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:
Agricultural Policy: Seven Pennsylvania Agricultural Bills Become Law
On July 1, 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf approved seven different agricultural bills into law.
First, Now known as Act 34, the legislation seeks to educate students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade about agriculture and “the importance of choosing healthy, locally produced foods.” revised and re-established the existing Healthy Farms Healthy Schools program into the PA Farm-to-School Program.
Second, Now known as Act 35, the legislation seeks to provide emergency funds to enable the PA Department of Agriculture to quickly respond to diseases or illnesses that threaten the Commonwealth’s agriculture sector. created the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account.
Third, Now known as Act 36, the legislation also created a grant program to incentivize access to meat processing inspections. amended the PA Preferred Program to encourage military veteran participation in the Homegrown by Heroes Program.
Fourth, Now known as Act 37, the legislation is designed to incentivize agricultural best management practices—regarding soil erosion, nutrient-runoff, and odor—through low interest loans. revised and re-established the Agriculture-Linked Investment Program.
Fifth, Now known as Act 38, the legislation provides grants to projects that support the dairy industry. Eligible projects involve research and development, organic transitioning, and value-added processing. created the Dairy Investment Program.
Sixth, Now known as Act 39, the legislation seeks to furnish “technical and financial assistance for the implementation of best management practice project on agricultural operations in high-priority locations.” Awards will be issued to successful applicants through grants, loans, or tax credits. created the Conservation Excellence Grant Program.
Seventh, Now known as Act 40, the legislation also created the Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to “assist [in] the growth, certification of seed and marketing of high-priority specialty crops.” Additionally, the legislation created the Agriculture and Youth Program to promote agriculture through programs such as FFA, 4-H, and Ag in the Classroom. Finally, Act 40 created the Urban Agricultural Infrastructure Grant Program designed to promote urban agriculture through the awarding of financial grants. created the Agricultural Business Development Center to serve as a business resource and reference center for agricultural producers.
Transportation: PA Governor Approves Legislation Expanding Width Allowance for Farm Machinery and Equipment on State Roads
On June 28, 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf approved legislation expanding the permitted width allowance for certain farm machinery and equipment on Pennsylvania’s roads from 16 feet to 18 feet ( The legislation applies to farm machinery and equipment defined under the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code as “implements of husbandry” ( ). Accordingly, the change in width allowance applies to “field equipment,” “tractors and wagons,” “trailers…designed to haul and apply fertilizer and insecticide on farmland,” and “agricultural equipment” such as “grain grinders and corn shellers.” The legislation applies only to “implements of husbandry” and does not apply to “farm vehicles” such as tanker or cattle trucks (see PA Department of Motor Vehicles: ).).
Industrial Hemp/Cannabis: New York City Issues Embargo on Products Containing CBD
On July 1, 2019, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (Department) According to the announcement, any products containing CBD “will have to be returned to the supplier or discarded,” and the Department will begin issuing violations to “food service establishments and retailers offering food or drink containing CBD” beginning October 1, 2019. The embargo comes in response to a from the FDA in December 2018 affirming that the addition of CBD to food or drink is unlawful. an embargo on products that contain cannabidiol (CBD).
Animal Welfare: USDA Issues Proposed Swine Garbage Feeding Rule
On June 20, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) posted notice in the Federal Register of a SHPA is intended to ensure that food waste fed to swine is properly treated to kill disease organisms. The proposed change seeks to move the status lists of States that are subject to each provision from the to the APHIS website. The for the proposed amendment is currently open and closes August 19, 2019. amending the swine garbage feeding and enforcement responsibility provisions of the (SHPA).
From National Ag Law Experts:
, Brianna J. Schroeder, Schroeder Ag Law Blog – Janzen Ag Law (June 25, 2019)
, Kristine A. Tidgren, The Ag Docket – Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (June 18, 2019)
Federal Actions and Notices:
Agricultural Marketing Service
Land Management Bureau
: Legislation establishing the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission (Signed in House, June 26, 2019; signed in Senate, June 26, 2019; presented to Governor, June 27, 2019)
Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
Penn State Research:
– Penn State News
– Food Navigator
– Morning AgClips
– Successful Farming
– Food Safety News
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