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

Rasby v. Pillen, No. 17-3185, 2018 WL 4654718 (8th Cir. Sept. 28, 2018): In 1994, Plaintiff received a ten percent minority shareholder interest when Progressive Swine Technologies (“PST”) was formed to provide management services to customers in the swine industry. Plaintiff also received a five or ten percent interest in five other entities to which PST provided management services. Defendant owned the remaining shares. Plaintiff served as PST’s accountant until she retired in May 2011. On June 29, 2012, Plaintiff sold her minority interests to Defendant for $ 2,350,000. In this diversity action, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant’s actions created “significant economic duress” that forced her to sell her minority interests. She seeks restitution of the excess benefit Defendant received and asserts damage claims for fraudulent misrepresentation, securities fraud, denial of corporate opportunity, and breach of fiduciary duty.
HARVEY LEE FUNCHES, Plaintiff – Appellant v. PROGRESSIVE TRACTOR AND IMPLEMENT COMPANY, L.L.C., Defendant – Appellee, No. 17-60431, 2018 WL 4659066 (5th Cir. Sept. 28, 2018); Plaintiff lost his left arm when his vehicle collided with a piece of farm equipment being towed by a pickup truck as the two passed one another on a Mississippi road. The only live dispute left in this case is Plaintiff’s suit against the company that leased the equipment to the driver of the pickup truck. In the suit, Plaintiff alleged, inter alia, that the company was negligent in failing to warn the pickup truck’s driver of the dangers associated with towing the equipment with a pickup truck instead of a tractor. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the company on the failure-to-warn claim (as well as Plaintiff’s other claims), finding that Plaintiff failed to create a genuine factual dispute regarding the essential element of proximate cause. Funches appeals the district court’s order. The Circuit Court affirm.
CORNUCOPIA INSTITUTE, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Defendant., No. CV 16-148 (RC), 2018 WL 4637004 (D.D.C. Sept. 27, 2018); In early 2013, The Cornucopia Institute (“Cornucopia”) requested records from the Agricultural Marketing Service (“AMS”), a component of the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), primarily regarding visits in 2012 by officials from the USDA’s National Organic Program (“NOP”) to organic dairies in Texas and New Mexico. Unsatisfied with the agency’s response, Cornucopia brought this Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuit. Before the court are the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, which concern the propriety of AMS’s withholding of certain portions of responsive records under FOIA Exemptions 4 and 5. The Court concludes that the agency has justified the vast majority of its withholdings. Accordingly, as to all records except for photographs taken during the Texas and New Mexico trip—–which AMS must disclose—the Court grants the agency’s motion for summary judgment and denies Cornucopia’s motion for the same.
WESTERN WATERSHEDS PROJECT, Plaintiff, v. RYAN ZINKE, Sec’y, Dep’t of Interior, et al., Defendants, J. R. SIMPLOT CO., et al., Intervenor-Defendants, PUBLIC LANDS COUNCIL, NATIONAL CATTLEMEN’S BEEF ASSOCIATION, IDAHO CATTLE ASSOCIATION, Intervenor-Defendants., No. 4:08-CV-435-BLW, 2018 WL 4643060 (D. Idaho Sept. 27, 2018);  The Court has before it the BLM’s motion to reconsider, and WWP’s motions to file a supplemental complaint and to require the BLM to issue certain decisions. The motions are fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons described below, the Court will grant the BLM’s motion to reconsider, deny WWP’s motion to file a supplemental complaint, and grant in part WWP’s motion to require the BLM to issue certain decisions.  The defendant’s motion to reconsider is granted. The Court now holds that § 325 does allow the renewal of grazing permits (that expired during fiscal years 2004 to 2008) without environmental review under NEPA, FLPMA, the FRH regulations, or other applicable laws and regulations. The Court further holds that the BLM is still required to satisfy the demands of these laws and regulations, but just not prior to the renewal of those permits.
