Monday, August 31, 2020

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—week ending August 28, 2020


Written by: 
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

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COVID-19: FDA and OSHA Publish Food Operation COVID-19 Checklist 

On August 19, 2020 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a checklist titled, “Employee Health and Food Safety Checklist for Human and Animal Food Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” intended to serve as a quick guide for domestic and foreign producers, manufacturers, and processors of FDA-regulated human and animal food.  The checklist is divided into two categories: 1) employee health and work environment logistics, which includes illustrated examples of acceptable and unacceptable work space configurations, and 2) food safety.  According to announcements from FDA and OSHA, the checklist should be used alongside “sector-specific” guidance, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) joint interim guidance for agriculture workers and employers and the CDC-OSHA joint guidance for meat and poultry processing workers and employers.                                                             

COVID-19: $1 Billion Added for Third Round of Farmers to Families Food Box Distributions

On August 25, 2020, USDA announced up to $1 billion in additional funding for a third round of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program funding, as authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law No: 116-127, March 18, 2020).  USDA also published a list of entities already awarded agreements for its third round of Food Box distributions based upon previous agreement terms.  The first and second rounds covered the periods of May 15, 2020 - June 30, 2020 and July 1, 2020 - August 31, 2020, respectively.  Submissions for the third round can be made immediately and there is no submission deadline.  The performance period runs until August 15, 2022, converting the program to an open-ended standing list of contractors eligible for participation throughout the next two years, regardless of additional funding subsequently added. 

Farm Bill Programs: USDA Amends Ag Subsidy Payment Eligibility and Limitations

On August 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) published in the Federal Register a final rule titled “Payment Limitation and Payment Eligibility” (85 FR 52033; 7 CFR 1400).  The rule implements several changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill, including creating separate payment category limitations for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP); removing payment limits for Marketing Loan Gains (MLG), Loan Deficiency Payments (LDP), and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm Raised Fish Program (ELAP); and amending the definition of “significant contribution” as factor in establishing “active personal management” for the purposes of payments eligibility.  Under the final rule, active personal management involves activities performed by a person on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis that consists of either 25 percent of the total management hours required for the farming operation annually or at least 500 hours of management annually.  The rule is effective August 20, 2020. 

COVID-19:  Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Pennsylvania Data 

Every Monday, USDA updates its publicly available data on aggregate Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments.  Pennsylvania totals as of August 24, 2020, are below:  

PENNSYLVANIA             Payments Applications

Non-Specialty Crops   $20,436,969.03     4,416  

Specialty Crops           $5,463,888.12         88

Livestock            $30,238,067.57     4,924     

Dairy    $101,611,480.50     2,529  

Aquanursery    $12,180.00                   0

TOTALS         $157,762,585.22     11,957

Subscribe to the Pennsylvania Farm Employers’ Listserv 

The Penn State Center for Agricultural and Shale Law invites all Pennsylvania agricultural employers to participate in the newly-established Pennsylvania Farm Employers’ Listserv (PFEL).  The PFEL is an email networking and resource-sharing group specifically tailored to agricultural labor issues for those with human resources responsibilities at agricultural operations  To subscribe, please send an email to:  In the subject line, type “subscribe” and type any word in the body (to circumvent spam filtering).  

From National Ag Law Authorities & Sources: 

Kristine A. Tidgren, An Update on PPP Forgiveness (Aug. 29, 2020).

Brigit Rollins, Jumping the Gun? Government Says NEPA Challenges are Premature (Aug. 27, 2020).

Paul Goeringer, CEQ Finalizes First Update to the National Environmental Policy Act Since 1978 (Aug. 25, 2020).

Roger A. McEowen, Court Developments in Agricultural Law and Taxation (Aug. 24, 2020).

Penn State Research & News:

Reducing Transmission Risk of Livestock Disease (Aug. 24, 2020).

