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


JUDICIAL: Includes urb & ag, labor, renewable energy, and bankruptcy issues.

In BUTCHERTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, INC., and Andrew S. Cornelius, Appellants v. LOUISVILLE METRO BOARD OF ZONING ADJUSTMENT; JBS USA, LLC; and Swift Pork Company, Appellees, NO. 2015–CA–000690–MR, 2017 WL 2889543 (Ky. Ct. App. July 7, 2017), defendant operated a hog slaughtering facility and applied for a modified conditional use permit (MCUP) to expand its operations. A neighborhood association challenged the approval of the MCUP by the zoning board. Plaintiffs argued the zoning board should have made “the same required factual determinations, supported by substantial evidence, that would justify the issuance of an original CUP.” Court disagreed and noted that, “A request for modification is not the time to reconsider the original CUP (especially one which has been in place for so many years).” Affirmed for defendant.

In Lott Johnson Plaintiff – Appellant v. Sonny Perdue,1 Secretary, Department of Agriculture; Mark Petty; Linda Newkirk; James Culpepper, III; Hendra Woodfork; Chana Thompson; John and Jane Does Defendants – Appellees, No. 15-3962, 2017 WL 2873258 (8th Cir. July 6, 2017), plaintiff operates 79 acres of farmland in Arkansas and sued USDA and five USDA employees, alleging racial discrimination, retaliation, and conspiracy regarding his loan applications, servicing requests, and the application of administrative offsets to collect on a defaulted loan. The district court dismissed the complaint with prejudice, and plaintiff appealed. On appeal, defendants argued plaintiff’s Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) claims failed to “sufficiently allege that any of them qualifies as a ‘creditor’ under the ECOA.” Appellate court concluded plaintiff’s complaint “includes sufficient allegations from which one could plausibly infer that the individual defendants qualified as creditors under the ECOA.” Reversed in part for plaintiff.

In Jay Warne CARTER, Jr., Appellant v. Erwin Lee HARVEY, Sr., Appellee, NO. 02-16-00153-CV, 2017 WL 2813936 (Tax. App. June 29, 2017), plaintiff appealed order appointing a receiver and authorizing a public sale of property, of which he owns a 1/8 fee simple interest and contained his wind turbines. Plaintiff argued trial court erred by concluding that the property was “incapable of an in-kind partition as an alternative to the sale.” Court considered whether “the property was susceptible of partition or incapable of partition because a fair and equitable division cannot be made.” After considering the facts relative to plaintiff’s turbines, court determined that “we cannot conclude that the trial court erred by implicitly deciding that such a partition was not feasible, fair, practical, or equitable and therefore ordering a sale.”

In BENJAMIN RIGGS; LAURENCE EHRHARDT; and RHODE ISLAND MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, Plaintiffs, Appellants, v. MARGARET CURRAN, PAUL ROBERTI, and HERBERT DESIMONE, JR., in their official capacity as members of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission; NARRAGANSETT ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC., d/b/a NATIONAL GRID; and DEEPWATER WIND BLOCK ISLAND, LLC, Defendants, Appellees, No. 16-2083, 2017 WL 2928123 (1st Cir. July 10, 2017), plaintiffs challenged development of an offshore wind farm in Rhode Island. District court dismissed plaintiffs’ suit after concluding it was barred by Rhode Island’s three-year personal injury statute of limitations. Affirmed for defendant.

In re: TERRY PROPERTIES, LLC, Debtor, NO. 16-71449, 2017 WL 2911623 (Bankr. W.D. Va. July 6, 2017) involved a Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Debtor filed an amended plan and trustee objected, claiming the plan understated the value of the debtor’s assets and the amount of unsecured claims against the estate. Court considered the value of the real property as well as a variety of “improvements” made on the land and denied confirmation of debtor’s amended Chapter 12 plan.


REGULATORY: Includes USDA, EPA, FS, ITA, NOAA and NRCS rules and notices. 

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT:

Notice USDA will submit the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: USDA Farmers Market Application. Details here.

Notice USDA will submit the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: Bid for Advertised Timber. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is approving a State Implementation Plan submission from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency dated May 9, 2017. Info here.

Rule EPA is approving, under the Clean Air Act, revisions to the Ohio Administrative Code rule as part of Ohio’s State Implementation Plan. Details here.

Rule EPA is taking direct final action to amend a final rule that published in the Federal Register on December 12, 2016 concerning formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products. Info here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice the Coconino County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Flagstaff, Arizona. Info here.

Notice the Huron-Manistee Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Mio, MI. Details here.

Notice the National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule Committee will meet in Atlanta, Georgia. Details here.

Notice the Southwest Mississippi Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Meadville, Mississippi. Info here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION: Notice ITA and a representative of the signatory sugar producers/exporters accounting for substantially all imports of sugar from Mexico have signed an amendment to the Agreement Suspending the Antidumping Duty Investigation on Sugar from Mexico. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS implements accountability measures for commercial blueline tilefish in the exclusive economic zone of the South Atlantic. Info here.

Rule NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of the Aleut Corporation pollock directed fishing allowance from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the Bering Sea subarea. Info here.

Notice NMFS has requested the Center for Independent Experts to conduct a peer review of the agency’s stock assessment of eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab. Info here.

Notice of two meetings via web conference call of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. Info here.

Notice that National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), 8901 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037, [Responsible Party: Lisa Ballance, Ph.D.], has applied in due form for a permit to take leatherback sea turtles for purposes of scientific research. Info here.

NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE: Notice the Deepwater Horizon Federal and State natural resource trustee agencies for the Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group have prepared a final Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group 2016-2017 Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment. Details here.