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


JUDICIAL: Includes forestry, environmental, animal feeding operations, and PACA issues. 

In ALLIANCE FOR THE WILD ROCKIES, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. PAUL BRADFORD, Kootenai National Forest Supervisor; FAYE KRUEGER, Regional Forester of Region One of the U.S. Forest Service; UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, an agency of the U.S. Department of Interior, Defendants-Appellees, No. 14-35786, 2017 WL 2125895 (9th Cir. May 17, 2017), plaintiff sued under the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to enjoin the Forest Service (FS) “from constructing 4.7 miles of new roads in connection with a Forest Service project in the Kootenai National Forest.” Plaintiff argued new roads would create a “net permanent increase[ ] in linear miles of total roads” in violation of Access Amendments to the Kootenai National Forest Plan. Court ruled the roads at issue “will not violate the Forest Plan because they will be blocked to prevent motorized access upon completion of the project.”

In NESTOR RIVERA-COLÓN, Plaintiff, v. MIGUEL A. TORRES-DÍAZ, et al., Defendants, NO. 16-2045 (GAG), 2017 WL 2167772 (D. PR. May 17, 2017), plaintiff sued Municipality of Caguas, the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) alleging violation of federal environmental statutes regulating noise after his residential street was converted into an expressway. Court observed that the Noise Control Act (NCA), addresses “adverse environmental, physical, and psychological effects of inadequately controlled noise caused by vehicles and machinery in interstate commerce.” In dismissing plaintiff’s claims, the court reasoned that the NCA “regulates noise emission standards in relation to narrowly defined commercial transportation machinery, for example, interstate rail and motor carriers.”

IN RE: BAILEY RIDGE PARTNERS, LLC, Debtor, No. 17-00033, 2017 WL 2126794 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa May 16, 2017) involved a Chapter 11 bankruptcy dispute. Debtor ran a pig feeding operation and debtor’s members personally guaranteed his debt. Dubuque Bank sued the members on their personal guarantees of Debtor’s loans. Debtor and his members asked for a stay. One of debtor’s members (Ruba) was also sued by South Dakota Bank on a separate but related loan. Court observed that, “If the South Dakota litigation is not stayed, Mr. Ruba will probably lose his farmland and be left with yet another claim against Debtor.” Court concluded the “public interest factor again weighs in favor of staying the litigation.”

In Boyette Brothers Produce, LLC, Plaintiff/Counterclaim-Defendant, v. Arvila, LLC, et al., Defendants/Counterclaim-Plaintiffs, No. 5:16-CV-00140-BR, 2017 WL 2124417 (E.D.N.C. May 16, 2017), plaintiff (sweet potato brokers) sought a protective order regarding discovery requests from defendants and quashing subpoenas issued to 11 sweet potato growers. Plaintiff argued it would “take weeks” to gather information sought by defendants and court found their argument “difficult to accept in light of the recordkeeping requirements imposed on Boyette Brothers by the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).” Court determined that, “Defendants’ discovery requests are overbroad as written, but they can be revised in a manner that limits them to issues that are both relevant and proportional to the needs of the case.” Court also quashed defendants’ subpoenas as “they were served without any indication that the recipients have relevant information.”


REGULATORY: Includes USDA, CCC, EPA, and FNS rules and notices.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA has submitted information collection requirement(s) to Office of Management and Budget for review. Title: 7 CFR part 1744, subpart B, Lien Accommodations and Subordination Policy. Info here.

COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION:

Notice CCC seeks proposals for the 2018 Emerging Markets Program. Info here.

Notice CCC seeks proposals for the 2018 Foreign Market Development Cooperator (Cooperator) program. Details here.

Notice CCC seeks applications for the 2018 Market Access Program. Info here.

Notice CCC seeks proposals for the 2018 Quality Samples Program. Details here.

Notice CCC seeks proposals for the 2018 Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule establishing air quality designations in the US for the 2012 primary annual fine particle (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standard for the remaining undesignated areas in the state of Tennessee. Info here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve a portion of a revision to the Louisiana State Implementation Plan submitted by the State of Louisiana through the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality on February 10, 2017. Details here.

Rule EPA proposes to issue a rule approving an application from the state of North Dakota under the Safe Drinking Water Act to implement an underground injection control program for Class VI injection wells located within the state, except those on Indian lands. Details here.

FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE: Notice USDA invites public comment on a proposed collection of information that the USDA is developing for submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Details here.