to comply with the calf requirements, and until the end of 2021 to comply with pig and hen requirements.

FSMA: FDA Expands Funding to $32.5 Million for States Implementing Produce Safety Rule
On July 12, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced $32.5 million in funding supporting state efforts to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule.  The rule sets standards for safe growing, harvesting, and transporting of fruits and vegetables.  Currently, 46 states have signed cooperative agreements with the FDA, establishing outreach, education, and inspection programs to help implement the rule.  Participating states may use the funds for determining resource and infrastructure needs, conducting trainings, and recruiting personnel among other things.

Food Policy: Major Food Companies Create New Alliance to Improve Public Policy in the Food Industry
On July 12, 2018, four major food companies (Danone North America; Mars, Incorporated; NestlĂ© USA; and Unilever United States) announced the creation of the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance.  The Alliance encourages member companies to do more in advancing solutions to issues in the food industry.  For example, the Alliance advocates for public policy in five particular areas: consumer transparency, environment, food safety, nutrition, and communities. The four member companies are currently focusing on nutrition labeling, supporting a clearer definition of general terms like “healthy.” The Alliance encourages open dialogue on problems facing the U.S. food system, and seeks to impact positive change.

Agribusiness: Man Steals More Than $3 Million in Grain from Ohio Farmers
On July 9, 2018, Farm and Dairy reported that Richard J. Schwan, operator of Schwan Grain Inc., plead guilty to several theft charges totaling over $3 million in grain from thirty-five farmers.  Schwan was hired by the victims to transport and sell their grain.  Schwan filed several reports with the Ohio department of Agriculture falsifying information regarding sales of grain and deliberately withheld profits from the farmers who hired him.  Schwan was ordered to pay $3,222,209.70 in restitution and will be sentenced on August 23rd.

From National Ag Law Experts:
What do Produce Suppliers Give Up When They Waive Their PACA Trust Rights?, Nicole Cook, Maryland Risk Management Education Blog, July 17, 2018

Provisions to Watch During Farm Bill Debate, Kristine Tidgren, Iowa State University, The Ag Docket, July 10, 2018

Pennsylvania Legislation:
Agriculture and Rural Affairs (S)
HB 1518 legislation to require the appointment of two alternate farmer members to the Agricultural Lands Condemnation Approval Board (referred to committee July 6, 2018)

SB 823 legislation amending Clean and Green eligibility regarding leases and agriculture related enterprises (referred to committee June 29, 2018)

Agriculture and Rural Affairs (H)
HB 2518 legislation amending the Agriculture Code regarding mobile food vendors (referred to committee June 19, 2018)

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
Department of Conservation and Natural ResourcesConservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council meeting

Penn State Research:

AgLaw HotLinks:
AFBF President Asking for Trade Resolutions – Brownfield Ag News   
Why consumers fear GMO foods – Delta Farm Press

Stay Informed:
Listen to our weekly Agricultural Law Podcast
Read our monthly Agricultural Law Brief newsletter     
Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive daily AgLaw HotLinks
Connect with us on Facebook to view our weekly CASL Ledger detailing Center publications and activities
Visit The Ag & Food Law Blog for a comprehensive summary of daily judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Agricultural Law Weekly Review - July 12, 2018


Written by:
Jackie Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator

The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture.

Antitrust: Supermarket Chains File Antitrust Complaint Against Chicken Producers
On June 29, 2018, The Kroger Co., and other supermarket chains filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging illegal trade restraint practices in the chicken industry (The Kroger Co., et al. v. Tyson Foods Inc. et al., 1:18-cv-04534). The complaint was brought against Tyson Foods, Inc. and several other U.S. chicken producers. The plaintiffs allege that U.S. chicken producers violated federal antitrust laws by restraining trade to increase the price of chickens sold in the U.S. from 2008 to 2016. According to the plaintiffs, the chicken producers reduced the supply of broiler chickens and then manipulated wholesale chicken price indices.

