Thursday, December 12, 2019

Agricultural Law Weekly Review —December 12, 2019

Written by:  
Brook Duer—Staff Attorney
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

Dairy Policy: PMMB Enters Order Mandating Cooperative Costs Recovery
On December 4, 2019, the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) entered an order, titled “Interim Order Regarding Cooperative Milk Procurement Costs Hearing,” (Interim Order) mandating that, from January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, milk dealers pay $.20 per hundredweight as part of the producer price paid to dairy cooperative members for milk produced, processed and sold in Pennsylvania as reimbursement for cooperative services such as field, laboratory and calibration services, producer payroll, sales invoicing, and dispatch and logistics.  The Interim Order resulted from a compromise agreement reached in PMMB legal proceedings, and is entered without prejudice to the positions of the parties, between the Pennsylvania Association of Dairy Cooperatives and the Pennsylvania Association of Milk Dealers.  The compromise was reached in order to determine if a scheduled July 2020 resumption, and December 2020 conclusion, of the legal proceedings can be avoided.  The justification for the payment is that a milk dealer bears the cost of those services if purchasing milk from an independent producer and recovers that cost in the Pennsylvania minimum wholesale price paid by retailers for packaged fluid milk.  However, a cooperative bears the expense for those services when a milk dealer purchases milk from a cooperative with no reimbursement, until now, in the Pennsylvania producer price paid by milk dealers.  

Farm Bill: USDA Extends Deadlines for Dairy Margin Coverage and Market Facilitation Program to December 20
On December 11, 2019, USDA announced that the deadline for dairy producers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program has been extended from December 13, 2019, to December 20, 2019.  The 2018 Farm Bill authorized the DMC Program to provide payment to dairy producers when the margin between the all-milk price and the average feed cost falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer at enrollment.  USDA also announced that it would continue accepting applications from all eligible commodity producers for the Market Facilitation Program through December 20, despite the original closing date of December 6, 2019.  MFP is part of the 2018 and 2019 Trump Administration Trade Aid packages and provides payment to producers of certain commodities as compensation for decreased exports according to parameters developed by USDA.  The MFP application is filed at a producer’s local Farm Services Agency (FSA) office, as is a DMC Program enrollment.

Farm Bill: USDA Changes SNAP Benefit
On December 4, 2019, USDA announced it would publish in the Federal Register a Final Rule (84 FR 66782), finalizing a February 1, 2019, proposed regulation amendment (made primarily effective April 1, 2020) changing the conditions under which states may request and obtain a waiver of the maximum eligibility time for certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.  “Three months in a three-year period” is the time limit for able-bodied adults between ages 18 and 49 without dependents (ABAWDs) to collect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits without working or participating in work training for at least 20 hours a week.  Waivers of that time limit are available in areas having over 10% unemployment or in which there is a lack of sufficient jobs.  The amendments restrict the scope and number of waivers that can be granted, as compared to current practice, by redefining: (a) the determination of the area of a waiver; (b) whether there is a lack of sufficient jobs; (c) the calculation of the required unemployment rate; and also by limiting the practice of states carrying forward a balance of unused annual waiver requests from one federal fiscal year to the next.   

International Trade: USMCA Signed by United States, Mexico and Canada
On December 10, 2019, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced that the United States, Mexico, and Canada reached an agreement to amend the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed November 30, 2018. The text of the USMCA as signed on November 30, 2018, and an unsigned document dated December 10, 2019, titled “Protocol of Amendment,” are available on the website of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, along with a fact sheet titled “Agriculture: Dairy Outcomes of USMC Agreement.” A document identified as the document signed on December 10, 2019, has not yet been released in electronic format at this time. The official webpage for the USMCA can be found here.

International Trade: Japan Approves October Trade Agreement with United States
On December 4, 2019, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced that Japan’s Diet (equivalent to its Parliament) approved an October 2019 trade agreement with the United States, expected to be put into effect January 1, 2020, which more widely opens Japanese markets to U.S. agricultural products.  For example, it reduces tariffs on U.S. beef in stages from a current 38.5% to 9% by 2033

From National Ag Law Experts: 
Brigit Rollins, Redefined: WOTUS Controversy Continues (December 5, 2019). 

Penn State Research:
Jamie Oberdick, Artificial Cells Act More Like the Real Thing (December 5, 2019).

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:

Pennsylvania Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices: 
Department of Environmental Protection 
49 Pa.B. 7249 “Availability of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Construction Activities (PAG-02),” Notice (December 7, 2019). 
49 Pa.B. 7260 “Environmental Assessment Approval for PENNVEST Funding Consideration,” Notice (December 7, 2019). 
49 Pa.B. 7180 “The Clean Streams Law and the Federal Clean Water Act:
Applications for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits and Water Quality Management (WQM) Permits,” Notice—Applications (December 7, 2019). 

