Thursday, June 20, 2019

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—June 20, 2019


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

Air Quality: EPA Issues Final Rule Exempting Animal Waste Air Emissions from EPCRA Reporting
On June 13, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published notice in the Federal Register of a final rule amending the reporting regulations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) (84 FR 27533).  Under the final rule, air emissions from animal waste at farms is specifically exempted from EPCRA reporting requirements.  Additionally, EPA stated that the final rule adds definitions to the terms “animal waste” and “farm” to the EPCRA regulations so as “to delineate the scope of this reporting exemption.”  The final rule will become effective July 15, 2019.

International Trade: EU to Increase Importation of U.S. Hormone-Free Beef
On June 14, 2019, the European Commission announced an agreement had been reached to increase the importation of U.S. hormone-free beef into the European Union (EU).  Enacted in 2009, and revised in 2014, the EU had placed a 45,000 tonne (metric ton) quota on the importation of non-hormone treated beef into the EU for all qualified suppliers—which included the U.S.  Subsequently, the U.S. filed a dispute with the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Under the terms of the announced agreement, which settles the filed WTO dispute, the U.S. will be allocated 35,000 tonnes of the 45,000 tonne quota.  The new allotment will be phased in over a seven-year period.

Industrial Hemp/Cannabis: Tennessee Department of Agriculture Announces Hemp Rule Changes
On June 3, 2019, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) announced new rule changes for Tennessee’s hemp program, enacted in 2014 through Public Chapter No. 916.  According to Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M., the revisions were devised in response to changes in “the hemp industry and federal laws,” referring to the removal of hemp from the list of federally controlled substances.  In accordance with Tennessee’s new rules,
  • Hemp processors are no longer required to register through TDA.
  • The hemp program will no longer issue licenses for certified seed breeders. Anyone manufacturing, distributing, or labeling seed should, however, be licensed through TDA’s Ag Inputs section.
  • Growers will still need movement permits when transporting rooted plants and are now required to be permitted when moving harvested hemp from their growing site.

Dairy Policy: U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Dairy Margin Coverage Enrollment
On June 14, 2019, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced enrollment for the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program beginning June 17.  According to the announcement, the “new program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.”  The DMC program was authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill to replace the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP).  The new program expands the offerings of coverage levels along with the covered percentage of production history.  Dairy producers who previously purchased coverage through the former MPP program may elect to receive 50% of their repayment amount as a cash refund, or use 75% of the amount as a credit toward premiums in the new DMC program.  The enrollment period ends September 20.  (For further reading: see “The Key Differences between the Margin Protection Program and Dairy Margin Coverage”, by Emily Wilmes, University of Minnesota Extension).

Organic Agriculture: USDA Clarifies Certification of Organic Container Systems
On June 3, 2019, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a memo clarifying eligibility and compliance requirements regarding the organic certification of container systems.  According to USDA, container systems can include hydroponic and pot-based systems regardless of whether soil is the growing media.  Such container systems may be certified under the National Organic Program if they comply with the Organic Foods Production Act and the USDA organic regulations.  Under current regulations, “any field or farm parcel from which harvested crops are intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as ‘organic,’ must…. have had no prohibited substances…applied to it for a period of 3 years immediately preceding harvest of the crop” (7 CFR 205.202).  According to USDA, the “memo clarifies that the legal requirements related to the three-year transition period apply to all container systems built and maintained on land.” Accordingly, no prohibited substance may be applied in the system or on the ground underneath the system.

Food Policy: USDA Reopens Comment Period on Proposed SNAP Rule
On June 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published notice in the Federal Register that the agency is reopening the comment period regarding proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) regulations (84 FR 27743).  Previously, on April 5, 2019, FNS proposed changes regarding the eligibility of certain SNAP retail food stores with a comment period that closed on June 14, 2019 (84 FR 13555).  According to the agency, two supporting documents to the proposed rule—the Regulatory Impact Analysis and the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis—were inadvertently excluded from publication.  As a result, the two publications have been added to the docket for the proposed rule and the comment period has been reopened until June 20, 2019.