Advanced Biofuels Show Promise for Replacing Some Fossil Fuels (Aug. 25, 2020)


Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Press Releases:

Department of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, August 17-23 (Aug. 25, 2020).

Department of Agriculture Reminds Pennsylvanians Importance of Saving Pet Food Lot Numbers (Aug. 28, 2020).

Agriculture Department Revises Chronic Wasting Disease Quarantine Requirements for Deer Farms in Bedford, Blair, Fulton Counties (Aug. 28, 2020).

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Press Releases:

Trump Administration Invests $46 Million in Rural Community Facilities in 16 States (Aug. 24, 2020).

USDA Encourages Ag Producers, Residents to Prepare for Tropical Storms Marco and Laura (Aug. 24, 2020). 

USDA Assists Farmers, Ranchers, and Communities Affected by Recent Wildfires (Aug. 25, 2020). 

USDA Announces First-Ever Recipients of Urban Agriculture Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Aug. 25, 2020).

Trump Administration Announces Additional $1 billion for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program (Aug. 25, 2020).

USDA and Wyoming Sign Shared Stewardship Agreement to Improve Forests and Grasslands (Aug. 25, 2020).

EPA and USDA Announce Competition to Advance Agricultural Sustainability in the United States (Aug. 26, 2020).

USDA Announces Approval of D-SNAP for Iowa Disaster Areas (Aug. 27, 2020).

1890 Land-grant Universities Celebrate 130 Years of Cutting-edge Science, Education and Community Service (Aug. 28, 2020).

Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 75 Million Boxes Delivered (Aug. 28, 2020).

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agencies Press Releases:

USDA to Launch Updated Animal Welfare Act Compliance Database and Public Search Tool (Aug. 24, 2020).

USDA Extends Signup Deadline for New Conservation Pilot Program in Prairie Pothole Region (Aug. 26, 2020). 

Deadline Approaching for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (Aug. 28, 2020).

USDA Announces No Actions Under Feedstock Flexibility Program (Aug. 28, 2020).


Pennsylvania Executive Agencies (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 50, No. 35 Aug 29, 2020): 

Department of Agriculture

50 Pa.B. 4395 Notice: “General Quarantine Order; Cervid Movement Restrictions Within Core Captive Management Zone.”

Department of Environmental Protection

50 Pa.B. 4458 Notice: “Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program; Grant Opportunity.”

50 Pa.B. 4459 Notice: “Availability of Grants through the Coastal Zone Grant Program.” 

Department of Health

50 Pa.B. 4460 Notice: “Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC Program); Announcement of the Request for Application to Provide Services for WIC Program.”

Governor’s Office

50 Pa.B. 4381 “Amendment to Proclamation of Disaster Emergency.”

State Conservation Commission

50 Pa.B. 4475; 50 Pa.B. 4476; 50 Pa.B. 4476; 50 Pa.B. 4478; 50 Pa.B. 4479

Notices: “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.” 

Susquehanna River Basin Commission

50 Pa.B. 4480 Notice: “Projects Approved for Consumptive Uses of Water.”

50 Pa.B. 4480 Notice: “Grandfathering Registration Notice.”

50 Pa.B. 4481 Notice: “Projects Approved for Minor Modifications.”

50 Pa.B. 4482 Notice: “Telephonic Commission Meeting [Friday, September 18, 2020].” 

Pennsylvania Legislature

Senate Legislation

SB 1260 “An Act amending . . . the Milk Marketing Law, in purpose, short title and definitions, further providing for definitions and construction; in licenses of milk dealers, providing for milk distributors required to be licensed and for refusal, suspension or revocation of license; and, in records, reports and information, further providing for records and for reports.” Referred to Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Aug. 24, 2020). 

SB 1261 “An Act amending t. . . the Milk Marketing Fee Act, further providing for milk dealer license fees generally and for license fees for certain milk dealers.” Referred to Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Aug. 24, 2020). 