Pennsylvania Legislature
S.B. 973 “An Act authorizing senior citizens to claim a reduction of property taxes by 25% on certain real property; and providing for termination of the reduction,Referred to Finance (December 3, 2019). 
H.B. 2040 “An Act providing for the PA Second Chance Jobs website and for powers and duties of the Department of Labor and Industry,” Laid on the Table (December 9, 2019). 
H.B. 2114 “An Act amending the act of February 22, 1855 (P.L.46, No.50), entitled "An act to incorporate the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania," further providing for management by board of trustees, for membership, name and power of board of trustees and for meeting, terms and successors of board of trustee,” Referred to Agriculture and Rural Affairs (December 9, 2019). 
H.B. 1223 “An Act providing for the creation of keystone opportunity dairy zones to facilitate the economic development of Pennsylvania's dairy industry; authorizing expenditures; providing tax exemptions, tax deductions, tax abatements and tax credits; creating additional obligations of the Commonwealth and local governmental units; and prescribing powers and duties of certain State and local departments, agencies and officials,” Removed from Table, House (December 10, 2019). 
H.B. 1224 “An Act amending the act of April 28, 1937 (P.L.417, No.105), known as the Milk Marketing Law, in purpose, short title and definitions, further providing for definitions and construction; in general powers of the board, providing for coordination with Department of Revenue; and, in prices of milk, further providing for cooperatives,” Removed from Table, House (December 10, 2019). 
H.B. 2119 “An Act amending the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as the Tax Reform Code of 1971, in sales and use tax, further providing for definitions; in personal income tax, further providing for imposition of tax; and providing for Universal Property Tax Rebate Program,” Referred to Finance (December 10, 2019). 

Federal Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices: 
Agriculture Department 
84 FR 67424 “Performance Review Board Membership,” Notice (December 10, 2019). 

Agricultural Marketing Service 
84 FR 67242 “Meeting of the National Organic Standards Board,” Proposed Rule—Comment Period (December 9, 2019). 
84 FR 66870 “Tobacco Inspection and Grading Services: Notice of Request for an Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection,” Notice—Comment Period (December 6, 2019). 
84 FR 67423 “Notice of Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection for Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico,” Notice—Comment Period (December 10, 2019). 

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
84 FR 66631 “National Poultry Improvement Plan and Auxiliary Provisions,” Proposed Rule—Comment Period (December 5, 2019). 

Energy Department
84 FR 67438 “Draft Environmental Assessment for the Commercial Disposal of Defense Waste Processing Facility Recycle Wastewater From the Savannah River Site,” Notice—Comment Period (December 10, 2019). 
84 FR 67435 “Final Determination Regarding Energy Efficiency Improvements in the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC),” Notice—Comment Period (December 10, 2019). 

Environmental Protection Agency
84 FR 66626 “Etoxazole; Pesticide Tolerances,” Rule—Comments Accepted (December 5, 2019). 
84 FR 66620 “Fenpyroximate; Pesticide Tolerances,” Rule—Comments Accepted (December 5, 2019). 
84 FR 66616 “Propamocarb; Pesticide Tolerances,” Rule—Comments Accepted (December 5, 2019). 

Farm Credit Administration
84 FR 66403 “Sunshine Act Meeting; Farm Credit Administration Board,” Notice (December 4, 2019). 

Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation
84 FR 66667 “Regular Meeting; Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation Board,” Notice (December 5, 2019). 

Federal Communications Commission
84 FR 67220 “Connect America Fund,” Rule (December 9, 2019). 

Fish and Wildlife Service 
84 FR 67060 “Endangered Species Status for Beardless Chinchweed With Designation of Critical Habitat, and Threatened Species Status for Bartram's Stonecrop With Section 4(d) Rule,” Proposed Rule—Comment Period (December 6, 2019).
84 FR 67292 “Proposed Upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement; San Bernardino County, CA,” Notice—Comment Period (December 9, 2019). 

Food and Drug Administration
84 FR 66782 “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents,” Rule (December 5, 2019). 

Food and Nutrition Service
84 FR 67424 “Request for information: Self-Determination Demonstration Project for Tribes That Administer the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations,” Notice—Comment Period (December 10, 2019). 

Health Resources and Services Administration
84 FR 67275 “Data Collection Tool for State Offices of Rural Health Grant Program, OMB No. 0915-0322-Revision,” Notice—Comment Period (December 9, 2019). 

U.S. House Agriculture Committee Actions: 
H.R.5362 “To amend the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 to authorize spittlebug research and extension grants, and for other purposes,” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture  (December 9, 2019). 
H.R.5349 “To prevent the changing of regulations governing the provision of waivers under the supplemental nutrition assistance program, and for other purposes,” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (December 6, 2019). 
H.R.5311 “To amend the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 to renew the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council and to amend the Act of October 14, 1980 to remove the limitation on the transfer of amounts available under the reforestation trust fund, and for other purposes,” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (December 5, 2019). 
H.Res.742 “Recognizing the continued success of the Food for Peace Act” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Agriculture (December 5, 2019). 
H.R.5040 “AIR Safety Act of 2019,” Referred to the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry (December 4, 2019). 
H.R.5064 “Animal Disease Surveillance and Detection Act of 2019,” Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture (December 4, 2019). 
H.R.5077 “Resurveys Entitle Adjacent Landowners to Protection Act,” Referred to the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry (December 4, 2019). 
H.R.5091 “Wildfire Defense Act,” Referred to the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry (December 4, 2019). 
H.R.5100 “Drought Relief through Innovative Projects Act of 2019,” Referred to the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research (December 4, 2019). 

U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, And Forestry Committee Actions: 
No new actions December 5-7, 2019. 
S.2933 “A bill to amend the Commodity Exchange Act to require a review of current exemptions granted to foreign entities in response to an attempt by a foreign authority to exercise direct supervisory authority over a domestic derivatives clearing organization, Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (November 21, 2019). 

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