Antitrust: Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against U.S. Pork Producers
On June 28, 2018, consumers filed a class action complaint against U.S. pork producers and Agri Stats, Inc. (Duryea, et al., v. Agri Stats., et al., 0:18-cv-01776) Agri Stats is a company that provides accounting and data information to customers in the poultry, egg, and swine industries. The complaint alleges that the pork producers and Agri Stats conspired to fix U.S. pork prices. According to the plaintiffs, the pork producers coordinated pork output and limited production to increase pork prices. The plaintiffs argue that through Agri Stats, the pork producers exchanged competitively sensitive non-public information regarding prices, capacity, sales volume, and demand. One of the pork producers, Hormel Foods, has released a statement arguing that the allegations are “completely without merit.”

Biosecurity: Kansas Adopts Cattle Disease Traceability Program
On June 30, 2018, Kansas announced the Cattle Trace pilot project. Cattle Trace is a public-private partnership which was created to manage cattle disease and provide critical tools in the event of an outbreak. Cattle Trace will be able to show where diseased or at-risk animals have been and when, in order for a fast and efficient response. The program will allow Kansas to test the limits of the traceability system and determine if it is capable of informing and guiding development on a national level. The Cattle Trace system was created following a vote of the Kansas Livestock Association.

Food Labeling: Comment Period Closes for Proposed Bioengineered Food Labeling Rule
On July 3, 2018, the comment period closed for the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) proposed rule, National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The proposed rule would require food manufacturers to disclose information about bioengineered food and ingredient content on any foods sold in retail. According to AMS, food manufacturers are not required to disclose information about the health, safety, or environmental attributes of bioengineered food versus non-bioengineered food. The proposed rule suggests several options for disclosure including written statements, three alternative symbols, and electronic/digital link. The Secretary of Agriculture was directed by Congress to create a national bioengineered disclosure standard by July 29, 2018, through the enactment of Public Law 114-216 (7 U.S.C. 1621).

Animal Welfare: National Chicken Council Certifies Animal Welfare Guidelines for Broiler Chickens
On July 10, 2018, the National Chicken Council announced that their animal welfare guidelines have been certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization. The guidelines specifically apply to broiler and broiler breeder chickens and focus on bird behavior, recordkeeping, corrective action requirements, increased oversight, time requirements for euthanasia, and catching requirements. The guidelines require that the “birds must have enough space to express normal behaviors such as dust bathing, preening, eating, drinking, etc.” The guidelines also limit the number of birds permitted in a chicken house based on the size of the barn, equipment, and target weight of the birds.

International Trade: FAO Reports Decline in Overall Food Price Index for June
On July 5, 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released their monthly FAO Food Price Index (FFPI). The FFPI is a measure of the change in international prices, weighted with the average export shares. The FFPI includes five commodity groups, including cereal, vegetable, dairy, meat, and sugar. For June 2018, the overall FFPI decreased by 1.3 percent. According to FAO, price index decreases can be attributed to “rising tensions in international trade relations.” Cereal, vegetable, and dairy price indexes decreased by 3.7%, 3%, and 0.9%, respectively. The FAO meat price index increased by 0.3% and the sugar price index increased by 1.2%. The sugar price index increase is likely due to the high use of sugarcane for ethanol production in Brazil, according to FAO.

From National Ag Law Experts:
Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, QR Codes and GMOs: The Proposed Food Labeling Rule (July 10, 2018)
Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, NM Land Commissioner Sues NM State Engineer Over Water Permits, Texas Agriculture Law (July 9, 2018)

Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive ShaleLaw HotLinks

Stay Informed:
Listen to our weekly Agricultural Law Podcast
Read our monthly Agricultural Law Brief newsletter     
Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive daily AgLaw HotLinks
Connect with us on Facebook to view our weekly CASL Ledger detailing Center publications and activities
Visit The Ag & Food Law Blog for a comprehensive summary of daily judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Agricultural Law Weekly Review - July 5, 2018


Written by:
Jackie Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator

The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture.

Farm Bill: U.S. Senate Agrees to Latest Amendments in 2018 Farm Bill
On June 28, 2018, the U.S. Senate voted to pass its latest version of the 2018 Farm Bill with a vote of 86 to 11. Earlier, on June 21, 2018, the House of Representatives passed H.R.2, and the latest Senate action substantially amended H.R.2, including changing the name of the bill from the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.  Before the bill can go to a final vote, Congress must go conference to resolve legislative differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The 2018 Farm Bill provides updates and changes to Department of Agriculture programs including those in conservation, nutrition assistance, farm credit, rural development, crop insurance, and more.

