Thursday, February 7, 2019

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—February 7, 2019

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:

Labeling Laws: Court Rejects San Francisco Law Requiring Health Warnings on Sugary Drinks
On January 31, 2019, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that a San Francisco ordinance requiring health warnings on certain sugar-sweetened beverages violated the First Amendment right to freedom of speech (American Beverage Association v. City and County of San Francisco, Case: 16-16072).  In June 2015, San Francisco enacted an ordinance requiring that certain sugar-sweetened beverage advertisements be labeled with the following statement: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.”  Under the ordinance, the warning was to occupy at least 20% of the advertisement.  The 9th Circuit stated that court findings suggested that the goals of the ordinance could be accomplished with a warning smaller than 20%.  As a result, the court ruled that “the 20% requirement is not justified and is unduly burdensome when balanced against its likely burden on protected speech.”

Cannabis / Industrial Hemp: Vote Hemp Releases 2018 Hemp Crop Report
On January 28, 2019, the hemp advocacy organization Vote Hemp announced the release of its 2018 U.S. Hemp Crop Report.  The report provides the number of acres of hemp grown in 2018 and identifies states that have enacted hemp legislation.  According to the report, the total number of acres of hemp grown in the U.S. increased from 25,713 in 2017 to 78,176 in 2018.  Additionally, the report stated that 41 states have currently enacted legislation regarding hemp production.

International Trade: USDA Awards $200M to Help Farmers Expand Markets
On January 31, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the agency has awarded $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP).  According to USDA, the purpose of the ATP is to help U.S. agricultural producers identify and gain access new export markets.  U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stated that the funds are “seed money, leveraged by hundreds of millions of dollars from the private sector, that will help to increase our agricultural exports.”

Dairy Policy: California Milk Processor Board Announces Consumer Loyalty Program
On January 28, 2019, Cison PR Newswire reported that the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) has launched a consumer loyalty program that will pay consumers for the purchase of real dairy milk.  The new program will be known as “Moo Money.” Under the program, which starts January 28, 2019 and ends April 28, 2019, eligible California consumers can earn points for every $1 spent towards a qualifying purchase of real dairy milk.  If these consumers accumulate enough points, they will have the ability to convert the points into Virtual Reward Cards which can then be used where ever MasterCard is accepted.  Previously, CMPB created the well-known “Got Milk?” dairy campaign.

Air Quality: Maryland to Monitor Air Near Poultry Houses
On January 29, 2019, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) announced that it will collect air samples on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore in order to determine the effects of large poultry houses on air quality.  At various monitoring stations, measurements will be made regarding ammonia and particulate matter.  Information will also be collected regarding weather conditions.  The monitoring is scheduled for one year.  At the end of the that time, MDE will examine the collected information and determine any future necessary actions.

From National Ag Law Experts:
“Agricultural Tenants and Eminent Domain Proceeds”, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Texas Agriculture Law Blog – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension (February 4, 2019)
“Maryland’s Laws for Raising Honey Bee”, Nicole Cook, Maryland Risk Management Education Blog (January 29, 2019)
“Ag-gag gets the bag”, Ellen Essman, Ag Law Blog – Agricultural Law & Taxation – Ohio State University Extension (January 29, 2019)  

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:

Pennsylvania Legislation:
SB 85: Legislation regarding licensing fee exemptions for certain service dogs (Referred to Senate for consideration, February 4, 2019)
SB 145: Legislation amending the Agricultural Area Security Law to provide for restrictions and limitations on preserved farmland (Referred to Senate for consideration, February 4, 2019)
HB 368: Legislation regarding boarding kennel licensing (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee February 4, 2019)

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
Department of Environmental Protection

Milk Marketing Board

AgLaw HotLinks:

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