Audry Thompson—Research Assistant
Brook Duer—Staff Attorney
The Agricultural Law Weekly Review provides an update of recent agricultural law developments from local, state, national, and international levels. Subscribe at pennstateaglaw.com.
Want to listen to this Weekly Review? Check out the Agricultural Law Podcast.
COVID-19: Michigan Requires COVID-19 Testing for Agricultural Employees
On August 3, 2020, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the issuance of an Emergency Order by its director titled, “Mandatory Testing, Preventative Measures, and Safe Housing for Agricultural Workers.” Supported by the governor’s Executive Orders 2020-111 (June 1, 2020), 2020-137 (June 29, 2020), and 2020-161 (July 29, 2020), the Emergency Order requires agricultural employers and housing operators to provide COVID-19 testing for workers and residents. According to the order, housing operators must provide “one-time baseline testing” for all residents ages eighteen and over and all newly arriving residents within forty-eight hours of arrival. Agricultural employers of “migrant or seasonal workers, meat, poultry and egg processing facilities and greenhouses with over 20 employees on-site at a time” must also provide baseline testing and test all new employees before they begin “in-person work.” Housing operators and employers must create a plan to ensure their testing compliance by August 10, 2020 and baseline testing must be completed by August 24, 2020. MDHHS has also issued a Frequently Asked Questions document addressing testing logistics.
Organic Agriculture: AMS Proposes Organic Regulations Enforcement Rule
On August 5, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled, “National Organic Program; Strengthening Organic Enforcement” (85 FR 47536). Based on federal and industry recommendations and the 2018 Farm Bill, the proposed rule aims to “improve organic integrity” by expanding and strengthening certification requirements for entities throughout the organic supply chain, including requiring National Organic Program (NOP) certification for imported organic products. Among many changes, the proposed rule requires unannounced inspections of organic operations and specifies calculations of organic ingredients in multi-ingredient products. The proposed rule has a sixty-day comment period that ends October 5, 2020.
Dairy Policy: Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission Releases Final Report
On August 5, 2020, Pennsylvania’s Center for Dairy Excellence announced the publication of the final recommendations report from the Dairy Future Commission. Created by Act 66, which was signed into law on July 2, 2019, the Commission was tasked with reviewing and reporting on the condition of Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and crafting recommendations to support its growth. In keeping with its mission, the Commission issued fifty-four recommendations with implementation timelines of one, three, and five years, calling on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, state legislators and administrators, federal departments, dairy industry leaders, and others to employ specific changes. The Commission also developed an outreach toolkit with resources including letter templates, contact information, and report summaries that producers and dairy industry stakeholders can use to solicit action from their respective political and industry leaders.
COVID-19: Pennsylvania DEP Extends Milk Disposal Guidance to September 21, 2020
On August 6, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a second extension of its Memorandum of Guidelines titled “Emergency Land Application Of Milk Under COVID-19 - Temporary Suspension,” further permitting land application of milk not authorized under an existing Manure Management Plan (MMP) or Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) until September 21, 2020. Originally issued on April 17, 2020 with an expiration date of June 1, 2020, the memorandum was previously updated on May 27, 2020, extending the suspension until August 7, 2020. This most recent update leaves intact all previous guidelines and regulations governing the processes by which producers may dispose of excess milk. Although DEP currently permits land application of milk, the memorandum states that it is a “temporary solution” and that “if land application outside of an approved NMP or developed MMP can be avoided, it should be avoided.” For more on this topic, see the Agricultural Law Weekly Review—April 30, 2020, “Pennsylvania Permits Temporary Land Application of Excess Milk” and The Agricultural Law Podcast Special Episode #2: “Land Application of Excess Milk with Robert Meinen.”
COVID-19: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Pennsylvania Data
PENNSYLVANIA Payments Applications
Non-Specialty Crops $15,259, 611.94 3,989
Specialty Crops $3,761,208.03 71
Livestock $22,439,794.29 4,339
Dairy $77,818,505.29 2,410
TOTALS $119,279,119.55 10,809
COVID-19 Ag Legal Update Webinar Series
Penn State Law’s Center for Agricultural and Shale Law is conducting 60-minute webinars on COVID-19 legal developments viewable live or recorded, via the links provided below.