Biofuels: EPA Releases Proposed Volume Requirements for Renewable Fuels
On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released proposed volume requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program. The EPA sets renewable fuel percentage standards each year for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel as applied to gasoline and diesel transportation fuel. Part of the proposed volume requirements would increase the 2019 renewable fuel blending mandate to 19.88 billion gallons, an increase of 3 percent from 2018. EPA also plans to increase advanced biofuel requirements to 4.88 billion gallons and cellulosic biofuel to 381 million gallons. EPA will hold a public hearing for the proposed rule on July 18th and will accept public comment until August 17, 2018.

Right to Farm Laws: North Carolina Legislature Overrides Governor Veto to Approve Changes to Right to Farm Law
On June 27, 2018, the North Carolina House voted to override the governor’s veto of SB 711 which, now passed, will provide protections to farmers against nuisance lawsuits. The governor vetoed the bill on June 25th and the Senate voted to override the veto on June 26th. SB 711 adds language to the North Carolina Farm Act of 2018 to shield farmers who are operating in good faith from nuisance lawsuits that are filed after the operation has been established. The changes to the law include a requirement that counties must have land records that provide notice where a tract of land is located within half a mile from a poultry, swine, or dairy operation. The law prohibits any nuisance action from being filed against an agricultural operation unless the plaintiff’s property is directly affected, the affected property is within a one-half mile of the operation, AND the action is filed within one year of the establishment of the operation or within one year of the operation undergoing a fundamental change.

Antimicrobial Use: FDA Releases Guidance on Antimicrobial Animal Drug Sale Rule
On June 28, 2018, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released a new guidance document regarding antimicrobial animal drug sales for small business entities. The guidance document, Antimicrobial Animal Drug Sales and Distribution Reporting Small Entity Compliance Guide, is intended to help small businesses understand and comply with “reporting regulations for antimicrobial animal drug sales and distribution information.” The guidance document was prepared following the 2016 publication of the final rule, Antimicrobial Animal Drug Sales and Distribution. The rule requires that sponsors of approved antimicrobial animal drug products must submit an annual report on the amount that is sold or distributed for use.

Right to Farm Laws: Court Awards $25 Million in Second Nuisance Lawsuit Against Hog Operation
On June 29, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina awarded $25 million to plaintiffs in a nuisance lawsuit filed against Smithfield Foods, according to NewsObserver (McGowan v. Murphy-Brown, LLC, No. 7:14-CV-182-BR). The plaintiffs are neighboring landowners who complained of flies, stench, rumbling trucks and other problems associated with living next to a hog farm. This is the second in a series of recent lawsuits filed against Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. In April, a jury awarded $50 million in damages to ten neighbors of another Smithfield hog operation (McKiver et al v. Murphy-Brown, LLC, 7:2014cv00180). The damages award in the first case has since been reduced to $3.25 million due to North Carolina’s statutory cap on punitive damages.

From National Ag Law Experts:
Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, Uprooted Episode 38: Chatting with the IATP Board (June 27, 2018)
Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, James v. Young: Are Landowners Liable for Horse Riding Injury to Child?, Texas Agriculture Law (July 2, 2018)

Pennsylvania Notices
Environmental Quality Board Meeting Cancellation, the Board meeting for July 17th is cancelled; the next regular meeting will be August 21, 2018 (June 30, 2018)

Pennsylvania Legislation
HB 2121 Commonwealth Budget 2018-2019 (signed by Governor, June 22, 2018)

Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive ShaleLaw HotLinks

Stay Informed:
Listen to our weekly Agricultural Law Podcast
Read our monthly Agricultural Law Brief newsletter     
Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive daily AgLaw HotLinks
Connect with us on Facebook to view our weekly CASL Ledger detailing Center publications and activities
Visit The Ag & Food Law Blog for a comprehensive summary of daily judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Agricultural Law Weekly Review - June 28, 2018

Written by:
Jackie Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator

The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture.

Farm Bill: U.S. House Passes 2018 Farm Bill
On June 21, 2018,  by a vote of 213 to 211, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, better known as the 2018 Farm Bill, was passed by the U.S. House. The bill has been now been received for consideration by the Senate. Earlier, on June 13, 2018, the Senate Agriculture Committee reported the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, its version of the Farm Bill, out of committee. The Farm Bill reauthorizes and modifies many Department of Agriculture programs including those in conservation, nutrition assistance, farm credit, rural development, crop insurance, and more.

