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:
WOTUS: President Signs Executive Order Reviewing “Waters of the United States” Rule
On February 28, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order directing the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (Administrator) and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (Assistant Secretary) to review the current federal waters of the United States rule (WOTUS). Upon completion of this review, the Administrator and Assistant Secretary are to propose a rule either rescinding or revising the current rule. For future WOTUS rulemaking, “the Administrator and Assistant Secretary shall consider interpreting the term ‘navigable waters,’ as defined in 33 U.S.C. 1362(7), in a manner consistent with the opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006).”
Food Labeling: Court Affirms Denial of Egg Carton Labeling
On February 27, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling denying the mandatory labeling of egg-laying hen conditions on egg cartons (Compassion over Killing v. U.S. Food & Drug Administration, D.C. No. 3:13-cv-01385-VC). The court held that the Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Agricultural Marketing Service lacked the authority to promulgate such mandatory labeling of shell eggs. Additionally, the court held that the Federal Trade Commission reasonably denied the plaintiff’s request based on its discretion. Finally, the court held that the Food & Drug Administration provided a reasonable explanation for denying the plaintiff’s request.
Animal Health: Pennsylvania Deer Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease
On February 28, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) announced that a captive Pennsylvania deer has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). According to PDA, the deer died on a Bedford County farm in January 2017 and was confirmed positive for CWD on February 10, 2017. Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding stated that “[w]hile CWD is no danger to public health and has never been associated as a human health concern, we will continue to work with deer farmers and sportsmen to protect the health of Pennsylvania’s deer.” The farm where the deer died is currently under quarantine.
- Farm Bill hearing focuses on dairy programs - DroversCTN
- USDA chief economist, Robert johansson, looks at U.S. agriculture - including farmland values, real farm income, etc. - Farm Policy News
- Clemson University researchers will begin a 5 year study to help prevent citrus greening problem - AgriPulse
- “Illinois new raw milk rule gets first legislative tests” - FoodSafetyNews
- New U.N. Food & Ag Organization report notes environmental concerns with food production increases - AgriPulse
- American Dairy Coalition says some dairy producers worry about new immigration regulations - Brownfield
- Estimated payments per base acre for corn, soybeans, & wheat based on information provided by the National Agricultural Statistical Service - University of Illinois
- Food industry creates voluntary guidelines for standard labels to decrease food waste - DairyNetwork
- USDA sees declining production in major US crops - AgriPulse
- By June, Tyson Foods says they will no longer use antibiotics in chicken - Brownfield
- The Feed a Bee program encourages planting wildflowers for honey bees, monarch butterflies, & other pollinators - AgriPulse
- Australian and U.S. farmers protest the use of the word “milk” with soy or almond drinks - SMH
- WTO denies Russia appeal over EU pork ban - MeatPoultry
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