From National Ag Law Experts:
“Indiana Court of Appeals Upholds Constitutionality of Right to Farm Act”, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Texas Agriculture Law Blog – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension (June 10, 2019)
“2019 Brings Potential Changes to Hemp Production in Maryland”, Paul Goeringer, Maryland Risk Management Education Blog (June 11, 2019)
   
Federal Actions and Notices:
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Farm Service Agency

Food and Nutrition Service

Forest Service

Pennsylvania Legislation:
HR 222: Resolution urging U.S. Congress and U.S. FDA to enforce standard regarding term “milk” (Reported to House, June 18, 2019)
HR 402: Resolution to recognize vale of whole milk and support the serving of whole milk at schools (Reported to House, June 18, 2019)
HB 374: Legislation to create the Keystone Tree Fund (Referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, June 14, 2019)

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
Department of Agriculture

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:

Penn State Research:

AgLaw 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 13, 2019

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—June 13, 2019


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

Invasive Species: Virginia Issues Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine
On May 28, 2019, The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced an immediate Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine for Frederick County and the city of Winchester.  Under the quarantine, businesses must obtain a permit from VDAS and conduct an inspection of any articles at risk prior to moving those articles out of the quarantined area.  Articles considered “at risk” include: “plants, lumber, firewood, industrial or construction materials and equipment, stone, shipping containers (for example, wood crates or boxes), outdoor household articles (examples: grills, mowers and outdoor furniture), recreational vehicles and any means of conveyance.” VDACS stated that in January 2018, the spotted lanternfly was initially discovered in Virginia in the city of Winchester.  At the time, the invasive species had not been found in the United States outside of Pennsylvania.  Subsequently, the spotted lanternfly has been detected in New Jersey and Delaware.

Rural Policy: Disaster Relief Act Apportions $4.5 Billion to Agriculture
On June 6, 2019, President Donald Trump signed into law the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019 (H.R. 2157).  The White House stated that the legislation allocates $19.1 billion through multiple federal departments to assist Americans affected by the numerous natural disasters that occurred in the U.S. over the past three years.  Under the Act, $4.5 billion is granted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for “agricultural-related losses, emergency timber restoration, farmland repair, and watershed recovery.” According to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, the agency “look[s] forward to implementing this disaster aid package in a fair way and working with state leadership to identify where the true losses and needs are to best serve our fellow Americans in need of a helping hand.”

Industrial Hemp / Cannabis: Federal Court Rules Against Indian Tribe’s Attempt to Grow Hemp
On June 6, 2019, a U.S. District Court in South Dakota denied the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe’s (Tribe) motion to prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from interfering with the Tribe’s production of hemp (Santee Sioux Tribe v UDSA, Case 4:19-cv-04094).  On February 27, 2019, USDA announced that it was gathering information to promulgate rules and regulations relating to hemp production under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018—also known as the 2018 Farm Bill.  On March 8, 2019, the Tribe submitted a proposal to USDA to grow hemp.  On April 24, 2019, USDA notified the Tribe that it would respond to the Tribe’s proposal 60 days after 2018 Farm Bill hemp production rules and regulations were promulgated.  Subsequently, the Tribe filed a complaint seeking USDA approval of the Tribe’s proposal and a motion for preliminary injunction seeking to allow the Tribe’s hemp production to proceed while the case is pending.  In denying the motion for preliminary injunction, the court held that the Tribe had not met its burden of showing a probability of success regarding the merits of the case.

Biotechnology: President Signs Executive Order to Modernize Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products
On June 11, 2019, President Donald Trump issued the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order.  According to the White House, recent advances in biotechnology offer the potential to raise agricultural productivity, increase nutritional values, and enhance food safety.  To achieve these goals, however, agricultural biotechnology product regulations must: (1) be science-based; (2) allow for timely review; (3) be transparent, predictable, and consistent; (4) allow for fair public notice; (5) be based on risks associated with a product’s end use; and (5) promote trade.  Following the signing, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue stated that “[s]cience-based advances in biotechnology have great promise to enhance rural prosperity and improve the quality of life across America’s heartland and around the globe.” Secretary Perdue further stated that President Trump’s Executive Order “will help America’s farmers do what we aspire to do at USDA: Do Right and Feed Everyone.”

Biotechnology: APHIS Introduces Rule Regarding Movement of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms
On June 6, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published notice in the Federal Register of a proposed rule to revise regulations regarding the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release of certain genetically engineered organisms (84 FR 26514).  APHIS stated that the proposed revisions are in response to scientific advancements in genetic engineering and knowledge regarding plant pest risk.  Accordingly, the new revisions are designed to reduce regulatory burdens regarding organisms that are unlikely to pose plant pest risks.  According to APHIS, the proposed rule is the first comprehensive revision of the regulations since they were established in 1987.

