Thursday, May 5, 2016

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—May 5, 2016

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:

HPAI: Indiana Lifts Final Avian Influenza Quarantine
On May 2, 2016, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health issued a press release announcing that “[t]he last remaining quarantine associated with the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) cases identified in Dubois County, Ind. has officially been lifted.” According to the press release, “[t]his quarantine release coincides with the state achieving avian influenza-free status, after logging 90 consecutive days with no new cases of the poultry disease.”

FSMA: FDA Issues Corrections to Final Rule Regarding Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption
On May 3, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published notice in the Federal Register that the agency was amending a final rule published in Federal Register on November 27, 2015 (81 FR 26466).  According to FDA “[t]hat final rule established science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce, meaning fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption.”  FDA stated that “[t]he final rule published with some editorial and inadvertent errors…[and that] [t]his document corrects those errors.”

Beef Checkoff: Suit Filed Against USDA for Use of Checkoff Tax
On May 2, 2016, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) brought suit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) alleging that USDA “turns over proceeds from a federal tax on each sale of cattle to the private Montana Beef Council, to fund the council’s private speech, harming R-CALF USA’s members.” According to the complaint, R-CALF USA stated that the production methods of its members “stand in contrast to those used by large, multinational producers who source much of their cattle and beef internationally.” As a result, R-CALF USA asserted “its members object to and disagree with communications espousing that all beef is equal and/or that fail to distinguish between domestic and foreign beef.”

Crop Insurance: USDA Announces Funds Available for Risk Management Education
On May 5, 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture's Risk Management
Agency issued a press release announcing the availability of $4.4 million in funding for the Crop Insurance in Targeted States Program.  According to the press release, “[t]he program backs development of crop insurance education programs where there is a low level of federal crop insurance participation and availability.” The press release stated that the “targeted states are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.”

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