SB 1278 “An Act amending . . . the Tax Reform Code of 1971, in personal income tax, providing for small businesses.” Referred to Finance (Aug. 24, 2020).

House Legislation

HB 2821 “An Act establishing the Pennsylvania Brewery, Distillery and Winery Manufacturers COVID-19 Grant Program; imposing powers and duties on the Department of Community and Economic Development; and making an appropriation.” Referred to Liquor Control (Aug. 28, 2020).

HB 2553 “An Act amending . . . the Human Services Code, in public assistance, establishing the SNAP Healthy Bucks Incentive Program.” Re-referred to Health (Aug. 28, 2020).


Federal Executive Agencies (Federal Register August 24–28, 2020): 

Agriculture Department

85 FR 52942 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Food and Nutrition Service: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program Regulations—Reporting and Recordkeeping Burden].” (Aug. 27, 2020).

85 FR 53317 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Agricultural Marketing Service

Title: Regulations Governing for Voluntary Grading of Shell Eggs, Poultry Product, and Rabbit Product].” (Aug. 28, 2020). 

85 FR 53137 Final Rule: “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation.” (Aug. 28, 2020).

Agricultural Marketing Service 

85 FR 52278 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Walnuts Grown in California; Changes to Reporting Requirements.” (Aug. 25, 2020).

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

85 FR 52085 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Request for Approval of an Information Collection; Volunteer Service Agreements and Volunteer Service Time and Attendance Record” (Aug. 24, 2020).

85 FR 52541 Notice: “Notice of Determination of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease Status of Romania.” (Aug. 26, 2020).

Employment and Training Administration

85 FR 52364 Notice: “Post-Initial Determinations Regarding Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance.” (Aug. 25, 2020).

85 FR 52360 Notice: “Notice of Determinations Regarding Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance.” (Aug. 25, 2020).

Environmental Protection Agency

85 FR 52347 Notice: “Cancellation Order for Certain Pesticide Registrations and Amendments To Terminate Uses.” (Aug. 25, 2020).

85 FR 52349 Notice: “Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Advisory Committee (FRRCC); Notice of Virtual Public Meeting.” (Aug. 25, 2020).

85 FR 52346 Notice—Comment Period: “Pesticide Product Registration; Receipt of Applications for New Uses (July 2020).” (Aug. 25, 2020).

85 FR 52483 Final Rule—Comment Period: “Inpyrfluxam; Pesticide Tolerances.” (Aug. 26, 2020).

85 FR 52601 Notice: “Pesticide Registration Review; Interim Decisions for Several Pesticides; Notice of Availability.” (Aug. 26, 2020).

85 FR 52592 Notice: “Difenacoum; Product Cancellation Order for Certain Pesticide Registrations.” (Aug. 26, 2020).

85 FR 53362 Notice—Comment Period: “Pesticide Product Registration; Receipt of Applications for New Active Ingredients (July 2020).” (Aug. 28, 2020).

85 FR 53368 Notice—Comment Period: “Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Standards for Pesticide Containers and Containment (Renewal).” (Aug. 28, 2020)

Farm Credit Administration

85 FR 52248 Final Rule: “Criteria To Reinstate Non-Accrual Loans.” (Aug. 25, 2020).

Federal Emergency Management Agency

85 FR 52052 Final Rule: “Suspension of Community Eligibility [La., Wash.].” (Aug. 24, 2020).

Fish and Wildlife Service 

85 FR 53260 Final Rule: “Migratory Bird Hunting; Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits for Certain Migratory Game Birds.” (Aug. 28, 2020).

85 FR 53247 Final Rule: “Migratory Bird Hunting; Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations on Certain Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands for the 2020-21 Season.” (Aug. 28, 2020).

Food and Nutrition Service

85 FR 52025 Final Rule: “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: 2008 Farm Bill Provisions on Clarification of Split Issuance; Accrual of Benefits and Definition Changes.” (Aug. 24, 2020).

