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:
Biosolids: Bellefonte Borough Agrees to Delay Spreading of Biosolids
On June 6, 2016, the Centre Daily Times reported that Pennsylvania Centre County Judge Jonathan Grine had approved an agreement between Bellefonte Borough and Benner Township residents regarding the spreading of biosolids in Benner Township. According to the article, under the approved agreement, Bellefonte Borough will forego original plans to spread biosolids on the property known as Spicer Family Farms “until a resolution is reached” in the separate civil action Swancer v. Spicer Family Farms and Bellefonte Borough Authority.
Animal Liability: Owner of Bull Charged With Manslaughter after Fatal Crash
On June 6, 2016, the Associated Press reported that a Vermont farmer was charged with involuntary manslaughter after his bull wandered onto a road and caused a fatal car crash. According to the article, the state's attorney stated “that police had responded to reports of [the] bull in the roadway three times and out of its pasture once in June and July 2015.” According to the article, if convicted, the bull’s owner faces the possibility of 15 years in prison.
Organic: USDA Extends Comment Period for Organic Livestock Rule
On June 7, 2016, he U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued a press release stating that the agency “is extending the comment period for the proposed rule to amend organic livestock and poultry practices until July 13, 2016, to allow stakeholders additional time to provide feedback on the proposed rule.” According to USDA AMS, the purpose of the proposed rule is “to amend the organic livestock and poultry production requirements by: adding new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions; and expanding and clarifying existing requirements covering livestock health care practices and mammalian living conditions” (FR 2016-08023)
PA Bulletin: PDA Establishes Fertilizer Nutrient Values
On June 4, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture published notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin of the establishment of commercial fertilizer nutrient values (Pa.B. Doc. No. 16-949). The new fertilizer nutrient values become effective July 1, 2016.
Legislation: PA House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee Schedules Voting Meeting
On June 15, 2016, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Agricultural and Rural Affairs committee has scheduled a voting meeting on HB 872 and SB 1123. Accordingly, HB 872 is a “resolution encouraging the use of peer-reviewed, science-based data to assess the impacts and the regulation of agricultural technologies,” while SB 1123 is an amendment to “Title 3 (Agriculture) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in weights and measures, further providing for standards for automotive fuel.”