Brook Duer—Staff Attorney
Audry Thompson—Research Assistant
Audry Thompson—Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Weekly Review provides an update of recent agricultural law developments from the local, state, national, and international levels. Subscribe to the ALWR at pennstateaglaw.com.
International Trade: United States and China Reach “Phase One” Trade AgreementOn December 13, 2019, the White House announced a “Phase One trade deal” with China that requires “changes to China’s economic and trade regime,” including agricultural trade, and “a commitment by China to make substantial additional purchases of U.S. goods in the coming years.” However, no specific details have yet been provided in writing by either the White House or the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The text of a Fact Sheet on the USTR website dated December 13, 2019, titled “Agreement Between the United States of America and The People’s Republic of China," remains the sole written documentation from the United States government’s Executive Branch outlining the agreement terms. Regarding agricultural trade, it states: “The Agriculture Chapter addresses structural barriers to trade and will support a dramatic expansion of U.S. food, agriculture and seafood product exports, increasing American farm and fishery income, generating more rural economic activity, and promoting job growth. A multitude of non-tariff barriers to U.S. agriculture and seafood products are addressed, including for meat, poultry, seafood, rice, dairy, infant formula, horticultural products, animal feed and feed additives, pet food, and products of agriculture biotechnology.” The Fact Sheet goes on to state: “The Expanding Trade chapter includes commitments from China to import various U.S. goods and services over the next two years in a total amount that exceeds China’s annual level of imports for those goods and services in 2017 by no less than $200 billion. China’s commitments cover a variety of U.S. manufactured goods, food, agricultural and seafood products, energy products, and services. China’s increased imports of U.S. goods and services are expected to continue on this same trajectory for several years after 2021 and should contribute significantly to the rebalancing of the U.S.-China trade relationship.”
Pesticides: NY Governor Directs Ban on Chlorpyrifos by Agency ActionOn December 10, 2019, New York Governor Andew Cuomo vetoed New York State Senate Bill Senate Bill 5343, a bill to phase out the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in the State of New York by December 1, 2021, and directed the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in the veto memorandum to immediately prohibit chlorpyrifos use by aerial spraying. Veto Memorandum #193 also adds language in which the Governor’s Office requires DEC to take further regulatory action to ban chlorpyrifos use for all purposes by December 2020, except apple tree trunk spraying, which will be banned by July 2021. The end result is that the timetable for discontinuing chlorpyrifos use legally in New York is accelerated by at least one year for most uses and by six months for all uses.
Industrial Hemp: USDA Extends Comment Period on Hemp Production Rule
Conservation Programs: NRCS Solicits Public Comment on Interim Rule For EQIP
On December 17, 2019, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) published a new Interim Rule for the working lands Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in order to conform the enabling regulations for the program to statutory amendments made in the 2018 Farm Bill. The Interim Rule is effective immediately but a public comment period is open until February 17, 2020.
From National Ag Law Experts:Brigit Rollins, Water Wars Continued: Courts Dispute Role of Groundwater Under CWA (December 12, 2019).
Penn State Research:Matt Carroll, Fiber-Optic Cables Capture Thunderquake Rumbles (December 11, 2019).
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:Pennsylvania Adds 29 Farms, 2,450 Acres to Nation-Leading Farmland Preservation Program (December 12, 2019).
Pennsylvania Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices:Department of Environmental Protection
Department of Labor and Industry49 Pa.B. 7374 “Maximum Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Payable” Notice (December 14, 2019).
Fish and Boat Commission49 Pa.B. 7298 “Fishing in Lake Erie and Boundary Lakes” Proposed Rule (December 14, 2019).
Pennsylvania LegislatureH.B. 1223 “An Act providing for the creation of keystone opportunity dairy zones to facilitate the economic development of Pennsylvania's dairy industry . . . .” Re-committed to Appropriations (December 16, 2019).
Federal Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices:Agriculture Department
Agricultural Marketing Service84 FR 68816 “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard; Validation of Refining Processes” Proposed Rule—Comment Period (December 17, 2019).
Commodity Credit Corporation
Employment and Training Administration84 FR 67681 “Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers” Proposed Rule (December 11, 2019).
Environmental Protection Agency84 FR 67740 “Pesticide Product Registration; Receipt of Applications for New Uses” Notice—Comment Period (December 11, 2019).
Federal Emergency Management Agency84 FR 68182 “Final Flood Hazard Determinations” Notice (December 13, 2019).
Food and Safety and Inspection Service84 FR 68101 “Notice of Request for a New Information Collection: Small Meat Processor Study” Notice—Comment Period (December 13, 2019).
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Rural Business-Cooperative Service
Rural Utilities Services
Surface Transportation Board
Susquehanna River Basin Commission
Trade Representative, Office of the United States
Wage and Hour Division84 FR 68736 “Regular Rate Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” Rule (December 16, 2019)
U.S. House Agriculture Committee Actions:H.R.5436 “To amend the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, with respect to enforcement of animal fighting ventures prohibition in the territories, and for other purposes.” Referred to House Committee on Agriculture (December 16, 2019).
U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, And Forestry Committee Actions:S.3053 “A bill to provide for the regulation, inspection, and labeling of food produced using animal cell culture technology, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (December 16, 2019).
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December 11-17, 2019 Top Tweets:“Corn growers hope for swift passage of USMCA” (December 11, 2019)
“U.S. dairy applauds Japan's passage of trade deal” (December 8, 2019)
“House debate scheduled on farmworker bill” (December 10, 2019)
“‘Phase One’ of Trade Deal with China Confirmed” (December 13, 2019)
“Judge Blocks Arkansas from Enforcing State Law Restricting ‘Meaty’ Terms on Plant-Based Products” (December 12, 2019)
“U.S.-Japan trade deal lauded as a win for farmers” (December 9, 2019)
“USDA extends deadlines for support programs” (December 11, 2019)
“House passes H-2A expansion over broad GOP opposition” (December 11, 2019)
“NPPC, AFBF file legal challenge to California's Prop 12” (December 6, 2019)
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