Biotechnology: USDA Confirms Discovery of Genetically Engineered Wheat in Washington State
On June 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the discovery of genetically engineered (GE) wheat growing in an unplanted agricultural field in Washington State.  The suspect wheat is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, otherwise known as Round Up.  According to a joint statement from the U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers, “There is no evidence suggesting that this wheat event, or any other GE wheat event, has entered U.S. commercial supplies or entered the food supply.” The associations further discredited the existence of commercial production or sale of any GE wheat, and refuted the correlation of any health hazards with “glyphosate resistance events in wheat based on [USDA] evaluations.” After previous discoveries of genetically engineered wheat, USDA increased its oversight of the crop, and developers are now required to apply for a permit for field trials involving GE wheat.  Samples of the wheat from Washington have been sent to the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service lab in Kansas City, MO and the USDA Agricultural Research lab in Pullman, WA for further testing.

From National Ag Law Experts:
“Ag Equipment Manufacturers: Falling Behind Electric Car Trends”, Todd Janzen, Janzen Ag Law Blog – Janzen Ag Law (May 13, 2019)
“Tariffs”, John R. Block, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC (June 5, 2019)   
   
Federal Actions and Notices:
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Food and Drug Administration

Food Safety and Inspection Service

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Pennsylvania Legislation:
SB 585: Legislation establishing the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission (Reported to House for consideration, June 11, 2019)
HB 1590: Legislation to create the Dairy Investment Program (Re-committed to House Rules Committee, June 11, 2019)
HB 1514: Legislation to revise and re-establish the existing Healthy Farms Healthy Schools program into the PA Farm-to-School Program (Re-committed to House Rules Committee, June 5, 2019)
HB 1516: Legislation to create the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account (Re-committed to House Rules Committee, June 5, 2019)
HB 1517: Legislation to create the Conservation Excellence Program (Re-committed to House Rules Committee, June 5, 2019)
HB 1518: Legislation to revise and re-establish the former (expired) Agriculture and Rural Youth Development Program (Re-committed to House Rules Committee, June 5, 2019)
HB 1519: Legislation to establish a state-level Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (Re-committed to House Rules Committee, June 5, 2019)
HB 1520: Legislation to create a grant program to incentivize access to meat processing inspections (Re-committed to House Rules Committee, June 5, 2019)
HB 1521: Legislation to amend PA Preferred Program to encourage military veteran participation in the Homegrown by Heroes Program (Re-committed to House Rules Committee, June 5, 2019)
HB 1523: Legislation to establish the Pennsylvania Agricultural Business Development Center (Re-committed to House Rules Committee, June 5, 2019)
HB 1526: Legislation to revise and re-establish the Agriculture-Linked Investment Program (Re-committed to House Rules Committee, June 5, 2019)

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
Department of Agriculture

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:

Penn State Research:

AgLaw 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 6, 2019

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—June 6, 2019


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

Air Quality: EPA Issues Final Rule Exempting Animal Waste Air Emissions from EPCRA Reporting
On June 4, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the reporting of air emissions from animal waste at farms is not required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).  According to the agency, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has signed a final rule amending the emergency release notification regulations under EPCRA.  EPA stated that this amendment specifically provides a reporting exemption for air emissions from animal waste at farms.  The final rule will be promulgated when it is published in the Federal Register.  For a pre-publication notice of the final rule click here.   

WOTUS: Texas Court Returns 2015 WOTUS Rule to EPA
On May 28, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas remanded the 2015 “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule back to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for further proceedings (Texas v. United States Envtl. Prot. Agency, Case No. 3:15-CV-00162).  In remanding the case, the court noted that the final rule promulgated by EPA “defined ‘adjacent waters’ . . . using distance-based criteria, rather than the ecologic and hydrologic criteria used in the proposed rule” in violation of the notice-and-comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.  Additionally, the court sustained a preliminary injunction previously issued on September 12, 2018 which enjoined the 2015 WOTUS rule in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  For more information on the 2015 WOTUS rule and EPA’s proposed rule to revise the rule’s definition of WOTUS, see the January 9, 2019 Agricultural Law in the Spotlight article entitled: U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Issue Proposed Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”.  

