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 pennstateaglaw.com.
International Trade: USMCA Receives Congressional Approval, Awaits President’s Signature
On January 16, 2020, the U.S. Congress completed the statutory approval process for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It now awaits the formal application of the President’s signature, which has yet to be scheduled. Pursuant to the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, 19 U.S.C. 4201 et seq., (generally referred to as “Trade Promotion Authority” or “TPA”), Congress granted approval through passage of HR 5430, titled the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act. HR 5430 was introduced on December 13, 2019, passed the U.S. House by a 385-41 vote on December 19, 2019 and passed the U.S. Senate by a 89-10 vote on January 16, 2020. USMCA has already been fully ratified by the Mexican government but still must be approved by the Canadian Parliament before implementation. The congressional approval process was triggered by the December 10, 2019, announcement by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that the United States, Mexico, and Canada had reached a final agreement on amendments and implementation details of the previously-negotiated USMCA dated November 30, 2018. The completed USMCA terminates and replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The final USMCA text is available on the USTR website, along with various fact sheets providing details. One fact sheet is titled “Agriculture: Market Access and Dairy Outcomes of the USMC Agreement” and another addresses the USMCA’s impact on Pennsylvania.
Farm Bill: Fourteen States, New York City, and District of Columbia Sue USDA Over SNAP Benefit Rule Changes
On January 16, 2020, Fourteen (14) states, the City of New York, and the District of Columbia, sued USDA in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Case 1:20-cv-00119, alleging that the December 4, 2019, Final Rule 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 violates the federal Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 701-706. The plaintiffs are requesting that the rule be stayed, enjoined from becoming effective, vacated, and set aside. In addition to California and New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia have joined in the suit, each state alleging individualized economic harm. Pennsylvania alleges that the Final Rule will cost it more than $2.2 million annually in increased administrative costs and will increase job-training programming costs more than $21 million over the next six years. For more on USDA’s Final Rule changing SNAP benefit rules, see the Agricultural Law Weekly Review of December 12, 2019, titled “Farm Bill: USDA Changes SNAP Benefit.”
Dairy Policy: Cornell University Conducting Dairy Farmer Pricing Survey
On January 14, 2020, Cornell University’s School of Applied Economics & Management researchers Dr. Todd M. Schmit and Roberta M. Severson commenced a confidential on-line Dairy Farmer Pricing Survey, in which a dairy producer may participate until February 15, 2020. The survey is located at https://tinyurl.com/DairyPriceSurvey. According to the researchers, the survey is “developed to better understand farmers’ willingness to accept alternative premium programs, related milk premium adjustments, and milk handler business structures.” The survey is intended to gather nationwide information regardless of the geographic location because the “focus is on price adjustments made by the handler after the required minimum price is determined by the relevant milk marketing order.” Data collected “will be used to determine preferred premium structures under a range of market conditions . . . as valuable guidance to dairy farmers and milk handlers when considering alternative pricing structures beyond the milk marketing order and the expected results therefrom.” The survey is limited to current dairy farmers and should be completed by the primary owner/operator in charge of the milk production portion of the farm business. Only one survey should be completed per farm. The survey should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.
Food Policy: USDA Announces School Lunch & Summer Meals Reforms
On January 17, 2020, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service announced the issuance of a proposed rule amending regulations governing the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). The proposed rule proposes various and multiple changes to simplify meal pattern and monitoring requirements. According to the proposed rule, “implementation of the wide range of proposed changes and flexibilities is expected to simplify operational requirements, increase efficiency, and make it easier for State and local Program operators to feed children.” The proposed rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2020, and publication will commence a sixty (60) day comment period.
Industrial Hemp: Ohio’s Hemp Cultivation Regulations Approved by State Regulation Review Agency
On January 16, 2020, the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s hemp cultivation licensing regulations, Ohio Administrative Code 901:14-1-01 through 901:14-2-99, were approved by Ohio’s Joint Committee On Agency Rule Review (JCARR), the state government entity charged with determining if proposed agency regulations exceed the statutory authority granted by the Ohio General Assembly. The regulations are scheduled to become effective January 31, 2020. This action follows USDA’s December 27, 2019, approval of the Ohio Department of Agriculture State Hemp Production Plan, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill. Ohio was one of the first three state hemp production plans approved by USDA.
From National Ag Law Authorities & Sources:
Brigit Rollins, New Year, New NEPA: Environmental Law Could See First Overhaul in Decades (January 16, 2020).
Tiffany Dowell, Will Dispute Arises Over Definition of “Personal Effects” (January 13, 2020).
Penn State Research & News:
Amy Duke, Scientists examine potential economic impact of spotted lanternfly in Pa. (January 15, 2020).
Gail McCormick, Including irregular time intervals improves animal movement studies (January 14, 2020).
