Thursday, April 6, 2017

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—April 6, 2017

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:

Antitrust: Danone Must Divest Stoneyfield in Order to Proceed with WhiteWave Acquisition
On April 3, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced “that it will require Danone S.A. to divest Danone’s Stonyfield Farms business in order for Danone to proceed with its $12.5 billion acquisition of The WhiteWave Foods Company Inc.” According to DOJ, “without the divestiture, the proposed acquisition likely would reduce competition between the two leading participants and top brands in the markets for raw and fluid organic milk, potentially harming dairy farmers in the northeast and U.S. consumers of fluid organic milk.”

Food Safety: Waivers Announced for Sanitary Transportation Rule
On April 5, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the publication of three businesses waivers to the Sanitary Transportation rule required under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  According to FDA, “[t]he Sanitary Food Transportation Act (SFTA) allows the agency to waive the requirements of this FSMA rule if it determines that the waiver will not result in the transportation of food under conditions that would be unsafe for human or animal health, or contrary to the public interest.” FDA stated that the “waivers are being published after being described in the proposed and final rule” and after FDA’s consideration of comments regarding the waivers.

Avian Influenza: USDA Releases Policy Memo on Confinement of Organic Poultry
On April 3, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service
National Organic Program issued a policy memorandum regarding the confinement of organic poultry flocks due to low or highly pathogenic avian influenza.  According to USDA, “[c]ertified organic poultry operations must establish and maintain preventative livestock health care practices, which may include temporary confinement.” USDA stated that “[i]f it is determined that temporary confinement of birds is needed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of organic flocks, then producers and certifiers may work together to determine an appropriate method and duration of confinement of organic poultry flocks without a loss of organic certification.”

Seed Law: PA Secretary of Ag Warns Farmers to Only Purchase Seeds from Licensed Dealers
On March 31, 2017, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding issued a press release advising agricultural producers to only purchase properly labeled seeds from a licensed seed dealer.  According to Secretary Redding, “[s]eed that is not tested and labeled, sometimes packaged in an unlabeled ‘brown bag,’ is being sold illegally and its quality should be considered suspect.” Secretary Redding stated that “[a]nyone offering seed for sale, whether for cover-crop or crop production, is required by law to be licensed in Pennsylvania.” As a result, the Secretary advised farmers to only purchase seed from a licensed seed dealer.

Local Food: Market Changes to Community Supported Agriculture
On April 3, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the release of a report entitled: Community Supported Agriculture: New Models for Changing Markets.  According to USDA, the report found the following changes to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business models:
  • “CSA operations represent only one portion of a farmer’s diversified marketing strategy”
  • “Market diversification is expected to increase”
  • “Product variety and season extending techniques are on the increase”
  • “Partnerships tied to wellness programs could help create an important new source of demand for CSA subscriptions” 

Pennsylvania Legislation:
House Agricultural & Rural Affairs
HB 1026: Dog Wardens Right to Carry
HB 1044: Legislation Regarding Lost Dogs (former HB 1819)
HB 1053: Re-introduction of Clean and Green legislation

House Environmental Resources and Energy:
HB 1060: PA Clean Streams Law

Pennsylvania Administrative Actions and Notices:
Department of Agriculture:
Department of Agriculture:

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