JUDICIAL:

IN RE: DRY BEAN REVENUE PROTECTION CROP INSURANCE LITIGATION, No. MDL 2871, 2018 WL 6427193 (U.S. Jud. Pan. Mult. Lit. Dec. 6, 2018): 

Plaintiffs in the two actions listed on Schedule A move under 28 U.S.C. § 1407 to centralize pretrial proceedings in this litigation in the Eastern District of Michigan. This litigation consists of two actions pending in the Eastern District of Michigan and the District of Minnesota.  Responding defendants support centralization in the Eastern District of Michigan.
After considering the argument of counsel, the court concluded that Section 1407 centralization would not serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses or further the just and efficient conduct of this litigation. Both of the actions share common factual questions arising out of allegations that actions by the federal defendants precluded plaintiffs from presenting recoverable claims under the Dry Bean Revenue Endorsement of their crop insurance for the year 2015. In identical complaints, plaintiffs seek review of the federal defendants’ actions under the Administrative Procedure Act and, in fact, all plaintiffs’ claims originally were pending in a single action in the Eastern District of Michigan. But we find proponents have failed to meet their burden of demonstrating the need for centralization.  Just two actions are pending in this litigation, and the parties are represented by common counsel in each. The Panel has held that “centralization under Section 1407 should be the last solution after considered review of all other options.”  The parties have not addressed whether they have considered alternatives to Section 1407 centralization, and it appears feasible for the involved parties and courts to cooperate informally to coordinate any overlap in pretrial proceedings and minimize the potential for inconsistent rulings.
Fruge Aquafarms, Inc. v. Robert R. Hicks, Jr., 2018-425 (La. App. 3 Cir. 12/6/18): This case involves a dispute over the terms of an agricultural and aquacultural lease between the landowner, Robert R. Hicks, Jr. and the tenants, Fruge Aquafarms, Inc. (Fruge) owned by Mark Rufus Fruge, II and his brother Michael G. Fruge. After a hearing on the merits on December 4, 2017 the trial court ruled in favor of Hicks finding that the 2010 Lease at issue was clear and unambiguous and terminated at midnight on January 1, 2015. An amended final judgment was signed on June 19, 2018 and filed on June 25, 2018. Fruge timely appealed. The court affirms the amended judgment of the trial court in its entirety.
REGULATORY: 
Notice and request for comments: National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA, In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the intention of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to request revision and extension of a currently approved information collection, the Cold Storage Survey. Revisions to burden hours will be needed due to changes in the size of the target population and the estimated average burden minutes to compete each questionnaire. The questionnaires have had some minor modifications to accommodate changes in the products stored by the industry, and to make the questionnaires easier to complete. The target population of cold storage operators (both mandatory and voluntary samples) will be contacted for this data on a monthly basis. The capacity survey is conducted once every other year of all operations with refrigerated storage capacity. Info HERE
Notice and request for comments: National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 this notice announces the intention of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to seek approval to conduct a new information collection for surveys funded by NASS’s many cooperators (Federal agencies, State governments, land grant universities, and other organizations). Results from these surveys are important for the cooperators in carrying out their missions, as well as of general interest to the agricultural community. This generic clearance will allow NASS to conduct surveys in a timely manner for the cooperating institutions providing funding for the surveys. Info HERE
Withdrawal of notice of intent to prepare environmental impact statement: Forest Service, USDA; The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is withdrawing the Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Moose Creek Project. Info HERE
Final rule with request for comments: Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, USDA; The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) amends the Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Forage Seeding Crop Insurance Provisions (Crop Provisions). The intended effect of this action is to update existing policy provisions and definitions to better reflect current agricultural practices and allow for variations in insurance provisions based on regionally-specific agronomic conditions and potential future expansions. The changes are to be effective for the 2020 and succeeding crop years. Info HERE
Revision to and extension of approval of an information collection; comment request: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s intention to request a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the regulations for the importation of fresh peppers from Ecuador into the continental United States. Info HERE
Notice of availability of a draft environmental impact statement; notice of public meetings; and section 106 notification to the public.: Rural Utilities Service, USDA; Notice is hereby given that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to meet its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and environmental policies and procedures related to providing financial assistance to Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC). Further, in accordance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and pursuant to the regulations participation in the section 106 process and coordination with the National Environmental Policy Act, RUS is using its procedures for public involvement under NEPA to meet its responsibilities to solicit and consider the views of the public during the section 106 review for the proposed project. RUS would be providing financial assistance to DPC for its share in the construction of a proposed 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line and associated infrastructure connecting the Hickory Creek Substation in Dubuque County, Iowa, with the Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton, Wisconsin (near Madison, Wisconsin). The Project also includes a new intermediate 345/138-kV substation near the Village of Montfort in either Grant County or Iowa County, Wisconsin. The total length of the 345- kV transmission lines associated with the proposed project will be approximately 125 miles. DPC and the other project participants have identified proposed and alternate segments and locations for transmission lines and associated facilities and for the intermediate substation. Dairyland Power Cooperative is requesting RUS to provide financing for its portion of the proposed project. DPC is participating in the proposed project with two other utilities, American Transmission Company LLC, and ITC Midwest LLC (Utilities). Info HERE
Final rule: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA; The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is establishing January 1, 2022, as the uniform compliance date for new meat and poultry product labeling regulations that will be issued between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020. FSIS periodically announces uniform compliance dates for new meat and poultry product labeling regulations to minimize the economic impact of label changes. Info HERE
Notice; request for comments: Farm Service Agency, USDA; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is requesting comments from all interested individuals and organizations on an extension of a currently approved information collection request associated with the Request for Special Priorities Assistance. The information collection established by the Agriculture Priorities and Allocations System (APAS) regulation is necessary for the program applicant (person) to request prioritizing of a contract above all other contracts. The purpose of the priority rating is to obtain item(s) in support of national defense programs that they are not able to obtain in time through normal market channels. Info HERE
Notice; request for comments: Farm Service Agency, USDA.; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is requesting comments from all interested individuals and organizations on an extension of a currently approved information collection request associated with the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) of 1978. Info HERE
Notice of Performance Review Board appointments: Office of Human Resource Management, Departmental
Administration, USDA; Office of Human Resource Management, Departmental Administration, USDA. Info HERE
Interim rule with request for comments: Office of the Secretary, USDA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing an interim rule for the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation Compliance provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended. This rulemaking clarifies how USDA delineates, determines, and certifies wetlands located on subject land in a manner sufficient for making determinations of ineligibility for certain USDA program benefits. USDA is seeking comments from the public about these clarifications that will be considered prior to issuing a final rule. Info HERE

LEGISLATIVE:

S. 3716: A bill to amend the Agricultural Act of 2014 to repeal the forfeiture rule for peanuts under the nonrecourse marketing assistance loan program, prohibit the use of Federal funds for certain activities, and for other purposes. Info HERE