Next Webinar: August 11, 2020, at 3:00 pm
Past Webinars can be viewed at the following links:
COVID-19 Ag Legal Update Webinar #3 – Focus on Labor Laws Compliance (recorded June 14, 2020)
COVID-19 Ag Legal Update Webinar #2 - Focus on Dairy (recorded June 24, 2020)
COVID-19 Ag Legal Update Webinar #1 - Overview of state and federal government responses (recorded June 3, 2020)
From National Ag Law Authorities & Sources:
Roger A. McEowen, The Use of the LLC For the Farm or Ranch Business – Practical Application (Aug. 5, 2020).
Brigit Rollins, Up for Debate: FWS Proposes Definition for “Habitat” (Aug. 6, 2020).
Penn State Research & News:
AGENCY PRESS RELEASES—STATE/FEDERAL
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Press Releases:
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Press Releases:
USDA Extends Deadlines, Defers Interest Accrual Due to COVID-19 (Aug. 5, 2020).
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agencies Press Releases:
Pennsylvania Executive Agencies (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 50, No. 32 Aug 8, 2020):
No relevant actions.
H.B. 2724 “An Act amending the act. . . entitled "An act encouraging landowners to make land and water areas available to the public for recreational purposes by limiting liability in connection therewith, and repealing certain acts," further providing for definitions; and providing for recreational user's claim for property rights and for the substitution of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for a party in litigation.” Referred to Tourism and Recreational Development [House] (Aug. 6, 2020).
H.B. 2740 “An Act amending. . . The Fiscal Code, in emergency COVID-19 response, providing for Nonprofit Economic Emergency Delivery System Grants Program.” Referred to Appropriations [House] (Aug. 6, 2020).
H.B. 2742 “An Act amending Title 27 (Environmental Resources) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, establishing the Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention and providing for powers and duties.” Referred to Environmental Resources and Energy [House] (Aug. 6, 2020).
H.B. 2746 “An Act amending Title 66 (Public Utilities) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in rates and distribution systems, further providing for valuation of acquired water and wastewater systems; and providing for water ratepayer bill of rights.” Referred to Consumer Affairs [House] (Aug. 6, 2020).
Federal Executive Agencies (Federal Register August 3–7, 2020):
85 FR 47160 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [National Agricultural Statistics Service: Land Leasing Survey in Oklahoma” (Aug. 4, 2020).
85 FR 47729 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Food and Nutrition Service: Turnip the Beet! High Quality Summer Meals Program]” (Aug. 6, 2020).
Agricultural Marketing Service
85 FR 47293 Rule—Comment Period: “National Dairy Promotion and Research Program; National Dairy Promotion and Research Board Importer Representation” (Aug. 5, 2020).
85 FR 47305 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Walnuts Grown in California; Recommended Decision and Opportunity To File Written Exceptions” (Aug. 5, 2020).
85 FR 47536 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “National Organic Program; Strengthening Organic Enforcement” (Aug. 5, 2020).
Delaware River Basin Commission
85 FR 47194 Notice: “Notice of Public Hearing [Wednesday, August 12, 2020] and Business Meeting [Wednesday, September 10, 2020]” (Aug. 4, 2020).
Environmental Protection Agency
85 FR 47205 Notice—Comment Period: “State Formula Allocations for Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Grants” (Aug. 4, 2020)
85 FR 47330 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Receipt of a Pesticide Petition Filed for Residues of Pesticide Chemicals in or on Various Commodities (June 2020)” (Aug. 5, 2020).
85 FR 47962 Notice—Comment Period: “Pesticide Experimental Use Permit; Receipt of Application; Comment Request (May 2020)” (Aug. 7, 2020).
Executive Office of the President
85 FR 47881 Presidential Document: “Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access” (Aug. 6, 2020).
Farm Credit Administration
85 FR 47964 Notice: “Farm Credit Administration Board” (Aug. 7, 2020).
Federal Emergency Management Agency
85 FR 46685 Notice: “Alabama; Major Disaster and Related Determinations” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 46685 Notice: “Mississippi; Major Disaster and Related Determinations” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 46686 Notice: “Alabama; Major Disaster and Related Determinations” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 46686 Notice: “Hawaii; Major Disaster and Related Determinations” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 46687 Notice: “Michigan; Major Disaster and Related Determinations” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 46687 Notice: “Utah; Major Disaster and Related Determinations” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 46688 Notice: “North Dakota; Major Disaster and Related Determinations” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 46689 Notice: “Arkansas; Major Disaster and Related Determinations” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 46690 Notice: “Missouri; Major Disaster and Related Determinations” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 46690 Notice: “Tennessee; Major Disaster and Related Determinations” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 47673 Rule: “Suspension of Community Eligibility [Pennsylvania]” (Aug. 6, 2020).
