A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.


ANNOUNCEMENT: Join us TOMORROW, April 18th, at 12 noon (ET) for a FREE webinar: Examining the Landscape of Agricultural Certainty Programs in the United States. Details available here.


JUDICIAL: Includes water law, cooperatives, and biosecurity issues.

STATE of New Mexico EX REL. STATE ENGINEER, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-Appellee, v. Navajo Nation, Defendant/Intervenor-Appellee, v. San Juan Agricultural Water Users Association, Hammond Conservancy District, Bloomfield Irrigation District, and Various Ditches and Various Members Thereof, Defendants-Appellants, NO. A-1-CA-33535, 2018 WL 1616612 (N.M. Ct. App. April 3, 2018) concerned a dispute regarding a settlement agreement between the Navajo Nation, the United States, and the State of New Mexico “settling the Navajo Nation’s claims to water in the San Juan River Basin.” Appellants argued settlement was unauthorized and violated New Mexico law. Appellate court observed that “water is a commodity that can move in interstate commerce . . . [t]hus, it is ultimately subject to the control of the federal, not the state, government.” Court found the New Mexico Legislature “delegated to the Attorney General the explicit authority to initiate, conduct, dismiss, and compromise litigation on behalf of the State.” Court affirmed district court’s finding that the settlement agreement was “fair, adequate, reasonable, and consistent with the public interest as well as all applicable New Mexico and federal laws.”

In IN RE: PROCESSED EGG PRODUCTS ANTITRUST LITIGATION, MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION No. 08-md-2002, 2018 WL 1725802 (E.D. Pa. April 9, 2018), plaintiffs claimed defendants (United Egg Producers (UEP) and the United States Egg Marketers) conspired to reduce the domestic supply of shell eggs and drive up prices. Plaintiffs further alleged animal husbandry guidelines established by defendants created a “minimum cage space allowance per bird in the defendants’ facilities, which then reduced flock size, and accordingly, meant there would be fewer eggs in the marketplace.” Here, plaintiffs attempted to introduce reports from defendants’ economist and defendants claimed the reports are inadmissible as hearsay. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, argued the reports are “evidence of the plan the UEP used to construct the Certified Program,” and that “[b]y showing that the UEP received these reports, the jury can infer that the UEP was on notice that the cage-space restrictions would reduce supply and increase profits.” Court reasoned that “this type of knowledge is a crucial part of the case,” and admitted the reports.

In Timothy Bales, Appellant-Appellant, v. Ohio State Department of Agriculture, Appellee-Appellee, No. 17AP-757, 2018 WL 1640285 (Ohio Ct. App. April 5, 2018), plaintiff appealed trial court’s order to destroy his deer herd suffering from chronic wasting disease (CWD). Appellate court noted plaintiff purchased the herd from a third party and was “fully aware of the problem and of the risk the . . . herd would have to be destroyed as a result of [third party’s] mismanagement.” Plaintiff claimed the situation could be remedied, but court concluded that “[t]he longer deer with CWD survive, the longer the risk exists that those deer will spread the disease to other deer.” Trial court ruling affirmed.


REGULATORY: Includes ARS, FCIC, FWS, FDA, and FS rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE:

Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, intends to grant to Koppert B.V. of The Netherlands, an exclusive license to U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/854,120, “STABLE FUNGAL BLASTOSPORES AND METHODS FOR THEIR PRODUCTION, STABILIZATION AND USE”, filed on September 15, 2015. Details here.

FEDERAL CROP INSURANCE CORPORATION:

Rule contains necessary amendments to apply a technical correction to the final rule with request for comments for the California Avocado Crop Insurance Provisions which published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2017. Info here.

Rule contains necessary amendments to apply a technical correction to the final rule with request for comments for the Cultivated Clam Crop Insurance Provisions which published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2017. Details here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICERule FWS announces 90-day findings on two petitions to list, reclassify, or delist wildlife or plants under the Endangered Species Act. Details here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Notice FDA is announcing the availability of a revised final guidance for industry entitled “Listing of Ingredients in Tobacco Products.” Details here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice FS is seeking comments from all interested parties on the extension of a currently approved information collection, Forest Products Removal Permits and Contracts. Info here.

Notice of an administrative settlement with W.R. Grace & Co. Conn. and the Kootenai Development Company for the recovery of past response costs concerning Operable Unit 3 of the Libby Asbestos Site, Lincoln County, Montana. Info here.