85 FR 52471 Final Rule: “Taking Administrative Actions Pending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Processing.” (Aug. 26, 2020).

85 FR 52942 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities: FNS Information Collection Needs due to COVID-19.” (Aug. 27, 2020). 

85 FR 52945 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Emergency Allotments (COVID-19).” (Aug. 27, 2020). 

85 FR 53319 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities: National Study of State Adoption and Use of Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer During Covid-19.”  (Aug. 28, 2020).

Food and Safety Inspection Service

85 FR 52300 Notice—Comment Period: “Food Safety: Consumer Outreach and Education Today and for the Future.” (Aug. 25, 2020).

Small Business Administration

85 FR 52402 Notice: “Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster for Public Assistance Only for the State of Iowa [Severe Storms].” (Aug. 25, 2020).

85 FR 52656 Notice: “Administrative Declaration of a Disaster for the State of Illinois [Severe Storms and Flash Flooding].” (Aug. 26, 2020).

85 FR 52656 Notice: “Administrative Declaration of a Disaster for the State of Missouri [Severe Storms, Flooding and Flash Flooding].” (Aug. 26, 2020).

85 FR 52657 Notice: “Administrative Declaration of a Disaster for the State of North Carolina [Hurricane Isaias].” (Aug. 26, 2020).

85 FR 52883 Interim Final Rule—Comment Period: “Appeals of SBA Loan Review Decisions Under the Paycheck Protection Program.” (Aug. 27, 2020).

85 FR 52881 Interim Final Rule—Comment Period: “Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program-Treatment of Owners and Forgiveness of Certain Nonpayroll Costs.” (Aug. 27, 2020).

85 FR 53057 Notice: “Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster for the State of Iowa [Severe Storms].” (Aug. 27, 2020).

85 FR 53428 Notice: “Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster for the State of California [Wildfires].” (Aug. 28, 2020).

85 FR 53427 Notice: “Presidential Declaration Amendment of a Major Disaster for Public Assistance Only for the State of Arkansas [Severe Storms and Straight-line Winds].” (Aug. 28, 2020).

Surface Transportation Board

85 FR 52402 Notice: “Notice of National Grain Car Council Meeting [Thursday, September 10, 2020].” (Aug. 25, 2020).

U.S. House Legislation:

H.R.7781 “End Polluter Welfare Act of 2020.” Referred to the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands (Aug. 21, 2020).

H.R.8096 “To direct the Secretary of Agriculture to make payments to direct marketing farmers affected by COVID-19, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (Aug. 25, 2020).

H.R.8135 “To amend the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to increase pandemic EBT benefits for eligible children whose schools are closed to purchase fruits and vegetables they would have otherwise been able to receive in schools.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (Aug. 28, 2020).

H.R.8131 “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to establish Hemp Opportunity Zones.” Referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Agriculture (Aug. 28, 2020).

U.S. Senate Legislation: 

No new actions August 24–28, 2020.

Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw to receive #AgLaw HotLinks

August 24–28, 2020 Top #AgLaw links:

Science Confirms Coronavirus Not Transmitted by Food, Feedstuffs (Aug. 21, 2020).

Want More New Farmers on the Land? Give Landowners a Tax Break., Civil Eats (Aug. 20, 2020).

Hormel Launches Plant-Based Foods, Farm Progress (Aug. 21, 2020).

No Longer ‘Finger Lickin Good': Kentucky Fried Chicken Drops its Famous Slogan During Coronavirus Pandemic, PennLive (Aug. 25, 2020). 

Nearly 100 RFS Exemption Requests Await EPA Action, Feedstuffs (Aug. 24, 2020).

USDA Tightens Eligibility Rules for Farm Subsidies, Successful Farming (Aug. 24, 2020).

Chief Ag Negotiator Says Ag Relationship with China is Strong, Brownfield (Aug. 21, 2020)

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