Thursday, July 18, 2019

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—July 18, 2019

Written by:
M. Sean High—Staff Attorney
Audry Thompson—Research Assistant
The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture:

Dairy Policy: PA Milk Marketing Board Proposes Extension to Notice Requirement to Terminate Dealer-Producer Contracts
On July 13, 2019, the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (MMB) published notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin of a proposed rule to extend the Commonwealth’s dairy dealer-producer contract termination notice requirement from 28 days to 90 days (49 Pa.B. 3606).  According to MMB, the proposed extension is to allow dairy producers additional time to secure alternate outlets for their products prior to a termination.  The proposed rule, however, does provide dealers with an exception to the 90-day termination notice requirement if the dealer experiences “financial hardship, business loss or catastrophic event.”  Interested individuals have 30 days from publication of the proposed rule to submit comments, suggestions, or objections to MMB regarding the proposed extension.  Such submissions must be sent to Doug Eberly, Chief Counsel, Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg PA 17110, or via e-mail at

Agricultural Labor: DOL Proposes Changes to H-2A Program
On July 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced proposed changes to the H-2A temporary agricultural labor certification program.  According to DOL, the proposed changes are intended to “modernize and improve” the H-2A program through revisions that include simplifying the application process and reducing regulatory burdens on employers.  Additionally, DOL stated that the proposed changes would potentially open the program to more employers by redefining “agricultural labor or services to include employers engaged in reforestation and pine straw activities.”  To view a copy of the proposed changes prior to publication in the Federal Register, click here.  Following DOL’s announcement, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue issued a statement asserting that the proposed changes “will increase access to a reliable legal agricultural workforce, eas[e] unnecessary burdens on farmers, increase enforcement against fraud and abuse, all while maintaining protections for America’s workers.”

Farm Transitions: USDA Announces $16 Million in Funding for Socially Disadvantaged or Veteran Farmers and Ranchers
On July 16, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of approximately $16 million in funding through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (84 FR 33904).  Provided under the 2018 Farm Bill and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, the funding will be awarded to grant projects designed to promote farm and ranch ownership and operation—and increase participation in USDA programs—among socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and veteran farmers and ranchers.  The grants are open to eligible community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher learning, and Tribal entities.  All grant requests must be received by August 15, 2019.

Local Foods: USDA Awards $9 Million for 2019 Farm to School Grants
On July 16, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that over $9 million has been awarded in grants under the 2019 Farm to School Grant Program (FTS).  Part of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, FTS awards grants to provide access to local foods in schools and agricultural education.  According to USDA, grants were awarded to 126 projects with an expected reach of more than 3.2 million students.  USDA stated that the approved projects “range from $20,000 to $100,000 and fund equipment purchases and experiential learning activities, including planting school gardens, offering taste tests to children, and organizing field trips to local farms and food producers.”  USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue stated that the U.S. “food supply depends on more young people entering the field of agriculture as farmers retire” and that FTS “inspires young people to consider careers in agriculture and food systems.”

Crop Insurance: USDA Extends Crop Insurance Reporting Deadline for States Affected by Flooding and Heavy Moisture
On July 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced a deadline extension for filing spring-seeded crop acreage reports with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices and crop insurance agents.  The new July 22, 2019, deadline is applicable in states impacted by flooding and heavy moisture: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.  Crop acreage reports, which document all crops and their intended uses, are necessary for maintaining eligibility in USDA farm loans and conservation programs and calculating losses for crop insurance and disaster assistance.  Producers not in the impacted states are still bound by the original July 15, 2019, deadline.  Reports from producers who set up appointments with their local county offices before their respective deadline will be considered timely filed, even if the appointment occurs after the deadline.

Pesticides: EPA Approves Pesticide with Restrictions to Address Concerns About Pollinator Impacts
On July 12, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced long-term approval for the insecticide sulfoxaflor.  This approval redresses a 2015 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that vacated EPA’s registration of the substance due to insufficient data regarding sulfoxaflor’s effect on bees.  The long-term approval of sulfoxaflor, which EPA identifies as “an important and highly effective tool for growers that targets difficult pests such as sugarcane aphids and tarnished plant bugs, also known as lygus,” removes application restrictions put in place by the 2016 registration decision and approves the insecticide for use on several new crops.   To address concerns about the impact of the pesticide upon pollinators, the approval was issued with several restrictions.  According to EPA, “[w]idely-used alternatives do not have these restrictions and may pose higher risk to non-target wildlife than sulfoxaflor,” and “there are few viable alternatives for sulfoxaflor.”  The long-term approval of sulfoxaflor comes after EPA recently issued emergency exemptions for the use of the product to control sugarcane aphids on sorghum and tarnished plant bugs on cotton.

From National Ag Law Experts:
“RFID Ear Tags To Be Required USDA Identification for ADT by 2023,” Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Texas Agriculture Law Blog – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension (July 8, 2019)
“Special Rule for Taxing Crop Insurance and Disaster Payments,” Kristine A. Tidgren, The Ag Docket – Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (June 30, 2019)
Federal Actions and Notices:
Agricultural Marketing Service

Food and Drug Administration

Food and Nutrition Service

Pennsylvania Legislation:
SB 803: Legislation to prevent food establishments from serving food to customers in polystyrene containers (Referred to Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, July 16, 2019)

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:

Penn State Research:

AgLaw HotLinks:

Stay Informed:
Listen to our weekly Agricultural Law Podcast
Read our monthly Agricultural Law Brief newsletter    
Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive daily AgLaw HotLinks
Connect with us on Facebook to view our weekly CASL Ledger detailing Center publications and activities
Visit The Ag & Food Law Blog for a comprehensive summary of daily judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food

No comments:

Post a Comment