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

JUDICIAL: Includes food safety, PACA, SNAP, and landowner liability issues.

In The CORNUCOPIA INSTITUTE, Dominic Marchese, and Rebecca Goodman, Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE and Tom Vilsack, Defendants, 16-cv-246, 2017 WL 2266920 (W.D. Wis. May 23, 2017), plaintiffs sued USDA claiming the agency violated the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Plaintiffs argued defendants violated each statute in appointing two members to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Defendants moved to dismiss all claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the grounds that plaintiffs lack standing and that their claims are “nonjusticiable.” Court granted USDA’s motion after determining plaintiffs lacked standing to sue.

MISSION PRODUCE, INC. Plaintiff, v. AP ROYAL PRODUCT, INC. and ALEKSANDR YAKUBOV, Defendants, 16 Civ. 7015 (BMC), 2017 WL 2274972 (E.D.N.Y. May 24, 2017) involved an action for goods sold and delivered pursuant to the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). Evidence showed defendant did not pay money owed plaintiff. In considering defendants’ default, the court noted, “[e]ven when a default judgment is warranted based on a party’s failure to defend, the allegations in the complaint with respect to the amount of the damages are not deemed true.” Plaintiff provided his corporate counsel’s affidavit describing sales between plaintiff and defendant and “annexed and authenticated the invoices.” Court granted plaintiff’s motion for default judgment.

In UNITED STATES of America v. Sandra ZONGO, a/k/a “Akiwa Gizzel,” a/k/a “Sandra Nelson,” Defendant, 15 CR 319 (KMW), 2017 WL 2297010 (S.D.N.Y. May 24, 2017), defendant was convicted of wire fraud and providing false statements on a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application and appealed. Government argued defendant committed attempted wire fraud when she submitted an application to the New York Human Resources Administration for SNAP benefits. Court was persuaded by government’s evidence and determined jury’s decision was “reasonable.” Defendant’s motion for new trial denied.

In EX PARTE CITY OF GUNTERSVILLE (In re: Margaret Hulgan v. City of Guntersville), 1151214, 2017 WL 2303161 (Ala. May 26, 2017), plaintiff was injured falling at a fireworks display held at park owned by City. City argued that it was entitled to immunity from plaintiff’s action under recreational-use statutes. City argued plaintiff “failed to present substantial evidence indicating that the City had the actual knowledge contemplated in the statute,” and that it “had no actual notice . . . that the alleged defect giving rise to [Hulgan’s] injuries.” Court was persuaded that City was entitled to immunity and granted summary judgment to defendant.

REGULATORY: Includes AMS, USDA, EPA, FWS, FS, ITA, NOAA, and OAO rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Rule proposes amendments to Marketing Order No. 989 regulating the handling of raisins grown in California. Info here.


Notice USDA has submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: Swine Health Protection. Info here.

Notice USDA has submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: In-Home Food Safety Behaviors and Consumer Education: Annual Observational Study. Details here.


Rule EPA is notifying the public that it has found that the 2017 motor vehicle emission budgets for the Greater Connecticut ozone nonattainment area for the 2008 national ambient air quality standard for ozone are adequate for transportation conformity purposes. Info here.

Rule EPA is approving severable portions of three revisions to the Louisiana New Source Review State Implementation Plan submitted by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Details here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve the Alaska plan addressing the infrastructure requirements for the lead NAAQS as meeting Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements. Details here.

Rule EPA is proposing to grant a petition submitted by ExxonMobil Oil Corporation Beaumont Refinery to exclude the secondary impoundment basin solids in Beaumont, Texas from the lists of hazardous wastes. Details here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Notice FWS will ask the OMB to approve the information collection. Title: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, Experimental Populations. Details here.


Notice lists all newspapers that will be used by the Ranger Districts, Grasslands, Forests and the Regional Office of the Southern Region to publish notices required under agency regulations. Details here.

Notice Florida National Forests Resource Advisory Committee will meet in Tallahassee, Florida. Info here.

Notice Prince of Wales Island Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Craig, Alaska. Details here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION: Notice Commerce determined that CS Wind Vietnam Co., Ltd., and CS Wind Corporation are a single entity: The CS Wind Group. Details here.


Rule NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) for vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery. Info here.

Rule NMFS announces that the Nantucket Lightship Scallop Access Area will close to Limited Access General Category Individual Fishing Quota scallop vessels for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year as of the effective date below. Info here.

Notice NMFS will revise the Recovery Plan Preparation and Implementation Priorities and Recovery Plans contained in the 1990 Listing and Recovery Priority Guidelines. Details here.

Notice NMFS seeks public comment to assist the Secretary of Commerce’s review of NMFS’ August 2016 Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing: Underwater Acoustic Thresholds for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts. Details here.

OFFICE OF ADVOCACY AND OUTREACH: Notice that the Secretary of Agriculture is soliciting nominations for membership for the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. Info here.