Fish and Wildlife Service
85 FR 47333 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Regulations for Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitat” (Aug. 5, 2020).
Food and Drug Administration
85 FR 47798 Notice: “Phibro Animal Health Corp.; Carbadox in Medicated Swine Feed; Revocation of Approved Method; Correction” (Aug. 6, 2020).
85 FR 47797 Notice: “Inorganic Arsenic in Rice Cereals for Infants: Action Level; Guidance for Industry; Availability” (Aug. 6, 2020).
85 FR 47794 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Extralabel Drug Use in Animals” (Aug. 6, 2020).
85 FR 47796 Notice—Comment Period: “Establishing and Maintaining a List of U.S. Manufacturers/Processors of Feed Additives, Premixes, Compound Feed, Distillers' Dried Grains, and Distillers' Dried Grains with Solubles for Use with Animals with Interest in Exporting to The People's Republic of China” (Aug. 6, 2020).
85 FR 47801 Notice—Comment Period: “Channels of Trade Policy for Commodities With Residues of Pesticide Chemicals, for Which Tolerances Have Been Revoked, Suspended, or Modified by the Environmental Protection Agency Pursuant to Dietary Risk Considerations” (Aug. 6, 2020).
Food and Safety Inspection Service
85 FR 47338 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Request for Renewal of an Approved Information Collection (Marking, Labeling and Packaging)” (Aug. 5, 2020).
Small Business Administration
85 FR 46775 Notice: “504 Debt Refinancing Without Expansion-Borrower's Contribution for Projects Involving Limited or Single Purpose Buildings During Recession” (Aug. 3, 2020).
85 FR 47284 Notice: “Administrative Declaration of a Disaster for the State of California [Niland Fire]” (Aug. 4, 2020).
U.S. House Agriculture Committee Actions:
H.R.7899 “To amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to provide an incentive for households participating in the supplemental nutrition assistance program to purchase certain nutritious fruits and vegetables that are beneficial to good health.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (July 31, 2020).
H.R.7916 “To temporarily waive section 115 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 as applied to the TANF and SNAP programs, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committees on Ways and Means and Agriculture (July 31, 2020).
H.R.7940 “To amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to fully protect the safety of children and the environment, to remove dangerous pesticides from use, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (Aug. 4, 2020).
U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, And Forestry Committee Actions:
S.4406 “A bill to amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to fully protect the safety of children and the environment, to remove dangerous pesticides from use, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Aug. 4, 2020).
S.4433 “A bill to authorize the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Aug. 4, 2020).
S.4434 “A bill to carry out a Civilian Conservation Corps program, provide supplemental appropriations for certain conservation activities, to provide for increased reforestation across the United States, to provide incentives for agricultural producers to carry out climate stewardship practices, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Aug. 4, 2020).
S.4447 “A bill to amend the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to temporarily modify child nutrition programs due to COVID-19, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Aug. 5, 2020).
S.4451 “A bill to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to guarantee investments that will open new markets for forest owners in rural areas of the United States, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Aug. 5, 2020).
S.4453 “A bill to protect the continuity of the food supply chain of the United States in response to COVID-19, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Aug. 5, 2020).
S.4470 “A bill to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to subsidize payments on loans made under certain rural development loan programs, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Aug. 6, 2020).
Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw to receive #AgLaw HotLinks
August 3–7, 2020 Top #AgLaw links:
Ag May Already be Climate Neutral, Feedstuffs (July 29, 2020).
China Accelerates U.S. Corn Buying with Record Purchase, Farm Progress (July 30, 2020).
Post-COVID Changes to the Food Supply Chain, Brownfield (July 31, 2020).
As Schools Shut Down, a New Federal Program Eased Child Hunger, Study Finds, New York Times (July 30, 2020).
Judge to Rule on Workers’ Complaints About Pa. Meat-Packing Plant Coronavirus Safety Steps, PennLive (Aug. 1, 2020).
GI Protections Could be Core Principle in Future Trade Agreements, Brownfield (Aug. 3, 2020).
Lawmakers Work to Protect Ag Fairs, Brownfield (July 31, 2020).
"Got Milk?" Ads Make a Comeback, Morning Ag Clips (Aug. 3, 2020).
Tyson Launches COVID-19 Monitoring Strategy, Brownfield (July 31, 2020).
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