Farmland Preservation: Pennsylvania Governor Signs Bill Limiting the Use of Eminent Domain on Conserved Land
On June 24, 2018, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed HB 2468, a bill providing for changes to Pennsylvania’s eminent domain laws. Specifically, the legislation limits government agencies from using eminent domain on land that is subject to a conservation easement. Government agencies wishing to use eminent domain on this land would be required to obtain Orphans’ Court approval before they could acquire permanently preserved land.  

Water Quality: EPA Announces Expectations for Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans
On June 20, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced their expectations for the Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans. EPA sent letters to state agencies within the Chesapeake Bay basin outlining what goals and practices are expected to be in place by 2025 to achieve sediment and nutrient reduction goals. EPA expectations include developing comprehensive local engagement strategies, building necessary programs, obtaining funding capacity, incorporating new science and information, and optimizing choices of pollution reduction practices. This most recent EPA announcement is a further implementation of the a plan that began in 2010 when EPA established the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL). To meet water quality standards, the Bay TMDL establishes pollution reductions necessary to address pollution from nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment.

Food Labeling: FDA to Reconsider Guidance on Labeling of Added Sugars for Maple Syrup and Honey
On June 19, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will reconsider and offer revisions on draft guidance regarding the labeling of added sugars, specifically maple syrup and honey. The draft guidance, The Declaration of Added Sugars on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Certain Cranberry Products; Draft Guidance for Industry; Availability, was issued in early March and received over 3,000 comments. The draft guidance advised manufacturers to categorize maple syrup and honey as “added sugars” on the nutrition label. Under this guidance, manufacturers could use a “” to lead the reader to a statement with additional information. In its press release, FDA stated that the “the approach laid out in the draft guidance does not provide the clarity that the FDA intended.”

WOTUS: EPA and Army Announce New Proposal for WOTUS
On June 15, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a press release with the U.S. Department of the Army (Army) that they will be sending a new proposal regarding the definition of “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, to the Office of Management and Budget for review. The  proposed “Step 2” redefines WOTUS to comply with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order. Once the interagency review has been completed, the proposed rule will be issued for public comment.

Food Safety: FDA Releases Draft Guidance on Strategies to Protect Against Food Adulteration
On June 20, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the release of draft guidance for the FDA regulation, Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration. The purpose of the guidance document is to help food facilities that “manufacture, process, pack, or hold food…” to comply with current regulations. The guidance includes chapters on how to develop a Food Defense Plan, vulnerability assessments, strategies for actionable process steps, and food defense monitoring. Comments on the draft guidance will be accepted until December 17, 2018.

Antitrust: Court Says Egg Producers Did Not Violate Antitrust Laws
On June 14, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued a verdict in favor of egg producers in an antitrust lawsuit. (In re Processed Egg Prods. Antitrust Litig., E.D. Pa., No. 08-md-2002). According to Bloomberg, the jury found that while the producers did conspire, their actions did not unreasonably restrict trade and, therefore, they are not liable for antitrust violations. The lawsuit was brought by Kraft Foods Global, Inc., Kellogg Company, General Mills, Inc., and Nestlé USA, Inc. against United Egg Producers, Inc. The plaintiffs had accused the egg producers of conspiring to reduce the supply of eggs and increase the market price for egg products.

Animal Welfare: Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animal Initiative to be Added to California Ballot
On June 22, 2018, the California Secretary of State announced the eligibility of a farm animal confinement initiative to be added to the November 6, 2018, ballot. The initiative, Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, aims to phase out “extreme methods” of farm animal confinement to decrease the risk of foodborne illness. The initiative establishes minimum space requirements for veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens. To qualify for the ballot, the initiative acquired over 402,468 valid petition signatures.

Dairy Policy: USDA Report Shows Increase in Dairy Herd Size and Milk Production
On June 19, 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service published the Milk Production report for May 2018 which showed an increase in milk production and herd size. According to the report, the 23 major producing states produced 17.9 billion pounds of milk during May 2018, which was an increase of 0.9 percent from May 2017. Milk production per cow averaged 2,052 pounds for May, the highest production rate for the month of May since these reports began in 2003.  For all states, milk production increased by 0.8 percent from May 2017, and production per cow averaged 2,031 pounds.