Industrial Hemp / Cannabis: USDA Provides Legal Opinion on Hemp
On May 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of the General Counsel (OGC) issued a memorandum providing a legal opinion regarding the status of hemp following passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill).  Accordingly, the 2018 Farm Bill, authorized the production of hemp and removed hemp and hemp seeds from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) schedule of Controlled Substances.  To help clarify any legal confusion regarding hemp and the 2018 Farm Bill, OGC issued the following legal opinion:
  1. As of the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill on December 20, 2018, hemp has been removed from schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and is no longer a controlled substance.
  2. After USDA publishes regulations implementing the new hemp production provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill, States and Indian tribes may not prohibit the interstate transportation or shipment of hemp lawfully produced under a State or Tribal plan or under a license issued under the USDA plan.
  3. States and Indian tribes also may not prohibit the interstate transportation or shipment of hemp lawfully produced under the 2014 Farm Bill.
  4. A person with a State or Federal felony conviction relating to a controlled substance is subject to a 10-year ineligibility restriction on producing hemp under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946.  An exception applies to a person who was lawfully growing hemp under the 2014 Farm Bill before December 20, 2018, and whose conviction also occurred before that date.

Municipal Regulation: Missouri Governor Signs CAFO Bill
On May 31, 2019, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed legislation addressing concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).  First, the legislation prohibits county commissions and county health center boards from promulgating restrictions on CAFOs that are stricter than state regulations.  Next, the legislation expanded the buffer distance whereby a property owner must receive notice of a farm’s intent to file an application for a CAFO operating permit.  Finally, the legislation established setbacks for all liquified manure from a CAFO that is purchased or received by a third party and is surface-applied.

Antitrust: Walmart Sues Chicken Producers Over Alleged Price Fixing
On May 24, 2019, Walmart Inc. filed a complaint in the U.S. Dist. Court Western Dist. of Arkansas alleging manipulation of chicken prices by multiple chicken producers, including Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Foods, and Sanderson Farms, among several others (Wal-Mart Stores East, Lp Et Al V. Koch Foods, Inc. Et Al, Case No. 5:19cv5100).  Walmart asserted that the companies conspired to increased prices by diminishing breeder flocks and decreasing the amount of broiler chickens in the market.  According to the complaint, one of the named defendants, Fieldale Farms, has already agreed to pay $2.25 million to settle Walmart’s claims.

Biofuels: EPA To Allow Year-Round Sale of E15 Gasoline
On May 31, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) will be permitted during the summer months.  Accordingly, EPA will now apply the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure waiver—currently applied to 10 percent ethanol—to E15 during the summer months.  As a result, E15 will be allowed to be sold year-round instead of only eight months of the year.

From National Ag Law Experts:
“Here comes the sun: understanding important solar lease terms”, Evin Bachelor, Ohio Agricultural Law Blog, Ohio State University Extension (May 29, 2019) 
“What Counts as ‘Hours Worked’ Under the Fair Labor Standards Act?”, Cari Rincker, Rincker Law Blog – Rincker Law PLLC (May 31, 2019)
    
Federal Actions and Notices:
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Food and Drug Administration

Labor Department

Pennsylvania Legislation:
HB 370: Legislation further providing for purchase of agricultural conservation easements (Referred to Senate for consideration, June 4, 2019)
HB 404: Legislation designating “Tree of Heaven” a noxious weed (Referred to Senate for consideration, June 4, 2019)
SB 634: Legislation establishing the Conservation Excellence Grant Program (Referred to Senate for consideration, June 4, 2019)
SB 696: Legislation to modify Pennsylvania’s existing fireworks law (Referred to Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 31, 2019)
HB 1514: Legislation to revise and re-establish the existing Healthy Farms Healthy Schools program into the PA Farm-to-School Program (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 29, 2019)
HB 1516: Legislation to create the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 29, 2019)
HB 1517: Legislation to create the Conservation Excellence Program (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 29, 2019)
HB 1518: Legislation to revise and re-establish the former (expired) Agriculture and Rural Youth Development Program (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 29, 2019)
HB 1519: Legislation to establish a state-level Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 29, 2019)
HB 1520: Legislation to create a grant program to incentivize access to meat processing inspections (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 29, 2019)
HB 1521: Legislation to amend PA Preferred Program to encourage military veteran participation in the Homegrown by Heroes Program (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 29, 2019)
HB 1523: Legislation to establish the Pennsylvania Agricultural Business Development Center (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 29, 2019)
HB 1526: Legislation to revise and re-establish the Agriculture-Linked Investment Program (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 29, 2019)

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
Department of Agriculture

Executive Board

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:

Penn State Research:

AgLaw 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, May 30, 2019

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—May 30, 2019


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

Food Labeling: FDA Encourages 'Best If Used By' Date Labels
On May 23, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a letter encouraging the food industry to reduce food waste through the use of “Best If Used By” product labels.  FDA stated that food manufacturers voluntarily use several phrases, such as “Best If Used By,” “Use By,” and “Sell By”, to indicate the date by which a product should be consumed for optimal quality.  According to FDA, such phrases are only used to note product quality and not product safety.  FDA asserted, however, that confusion over the different date labels has resulted in approximately 20% of consumer food waste.  Based on consumer research, FDA is encouraging the standardized use of the phrase “Best If Used By” to emphasize to consumers that after the marked date, the product may not be at optimal quality but that it is still safe to consume.    