AGENCY PRESS RELEASES—STATE/FEDERAL
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Press Releases:
No new releases Jan. 15-21, 2020
U.S. Department of Agriculture Press Releases:
USDA Invests $7.1 Million in Broadband for Rural Arkansas Communities (January 21, 2020).
USDA Invests $18.7 Million in Broadband for Rural West Virginia Communities (January 20, 2020).
USDA Announces School and Summer Meals Reforms (January 17, 2020).
USDA Invests $5.7 Million in Broadband for Rural Nebraska Communities (January 17, 2020).
USDA Invests $11 Million in Broadband for Rural Minnesota and Iowa Communities (January 17, 2020).
Secretary Perdue Statement on Senate Passage of USMCA (January 16, 2020).
USDA Announces Plenary Speakers for the 2020 Agricultural Outlook Forum (January 16, 2020).
USDA Announces Proposed Rule Regarding Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations (January 16, 2020).
USDA Seeks Input on New Ethanol Sales Infrastructure Incentive Program (January 16, 2020).
Secretary Perdue: China Phase I Deal is a Bonanza for American Agriculture (January 15, 2020).
Pennsylvania Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices:
Department of Agriculture
50 Pa.B. 331 “Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee Meeting [January 23, 2020]” Notice (January 18, 2020).
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
50 Pa.B. 332 “Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council Meeting [January 22, 2020]” Notice (January 18, 2020).
State Conservation Commission
50 Pa.B. 436 “Access to Odor Management Plans for Concentrated Animal Operations and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Volunteers Complying with the Commonwealth's Facility Odor Management Program” Notice (January 18, 2020).
50 Pa.B. 437 “Action on Odor Management Plans for Concentrated Animal Operations and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Volunteers Complying with the Commonwealth's Facility Odor Management Program” Notice (January 18, 2020).
Susquehanna River Basin Commission
50 Pa.B. 464 “Grandfathering Registration Notice” Notice (January 18, 2020).
50 Pa.B. 465 “Public Hearing [February 6, 2020]” Notice (January 18, 2020).
H.B. 1187 “An Act amending Title 30 (Fish) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in special licenses and permits, further providing for Lake Erie fishing permits” Third consideration and final passage [House] (January 15, 2020).
H.B. 1003 “An Act amending Title 30 (Fish) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in dams, bar racks and migration devices, further providing for marking of dams” Third consideration and final passage [House] (January 15, 2020).
H.B. 918 “An Act repealing the act of May 20, 1857 (P.L.617, No.658), entitled ‘An act making an Appropriation from the State Treasury, in aid of the Farmers’ High School’” Third consideration and final passage [House] (January 14, 2020).
H.B. 523 “An Act amending the act of June 13, 1836 (P.L.551, No.169), referred to as the General Road Law, further providing for repair of private roads” Third consideration and final passage [House) (January 14, 2020).
S.B. 986 “An Act amending the act of December 22, 1983 (P.L.303, No.83), referred to as the Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law, in methodology, further providing for methods of destruction of animals and exclusive method for small domestic animals” Referred to Agriculture and Rural Affairs [Senate] (January 17, 2020).
S.B. 989 “An Act amending Title 34 (Game) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in hunting and furtaking, providing for taking of bobcats prohibited” Re-referred to Game and Fisheries [Senate] (January 15, 2020).
H.B. 2221 “An Act amending Title 34 (Game) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in hunting and furtaking, further providing for unlawful devices and methods; and, in hunting and furtaking licenses, further providing for denial or revocation of licenses and for period of revocation” Referred to Game and Fisheries [House] (January 15, 2020).
H.B. 2218 “An Act amending the act of April 12, 1951 (P.L.90, No.21), known as the Liquor Code, in Pennsylvania liquor stores, further providing for sales by Pennsylvania liquor stores; and, in licenses and regulations and liquor, alcohol and malt and brewed beverages, further providing for wine expanded permits” Referred to Liquor Control [House] (January 15, 2020).
H.B. 2213 “An Act amending Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in land banks, further providing for acquisition of property” Referred to Urban Affairs [House] (January 14, 2020).
H. Res. 654 “A Resolution recognizing February 25, 2020, as "World Spay Day" in Pennsylvania” Reported as committed [House] (January 14, 2020).
H. Res. 653 “A Resolution designating the week of March 16 through 22, 2020, as ‘Maple Producers Week’ in Pennsylvania” Reported as committed [House] (January 14, 2020).
H. Res. 64 “A Resolution establishing a legislative task force on the delivery of high-speed broadband services and directing the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to conduct a study on the delivery of high-speed broadband services in unserved areas and underserved areas of this Commonwealth and to report its findings and recommendations to the House of Representatives” Removed from table [House] (January 14, 2020).
Federal Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices:
85 FR 2897 “Equal Opportunity for Religious Organizations in U.S. Department of Agriculture Programs: Implementation of Executive Order 13831” Proposed Rule—Comment Period (January 17, 2020).
