Monday, October 19, 2020

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—week ending October 16, 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

Want to listen to this Weekly Review? Check out the Penn State Agricultural Law Podcast.  


Antitrust: JBS Subsidiary Pilgrim’s Pride Pleads Guilty to Price-Fixing 

On October 14, 2020, Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (Pilgrim’s), a wholly-owned subsidiary of JBS S.A., issued an announcement stating that it has entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding its involvement in broiler chicken price-fixing.  According to the announcement, Pilgrim’s will pay $110,524,140 in exchange for no further charges if remaining in compliance with the plea agreement, which remains subject to approval from the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. United States v. Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, No. 1:20-cr-00330.  Multiple over parties remain charged via the same indictment.  For previous developments on this topic, see ALWR—week ending October 9, 2020, “U.S. Department of Justice Indicts Six More Poultry Executives Over Alleged Price Fixing.” 

U.S. Department of Justice: JBS’ Parent Company J&F Pleads Guilty to Bribery 

On October 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that JBS S.A.’s parent company J&F Investimentos SA (J&F) entered into a plea agreement, pleading guilty to charges of bribery and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  According to the DOJ, J&F used “shell companies” with New York-based bank accounts to funnel bribery payments to Brazilian officials for Brazilian state-controlled bank financing and a state-owned pension fund merger.  Under the plea agreement, J&F will pay a $256,497,026 fine, with $47 million due within ten days of the entry of judgment on October 15, 2020. United States v. J&F Investimentos SA, No. 1:20-cr-00365

Industrial Hemp: Second Lawsuit Filed Against DEA Hemp Interim Rule

On October 12, 2020 the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) filed a second lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) challenging the agency’s August 21, 2020 interim final rule (85 FR 51639) regarding hemp.  The new lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks a declaratory judgment “confirm[ing] that the hemp production process does not violate the [Controlled Substances Act]” Hemp Industries Association et al v. U.S. DEA, No. 1:20-cv-02921.  According to the complaint, HIA claims that DEA’s interim final rule is a “faulty interpretation of the 2018 Farm Bill” because it accords Schedule I status to two “necessary and inevitable” hemp processing byproducts: “intermediate hemp material” and “waste hemp material,” thereby “criminaliz[ing] key steps of hemp production.”  For more on HIA’s other pending suit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, see ALWR—week ending September 25, 2020, “Lawsuit Challenges DEA Hemp Interim Final Rule.” 

Invasive Species: New York Expands Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine and Oregon Detects First Spotted Lanternfly

On October 8, 2020, a revised New York Department of Agriculture and Markets final rule on spotted lanternfly quarantine requirements became effective. The rule simply conforms the list of Pennsylvania counties, from which a certificate of inspection must accompany imported goods, to the list of counties under Pennsylvania’s quarantine.  Businesses transporting goods from these Pennsylvania counties must possess a spotted lanternfly permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) and inspect and self-certify their shipments.  Through a reciprocity agreement, New York has agreed this will satisfy New York’s requirements.  Also on October 8, 2020, the Oregon Department of Agriculture announced that a dead spotted lanternfly by a nursery in a shipment of ceramic pots and planters from Pennsylvania. Oregon has declined to implement control measures at this time.

Water Quality: Executive Order Creates Water Subcabinet

On October 13, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an executive order establishing an “interagency Water Policy Committee,” or Water Subcabinet consisting of the Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator and the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Army, and the Interior.  The order directs the subcabinet to identify all federal water-related task forces for coordination and consolidation within 90 days and, within 120 days, submit a report detailing needed actions to improve water systems, water quality, water research, and drought resilience. 

Conservation Programs: USDA Publishes Final Rule on Conservation Stewardship Program

On October 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) published in the Federal Register its final rule (85 FR 63993) on its Conservation Stewardship Program, which provides financial assistance for conservation practices.  The final rule incorporates changes imposed by the 2018 Farm Bill and is effective upon publication. 

Antimicrobial Use: FDA Holds Meeting on Proposed Approach for Antimicrobial Drug Ranking 

On October 13, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a Federal Register notice of an upcoming public meeting titled, “Potential Approach for Ranking of Antimicrobial Drugs According to Their Importance in Human Medicine: A Risk Management Tool for Antimicrobial New Animal Drugs” (85 FR 64481).  The agency seeks commentary on a concept paper detailing criteria and processes for ranking antimicrobial drugs.  The meeting will be held November 16, 2020, and interested parties must register to attend no later than November 12, 2020 via email. The notice also carries a public comment period which closes January 15, 2021.