National Agricultural Policy: Committee Report Examines Rural Economy
On June 20, 2018, the Joint Economic Committee released a report that examines the current state of the rural economy. According to the report, there are 46 million rural residents in the United States accounting for 14 percent of the total population. On average, rural families earn 25% less than those in urban areas but enjoy a higher rate of homeownership. To improve economic growth in rural communities, the report provides proposals in finance, education, infrastructure, housing, health care, and agriculture. The report is entitled, Investing in Rural America, Brining Progress and Economic Opportunity to Rural Communities.

Water Quality: United Nations Organization Releases Report on Water Pollution from Agriculture
On June 20, 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations released a report on the impact of water from agricultural activities on the environment. The report is a compilation of data representing water pollution from rural and agricultural sectors, including crops, livestock and aquaculture. Specifically, the report analyzes agricultural irrigation, nitrogen fertilizers, chemical pesticides, oxygen depletion, and salinization. The report also examines the impacts of this pollution on human health, water sources, and the environment. The report is entitled, More People, More Food, Worse Water? A Global Review of Water Pollution from Agriculture.

From National Ag Law Experts:
Weekly Roundup, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Texas Agricultural Law Blog, June 21, 2018
Intentional Adulteration Mitigation Strategies - Initial Draft Guidance, Michael J. O’Flaherty, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC, June 25, 2018

Pennsylvania Legislation
Agriculture and Rural Affairs (H)
SB 819: bill to ensure that agritourism activities are treated as part of agriculture authorized on farms preserved under the state farmland preservation program (passed by the Senate June 18, 2018) (referred to the House June 20, 2018)

Agriculture and Rural Affairs
SB 1171: provides for the creation of a new Farm Animal Advisory Board to give farmers more input into environmental regulations (passed in the House June 20, 2018)

Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive ShaleLaw HotLinks
"Weeds Are Winning in the War against Herbicide Resistance" - Scientific America
"Protecting the U.S. food supply from attack" - Morning Ag Clips
"U.S. studies EU’s tactics for African swine fever defense" - National Hog Farmer
“Trade Groups Ask Congress to Step in Regarding Trade” - Brownfield
"Does agriculture need reset key on herbicides?" - Farmpress
"Virulent Newcastle Disease means backyard chicken craze needs to clean up its act" – Food Safety News
"Milk alternatives hastening change in dairy industry"  - Feedstuffs
"EU Tariffs on U.S. Ag Goods Making Waves" - Brownfield
"Groups weigh in on House farm bill vote" - FarmPress
"A trade war with China could hit these communities hardest" - Washington Post

Stay Informed:
Listen to our weekly Agricultural Law Podcast
Read our monthly Agricultural Law Brief newsletter  
Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive daily AgLaw HotLinks
Connect with us on Facebook to view our weekly CASL Ledger detailing Center publications and activities
Visit The Ag & Food Law Blog for a comprehensive summary of daily judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Agricultural Law Weekly Review - June 21, 2018

Written by:
Jackie Schweichler – Education Programs Coordinator

The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture.

Dairy Policy: Dairy Margin Protection Program Application Deadline is Extended
On June 13, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the re-enrollment deadline for the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) will be extended until June 22, 2018. The deadline has been extended to give producers more time to consider the MPP and the new provisions made under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The purpose of the MPP is to protect participating dairy producers when the margin between the price of milk and feed costs falls below certain levels. For more information on this program, see the FSA webpage.

Pesticides: California Court Denies Bid to Change Preliminary Injunction for Glyphosate Warning Label
On June 12, 2018, the U.S. District Court for Eastern California denied a motion to alter a preliminary injunction against the application of Proposition 65 (Prop 65) for glyphosate (National Association of Wheat Growers, et al. v. California, CIV. NO. 2:17-2401 WBS EFB).  Proposition 65 requires warning labels for any chemicals known by the state of California to cause cancer, and glyphosate is now on the Prop 65 list. This lawsuit was brought against California by several producers who argue that there is limited, if any, evidence that glyphosate causes cancer. On February 26, 2018, the District Court issued a preliminary injunction against the state so that producers would not need to comply with Proposition 65 for the time being. In the most recent court order, the court determined that the injunction would stand because the state was unable to present new evidence, and there was no clear error by the court in the issuance of the prior order.