In re: JERRY ARTHO, Debtor. JERRY ARTHO, Plaintiff, v. HAPPY STATE BANK, PANHANDLE ENTERPRISES, INC., OPR H2O, LLC, SHANNON T. BURDETT, & OUTPOST RANCHES, LTD., Defendants., No. 15-20046-RLJ-12, 2018 WL 4631761 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. Sept. 24, 2018); The defendants filed motions for sanctions against the plaintiff and his attorneys.  Defendant HSB filed its application requesting approval of its attorneys’ fees as a charge against Defendant and the bankruptcy estate.
Regulatory: USDA-AMS, Forest Services
Proposed Rule: USDA-AMS, The defendants—Happy State Bank (HSB), Panhandle Enterprises, Inc., OPR H2O, LLC, Outpost Ranches, Ltd., and Shannon Burdett (collectively, Defendants)—filed motions for sanctions against the plaintiff (and chapter 12 debtor), Jerry Artho, and his attorneys, Carl Adams and Dennis Olson.1 Defendant HSB filed its application requesting approval of its attorneys’ fees as a charge against Artho and the bankruptcy estate.2 The Court jointly issues its findings of fact and conclusions of law on these matters.  Info HERE
Proposed Rule: USDA- AMS, This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Kiwifruit Administrative Committee (Committee) to decrease the assessment rate established for the 2018-2019 and subsequent fiscal periods. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. Info HERE
Notice: USDA-AMS, The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the designations of Kansas Grain Inspection Service, Inc. (Kansas); Minot Grain Inspection, Inc. (Minot); Tri-State Grain Inspection Service, Inc. (Tri-State); Idaho Grain Inspection Service, Inc. (Idaho); Ohio Valley Grain Inspection, Inc. (Ohio Valley); Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (Utah); California Agri Inspection Co., Ltd. (Cal-Agri); Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Virginia); and State Grain Inspection, Inc. (State Grain) to provide official services under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA), as amended. The realignment of offices within the U.S. Department of Agriculture authorized by the Secretary’s Memorandum dated November 14, 2017, eliminates the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) as a standalone agency. The grain inspection activities formerly part of GIPSA are now organized under AMS.  Info HERE
Proposed Rule: Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; This proposed rule would revise the regulations for seasons, harvest limits, and methods and means for the subsistence taking of fish in the Cook Inlet Area of Alaska. This action would also reorganize specific regulations addressing the Kenai River, which would provide clarity for the public, and allow the Federal Subsistence Board to correct regulatory conflicts that have arisen based on recent rulemaking. Info HERE
Proposed Rule: Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; This proposed rule would revise the regulations for seasons, harvest limits, and methods and means for the subsistence taking of fish in the Cook Inlet Area of Alaska. This action would also reorganize specific regulations addressing the Kenai River, which would provide clarity for the public, and allow the Federal Subsistence Board to correct regulatory conflicts that have arisen based on recent rulemaking. Info HERE
Notice of public meeting and request for comments: U.S. Codex Office, Department of Agriculture; The U.S Codex Office is sponsoring a public meeting on November 8, 2018. The objective of the public meeting is to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft United States (U.S.) positions to be discussed at the 6th Session of the Codex Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (TFAMR) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), in Busan, Republic of Korea on December 10-14, 2018. The U.S. Manager for Codex Alimentarius and the Under Secretary, Office of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, recognize the importance of providing interested parties the opportunity to obtain background information on the 6th Session of the TFAMR and to address items on the agenda. Info Here
Notice: USDA-AMS, The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the designations of Kansas Grain Inspection Service, Inc. (Kansas); Minot Grain Inspection, Inc. (Minot); Tri-State Grain Inspection Service, Inc. (Tri-State); Idaho Grain Inspection Service, Inc. (Idaho); Ohio Valley Grain Inspection, Inc. (Ohio Valley); Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (Utah); California Agri Inspection Co., Ltd. (Cal-Agri); Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Virginia); and State Grain Inspection, Inc. (State Grain) to provide official services under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA), as amended. The realignment of offices within the U.S. Department of Agriculture authorized by the Secretary’s Memorandum dated November 14, 2017, eliminates the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) as a standalone agency. The grain inspection activities formerly part of GIPSA are now organized under AMS. Info HERE