COVID-19:  CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 Pennsylvania Data 

Weekly, USDA updates aggregate Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 1 (CFAP 1) and Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) payments.  The latest available Pennsylvania totals are below:  

PENNSYLVANIA CFAP 1 Payments     Approved Applications (as of 10/11/20)

Dairy $105,261,779 2,755

Livestock           $33,825,654 5,862

Non-Specialty Crops   $22,518,615 5,014

Specialty Crops           $8,400,730             165

Aqua Nursery Flora     $1,018,485               20

TOTALS         $171,025,263 13,816

PENNSYLVANIA CFAP 2 Payments             Approved Applications (as of 10/13/20)

Dairy $30,111,638     892

Sales Commodities $15,670,529           230  

Acreage-Based         $18,939,140   1,853

Livestock           $9,485,861   1,564

Eggs/Broilers   $1,839,211       49

TOTALS         $76,046,380           4,588

2019-2020 ACRE Report

On October 15, 2020, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General issued the Fifteenth Annual Report on its administration of Pennsylvania's Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment statute, otherwise known as "ACRE," during the state fiscal year running from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.  Twenty new cases were received requesting review of municipal ordinances alleged to unreasonably restrict normal agricultural operations and nine of those cases  remain open. The report outlines each of the twenty cases as as well as summarizing the status and outcome of prior cases.  

Agricultural Law/Policy Resources of Interest: 

Micah Brown, Lending for Livestock, Credit for Crops: The Basics of Secured Transactions in Agriculture (Oct. 13, 2020).

Kristine A. Tidgren, Simplified Forgiveness for PPP Loans of $50,000 or Less (Oct. 14, 2020).

Brigit Rollins, Water Rights Dispute: Public Trust Doctrine in Front of NV Supreme Court(Oct. 15, 2020).

Penn State Research & News:

Building a Landslide Prediction Tool with Google and AI (Oct. 14, 2020).

Grant Supports Study of How Carnivorous Plants Repurpose Genes to Digest Prey (Oct. 14, 2020).


Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Press Releases:

Department Of Agriculture Releases COVID-19 Restaurant Enforcement Actions, October 5 - October 11 (Oct. 13, 2020).

Agriculture Department Warns Consumers To Discard E. Coli-Tainted Crystal Brook Farm Raw Goat Milk Products (Oct. 14, 2020).

Wolf Administration Highlights Benefits Of Self-Certification For Pennsylvania Restaurants (Oct. 15, 2020).

Virtual 2021 PA Farm Show Offers Competitive Opportunities, Exhibitor Rules And Regulations Modified Amid COVID-19 Pandemic (Oct. 16, 2020).

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

Trump Administration Invests $6.3 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Colorado (Oct. 13, 2020).

Trump Administration Invests $46.5 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Alaska (Oct. 13, 2020).

Trump Administration Invests $5.4 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Iowa (Oct. 13, 2020).

Trump Administration Invests $46.4 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Illinois (Oct. 13, 2020).

Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Trillion Trees EO (Oct. 13, 2020).

Trump Administration Invests $5.5 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Central South Dakota (Oct. 14, 2020).

Trump Administration Invests More Than $43 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Idaho, Oregon and Nevada (Oct. 14, 2020).

Trump Administration Invests $10.8 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Montana (Oct. 14, 2020).

Trump Administration Invests $1.5 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Eastern South Dakota (Oct. 14, 2020).

Trump Administration Invests $6 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural South Dakota (Oct. 15, 2020).

Trump Administration Invests $750,000 in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Pennsylvania (Oct. 15, 2020).

ICYMI: USDA Extends Free Meals for All Kids (Oct. 16, 2020).

Trump Administration Invests $252,000 in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Wyoming (Oct. 16, 2020).

Trump Administration Welcomes Amazon to the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions (Oct. 16, 2020).

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

USDA Issues Draft Select Agent Policy Statement on Studying Brucella Species in Large Animal Outdoor Containment, APHIS (Oct. 14, 2020).

APHIS Announces $2.8 million in Funding to Combat Chronic Wasting Disease, APHIS (Oct. 15, 2020).

Availability of Preliminary Plant Pest Risk Assessment and Draft Environmental Assessment for Petition to Deregulate Cotton Developed Using Genetic Engineering, APHIS (Oct. 16, 2020).

Enrollment Begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs for 2021, FSA (Oct. 14, 2020).

USDA Issues $1.68 Billion in Payments to Producers Enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, FSA (Oct. 15, 2020).


