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:
International Trade: Canada and Mexico Lift Tariffs on Certain U.S. Agricultural Products
On May 17, 2019, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced an agreement had been reached with Canada and Mexico to remove certain tariffs for aluminum and steel imports from the two nations. Under the agreement, which was scheduled to go into effect no later than two days following the announcement, Canada and Mexico would lift retaliatory measures on certain U.S. goods; including agricultural products. Subsequently, on May 20, 2019, Canada announced that it would remove all retaliatory countermeasures imposed on certain U.S. products including a 10% surtax on U.S. beef. Additionally, on May 20, 2019, Mexico announced that it would eliminating reprisals imposed on certain US products including a 25% tariff on certain U.S. cheeses and a 20% tariff on U.S. apples, potatoes, and unprocessed pork.
International Trade: Japan Lifts Restrictions on U.S. Beef
On May 17, 2019, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an agreement with Japan to eliminate Japan’s restrictions on the importation of U.S. beef. Under the terms of the agreement, scheduled to take effect immediately, Japan will allow the importation of U.S. beef products regardless of age. Japan had previously placed the restrictions on U.S. beef in 2003 following the detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (commonly known as mad cow disease) in a U.S. animal. With restrictions to the Japanese market lifted, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that U.S. beef exports to Japan will increase by up to $200 million annually.
Biosecurity: Chronic Wasting Disease Certification Program Finalized
On May 20, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Herd Certification Program (HCP) standards have been finalized. The CWD HCP is a national, voluntary program that attempts to reduce the frequency and interstate spread of CWD. Standards include fencing, animal ID’s, and animal testing. Originally published on March 29, 2018, APHIS revised the standards following over 334 comments from interested stakeholders.
Industrial Hemp / Cannabis: Iowa Governor Signs Hemp Law
On May 13, 2019, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed legislation providing for Iowa’s regulation and enforcement of hemp (SF 599). Despite the signing, Governor Reynolds asserted that the law does not legalize the manufacture or sale of all hemp-derived products. The Governor stated that while the federal government has approved the manufacture or sale of some hemp-derived products, it has not approved the manufacture or sale of the hemp-derived product cannabidiol. As a result, Governor Reynolds warned that “Iowans engaging in the manufacture, sale, or purchase of hemp-derived products should carefully consider the legality of their actions under Iowa and federal law.”
Transportation: PA Milk Hauling Legislation Reported Out of Committee
On May 17, 2019, legislation was referred to the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee clarifying that milk haulers can travel on Pennsylvania highways during a declaration of disaster emergency (HB 915). According to sponsoring Representative Martin T. Causer, during inclement weather, travel restrictions may be placed on commercial vehicles in the interest of public safety. These restrictions, however, do not consider the perishable nature of milk and that cow milking schedules cannot be adjusted. Under the proposed legislation, during a declaration of disaster emergency, a licensed milk hauler would be permitted to travel to a dairy farm to pick up milk and to transport milk to or from a milk plant. Previously, on May 7, 2019, the Pennsylvania House passed the bill by a vote of 136-61.
From National Ag Law Experts:
, Brianna J. Schroeder, Schroeder Ag Law Blog – Janzen Ag Law (May 17, 2019)
, Paul Goeringer, Maryland Risk Management Education Blog (May 21, 2019)
Federal Actions and Notices:
Environmental Protection Agency
Farm Credit Administration
: Legislation to recreate the Agriculture and Rural Youth Organization Grant Program (Referred to Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 17, 2019)
: Legislation to create the Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (Referred to Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 17, 2019)
SB 663: Legislation to amend dog licensing law (Referred to Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, May 20, 2019)
Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
Department of Environmental Protection
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:
Penn State Research:
– Penn State News
– MEAT + POULTRY
– Brownfield Ag News
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