Farm Bill: Senate Agriculture Committee Passes 2018 Farm Bill
On June 13, 2018, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee voted on and passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly known as the farm bill. The bill passed by a vote of 20 to 1 and will now go to the full U.S. Senate for consideration. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the new legislation will promote crop insurance, support conservation programs, encourage farming, improve market competitiveness, support nutrition assistance, protect the integrity of organic certified products, improve biosecurity, protect public health, encourage food safety programs, and more.

Invasive Species: APHIS Announces Quarantine in New York for European Cherry Fruit Fly
On June 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a quarantine for the European cherry fruit fly in areas of New York state. The fly attacks ripening fruit, generally sweet cherries, which causes the fruit to rot. European cherry fly infestation can cause 100 percent destruction of the host plant. APHIS has published pest response guidelines for the fly. Control methods include foliar bait spray treatments, soil drenching, and removal of all fruit. The area in quarantine consists of 92 square miles of Niagara County. Residents have been asked to consume homegrown cherries on site and not move the fruit from their property.

Food Safety: FDA Issues Draft Guidance for PC Animal Food Rule
On June 14, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued draft guidance to help facilities needing a supply-chain program meet the requirements under the rule, Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals rule (PC Animal Food rule). The rule adds requirements for specific domestic and foreign animal food facilities to establish hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for food for animals. The purpose of the rule is to ensure animal food safety to avoid illness for both humans and animals. The draft guidance is intended to help producers determine whether they need a supply-chain program, identify and implement the required approval process, establish frequency of supplier verification activities, meet documentation requirements, and provide general clarification.

Food Safety: FDA to Hold Public Meeting on Cultured Food Products
On June 15, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a public meeting set for July 12th to discuss food innovation and “cultured” food products. Cultured food products can be made from cells collected from animals and are intended to resemble conventional meat, poultry, and seafood. FDA states that they are evaluating and working to establish safety guidelines and hope to foster dialogue regarding various areas of regulation, including labeling.  The meeting, entitled “Food Produced Using Animal Cell Culture Technology” will take place at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, MD.

Food Policy: FDA Issues Guidance on Eight Additional Dietary Fibers
On June 14, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance and a supporting science review for eight non-digestible carbohydrates (NDCs) which FDA intends to include under the definition of dietary fiber. The NDCs include “mixed plant cell wall fibers; arabinoxylan; alginate; inulin and inulin-type fructans; high amylose starch (resistant starch 2); galactooligosaccharide; polydextrose; and resistant maltodextrin/dextrin.” The FDA intends to exercise enforcement discretion if any of these eight NDCs are used on food labels prior to the completion of FDA’s rulemaking.  The guidance can be found on the FDA website, and is entitled,  The Declaration of Certain Isolated or Synthetic Non-Digestible Carbohydrates as Dietary Fiber on Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels: Guidance for Industry.  

From National Ag Law Experts:
Does Grazing Cattle for Years Allow Claim of Adverse Possession?, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Texas Agricultural Law Blog, June 18, 2018
Ag Groups File Amicus Brief in WOTUS, Amie Alexander, William H. Bowen School of Law, June 18, 2018

Pennsylvania Notices
Agricultural Advisory Board Meeting Cancellation, the board meeting scheduled for June 28, 2018 has been cancelled; next meeting scheduled for August 16, 2018.

Pennsylvania Legislation
Agriculture and Rural Affairs (H)
SB 2497: An Act providing for amendments to the agricultural land conservation assistance grant program (referred on June 18, 2018)

Local Government (S)
HB 2468: An Act amending Title 26, providing further definitions on limitations for eminent domain of land subject to conservation easement. (first considered June 20, 2018)


Stay Informed: 
  • Listen to our weekly Agricultural Law Podcast 
  • Read our monthly Agricultural Law Brief newsletter      
  • Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive daily AgLaw HotLinks 
  • Connect with us on Facebook to view our weekly CASL Ledger detailing Center publications and activities 
  • Visit The Ag & Food Law Blog for a comprehensive summary of daily judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food