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
85 FR 2621 “User Fees for Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection Services” Rule (January 16, 2020).
Commodity Credit Corporation
85 FR 2699 “Request for Information on a Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program” Notice—Comment Period (January 16, 2020).
Environmental Protection Agency
85 FR 2654 “Fenhexamid; Pesticide Tolerances” Rule—Comment Period (January 16, 2020).
85 FR 3371 “Pesticide Product Registration; Receipt of Applications for New Uses (November 2019)” Notice—Comment Period (January 21, 2020).
85 FR 3306 “Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine Standards” Proposed Rule—Comment Period (January 21, 2020).
Federal Communications Commission
85 FR 3044 “Wireline Competition Bureau Provides Guidance on the Implementation Schedule for Reforms Adopted by the Rural Health Care Program Promoting Telehealth Report and Order” Notice (January 17, 2020).
Federal Emergency Management Agency
85 FR 3397 “Proposed Flood Hazard Determinations [Utah]” Notice—Comment Period (January 21, 2020).
85 FR 3398 “Proposed Flood Hazard Determinations [Virginia]” Notice—Comment Period (January 21, 2020).
85 FR 3405 “Proposed Flood Hazard Determinations [Missouri]” Notice—Comment Period (January 21, 2020).
85 FR 3400 “Changes in Flood Hazard Determinations[Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas]” Notice (January 21, 2020).
85 FR 3402 “Final Flood Hazard Determinations [Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon]” Notice (January 21, 2020).
Food and Nutrition Service
85 FR 3335 “Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Determining Eligibility for Free and Reduced Price Meals and Free Milk” Notice—Comment Period (January 21, 2020).
85 FR 2384 “Boundary Establishment for Rio Chama National Wild and Scenic River, Santa Fe National Forest, Carson National Forest, and Bureau of Land Management Taos Field Office, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico” Notice (January 15, 2020).
85 FR 2383 “Boundary Establishment for Sipsey Fork of the West Fork National Wild and Scenic River, Bankhead National Forest, Lawrence and Winston Counties, Alabama” Notice (January 15, 2020).
85 FR 2384 “Allegheny Resource Advisory Committee [Meetings: February 21, February 28 and March 26, 2020]” Notice (January 15, 2020).
85 FR 2383 “Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board [Meeting]” Notice (January 15, 2020).
Homeland Security Department
85 FR 3067 “Identification of Foreign Countries Whose Nationals Are Eligible To Participate in the H-2A and H-2B Nonimmigrant Worker Programs” Notice (January 17, 2020).
85 FR 3078 “Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Efforts To Improve Outcomes” Notice—Comment Period (January 17, 2020).
Land Management Bureau
85 FR 3410 “Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Revision of Grazing Regulations for Public Lands” Notice (January 21, 2020).
National Park Service
85 FR 2437 “National Park System Advisory Board; Charter Renewal” Notice (January 15, 2020).
Small Business Administration
85 FR 3101 “Presidential Declaration Amendment of a Major Disaster for the State of South Dakota” Notice (January 17, 2020).
Wage and Hour Division
85 FR 2760 “Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Information Collections: Disclosures to Workers Under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act” Notice (January 16, 2020).
85 FR 2820 “Joint Employer Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” Rule (January 16, 2020).
U.S. House Agriculture Committee Actions:
H.R.5627 “MATCH Act of 2020 [To amend the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 with respect to pre-agreement costs of emergency watershed protection measures, and for other purposes]” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (January 16, 2020).
H.R.5430 “United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act” Message on Senate action sent to the House (January 16, 2020).
H.R.5601 “Property Rights Protection Act of 2020” Referred to Committees on Agriculture and Natural Resources (January 14, 2020).
H.R.4723 “Fish Act of 2019” Subcommittee Hearings Held (January 14, 2020).
U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, And Forestry Committee Actions:
S.3221 “A bill to place a moratorium on large concentrated animal feeding operations, to strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921, to require country of origin labeling on beef, pork, and dairy products, and for other purposes” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (January 21, 2020).
S.3106 “Reforestation Act of 2019” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (January 19, 2020).
S.3141 “Food Donation Improvement Act of 2019” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (January 19, 2020).
S.3214 “MATCH Act of 2020” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (January 16, 2020).
Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive AgLaw HotLinks
January 15-21, 2020 Top Tweets:
“Plant-based meat alternative market to post 11% growth” (January 15, 2020)
“Borden receives court approval to continue business as usual” (January 14, 2020).
“EU Commission bans Bayer pesticide linked to harming bees” (January 13, 2020).
“Ag groups hail USMCA passage by Senate” (January 16, 2020).
“High anxiety: Proposed US hemp rules worry industry” (January 13, 2020).
“Poland hit by another bird flu outbreak on goose farm” (January 13, 2020).
“Farm groups react to China-U.S. trade agreement” (January 15, 2020).
“Top ten agricultural law issues in 2019” (January 14, 2020).
“Pennsylvania Invests Big In Dairy” (January 16, 2020)
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