Pennsylvania Executive Agencies (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 50, No. 42—Oct. 17, 2020): 

Department of Agriculture

50 Pa.B. 5761 Notice: “Holding and Humane Disposition of Stray Unlicensed Dogs.”

Department of Environmental Protection

50 Pa.B. 5806 Notice: “Agricultural Advisory Board Virtual Meeting.”

Susquehanna River Basin Commission

50 Pa.B. 5824 Notice: “Telephonic Public Hearing.”

Pennsylvania Legislature

Presented to the Governor

HB 2487 “An Act amending . . . the Public Official Compensation Law, further providing for judicial salaries, for compensation of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, State Treasurer, Auditor General, Attorney General, Commissioners of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and heads of departments and for members of the General Assembly; providing for cost-of-living adjustment hiatus; and making a repeal.” Approved by Governor, Act No. 79 (Oct. 16, 2020).

HB 2513 “An Act amending . . . The Administrative Code of 1929, providing for establishment operation [‘Re-Open Restaurants’].” Vetoed by Governor, Veto No. 13 (Oct. 16, 2020).

House Legislation

HB 2928 “An Act amending . . . the Dog Law, in quarantines, dogs at large, confinement, further providing for seizure and detention of dogs and costs and destruction of dogs.” Referred to Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Oct. 14, 2020).

HRes 1046 “A Resolution designating the month of October 2020 as "Wine, Wineries and Grapes Month" in Pennsylvania.” Introduced as Noncontroversial Resolution (Oct. 16, 2020).


Federal Executive Agencies (Federal Register Oct. 12–16, 2020): 

Agricultural Department 

85 FR 64441 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Food and Nutrition Service: Survey of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Work]” (Oct. 13, 2020).

85 FR 65026 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [National Agricultural Statistics Service: Agricultural Prices]” (Oct. 14, 2020).

85 FR 65500 Final Rule: “Revision of Delegations of Authority” (Oct. 15, 2020).

Agricultural Marketing Service 

85 FR 64415 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Irish Potatoes Grown in Washington; Suspension of Reporting and Assessment Requirements”  (Oct. 13, 2020).

85 FR 65190 Rule, correction: “Revisions to the Federal Seed Act Regulations; Correction” (Oct. 15, 2020).

85 FR 65788 Notice—Comment Period: “Domestic Hemp Production Program, Request for Approval of a New Information Collection” (Oct. 16, 2020).

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

85 FR 65789 Notice—Comment Period: “Monsanto Company; Availability of a Draft Plant Pest Risk Assessment and Draft Environmental Assessment for Determination of Nonregulated Status of Cotton Genetically Engineered for Insect Resistance” (Oct. 16, 2020).

Environmental Protection Agency

85 FR 65729 Final Rule—Comments Accepted: “Methyl Bromide; Pesticide Tolerance for Emergency Exemptions” (Oct. 16, 2020).

Fish and Wildlife Service 

85 FR 64527 Notice—Comment Period: “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 5-Year Reviews of 10 Northeastern Species”  (Oct. 13, 2020).

85 FR 64618 Proposed Rule, withdrawal: “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Withdrawal of the Proposed Rule for the North American Wolverine”  (Oct. 13, 2020).

85 FR 65241 Final Rule: “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reclassification of the American Burying Beetle From Endangered to Threatened With a Section 4(d) Rule” (Oct. 15, 2020).

Food and Drug Administration:

85 FR 65825 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Irradiation in the Production, Processing, and Handling of Food” (Oct. 16, 2020).

85 FR 64481 Notice: “Potential Approach for Ranking of Antimicrobial Drugs According to Their Importance in Human Medicine: A Risk Management Tool for Antimicrobial New Animal Drugs; Public Meeting; Request for Comments” (Oct. 13, 2020).

Small Business Administration

85 FR 64605 Notice: “Presidential Declaration Amendment of a Major Disaster for Public Assistance Only for the State of Louisiana [Hurricane Laura]” (Oct. 13, 2020).

85 FR 64605 Notice: “Presidential Declaration Amendment of a Major Disaster for the State of Iowa [Severe Storms]” (Oct. 13, 2020).

85 FR 65465 Notice: “Administrative Declaration of a Disaster for the Commonwealth of Virginia [Tropical Storm Isaias]” (Oct. 15, 2020).

U.S. Congress Legislation:

No relevant actions Oct. 12–16, 2020

Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw to receive #AgLaw HotLinks

Oct. 12–16, 2020 Top #AgLaw links:

  1. National Cattlemen’s Organizations Split on RFID for Traceability, Food Safety News (Oct. 12, 2020).

  2. Dairy Margin Coverage Program Enrollment for 2021 Opening, Dairy Reporter (Oct. 12, 2020).

  3. U.S. Dairy Advances Journey to Net-Zero Carbon Emissions, Feedstuffs (Oct. 12, 2020).

  4. NCBA Calls on USDA to Take Action on Namibian FMD Outbreak, Morning Ag Clips (Oct. 8, 2020).

  5. More Poultry Executives Indicted in Price-Fixing Probe, Feedstuffs (Oct. 8, 2020).

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