Crop Insurance: USDA Announces Crop Insurance Benefits for Military Veterans
On May 22, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced new federal crop insurance coverage benefits available to eligible military veterans with farms or ranches.  According to USDA, to be eligible, a veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged and must “have actively operated and managed a farm or ranch with an insurable interest in any crop or livestock for five crop years or less or have been discharged from active duty during the most recent five crop years.” Created under the 2018 Farm Bill, the new crop insurance benefits for veterans provide:
  • An exemption from administrative fees for catastrophic and additional coverage policies;
  • An additional 10% premium subsidy for additional coverage policies with premium subsidies;
  • The ability to use another person’s production history for specific acreage transferred to a veteran who previously was involved in the crop production on that acreage; and
  • An increase in yield adjustment from 60 to 80% of the applicable transitional yield.  

International Trade: USDA Announces Support for Farmers Affected by Trade Dispute
On May 23, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced several actions to help U.S. farmers negatively affected by the U.S.’s ongoing trade dispute with China.  According to USDA, U.S. farmers have suffered financially due to Chinese tariffs and market distortions which have limited U.S. agricultural exports to China.  To help those U.S. farmers negatively affected, USDA announced $16 billion in assistance programs.  First, under the Market Facilitation Program, USDA’s Farm Service Agency will provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to qualifying producers.  Next, under the Food Purchase and Distribution Program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will purchase $1.4 billion of surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation.  Finally, under the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service will issue $100 million to assist in developing new export markets.

Antibiotic Use: APHIS Releases Data on Beef and Swine Antimicrobial Use
On May 23, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the results from research examining the use of antimicrobials at beef feedlots and large swine operations in 2016.  According to the data collected, 87.5% of the beef feedlots gave cattle antimicrobials in feed, water, or by injection.  Additionally, 95.5% of the swine operations gave market pigs antimicrobials in feed, water, or by injection.  According to APHIS, the main reason antimicrobials were used at both feedlots and swine operations was to prevent, control, or treat disease.  APHIS did note that the results did not account for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s January 2017 rule change preventing antimicrobials used for human health from being utilized to promote growth in food-producing animals.

Checkoff Programs: USDA Announces National Pork Board Appointments
On May 28, 2019, The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the appointment of five new members to the National Pork Board.  The appointed members are: Russell A. Nugent III, Lowell, Ark.; Gene Noem, Ames, Iowa; Bill Luckey, Columbus, Neb.; Alicia Pedemonti, Hopkinton, N.H.; and Michael P. Skahill, Williamsburg, Va.  The National Pork Board consists of 15 members appointed for three-year terms by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.  Board members are responsible for the collection, distribution and program accountability of the Pork Checkoff.  Under the current Pork Checkoff program U.S. pork producers and importers pay $0.40 per $100 of value when pigs are sold in the U.S. and when pigs, pork, or pork products are imported into the U.S.

From National Ag Law Experts:
“USDA Announces 2019 Market Facilitation Program”, Kristine A. Tidgren, The Ag Docket – Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (May 24, 2019)  
“Crop Insurance Arbitration: Navigating the Landmines”, Kenneth D. Ackerman, Elliot Belilos, AG/FDA Blog, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC (May 15, 2019)  
    
Federal Actions and Notices:
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Pennsylvania Legislation:
SB 665: Legislation requiring that all dogs or cats adopted from an animal shelter be spayed/neutered by a veterinarian prior to release from the shelter (Referred to Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 24, 2019)
HB 1504: Legislation providing for compensation and for applications for dog licenses, fees and penalties (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 23, 2019)

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
Department of Agriculture

Independent Regulatory Review Commission
“Notice of filing of final rulemakings” (Department of Agriculture Milk Sanitation)

State Conservation Commission

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:

Penn State Research:

AgLaw 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