Thursday, January 4, 2018

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—January 4, 2018

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:

Avian Influenza: APHIS Proposes Change to Avian Influenza Virus Elimination Payments for Floor-Raised Meat Poultry
On December 21, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a proposed change to the flat rate calculation for floor-raised meat poultry eliminated after a notifiable detection of avian influenza.  Accordingly, APHIS is proposing a flat rate payment for all floor-raised meat poultry facilities that will be based on a calculation of a facility’s square footage.  The change would replace the current flat rate which is based on a calculation of number of birds.  APHIS will accept comment on the proposed elimination rate change until January 12, 2017. 

Animal Welfare: New York Town Rejects Animal Welfare Ordinance
On December 11, 2017, the Post Star reported that the Town Board of Fort Ann, New York rejected a local ordinance designed to “provide animal control, safety and welfare, not provided by the Agriculture and Market Law of the State of New York.” The defeated ordinance would have: (1) forbidden livestock on less than one acre, (2) required “adequate shelter” of livestock, (3) required an “adequate corral” for livestock, (4) required removal of manure in a specified manner, and (5) required owners to maintain control of all livestock.  The report stated that the ordinance had been proposed by a deputy supervisor engaged in a personal dispute involving the alleged contamination of the official’s well water from a neighbor’s livestock.

Animal Feed: EU to Ban Formaldehyde in Poultry Feed
On December 22, 2017, Poultry World reported that the European Union (EU) voted to deny the reauthorization of formaldehyde as an approved additive to poultry feed.  According to the report, the decision follows actions by certain EU countries to forbid the use of formaldehyde in poultry feed over concerns that the chemical may be carcinogenic and potentially harmful to workers.  The E.U. vote was made despite an assertion by the European Food Safety Authority that formaldehyde as a feed additive does not cause cancer, does not present health risks to consumer, and is safe to workers if protective measures are taken. 

International Trade: APHIS Issues Statement on Requirements for U.S. Soybean Exports to China
On December 27, 2017, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a statement informing U.S. soybean farmers and exporters about China’s new phytosanitary import requirements.  APHIS stated that the new procedure, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, applies to bulk and container shipments of raw, unprocessed soybeans.  Accordingly, APHIS must now notifying China when a soybean shipment exceeds 1 percent foreign material by placing an additional declaration on the phytosanitary certificate.  APHIS asserted that the notification is necessary to allow the continuation of U.S. soybean exports into China until the U.S. is able to implement measures that “reduce the volume of foreign material and weed seeds in soybean shipments to China.”  APHIS anticipates that these measures will be implemented sometime during the 2018 crop year.

Pennsylvania Legislation
Agriculture and Rural Affairs (H)
  • Informational meeting with the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture (Scheduled for January 9, 2018)
  • HB 1989 Legislation providing for the labeling of pesticide information (Referred to committee December 29, 2017)

Environmental Resources and Energy (H)
  • HB 1980 Legislation to ensure that local governments uphold the “10 acre exemption” to the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Referred to committee December 21, 2017)

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices
Department of Agriculture

State Conservation Commission

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