A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.
JUDICIAL: Labor Law
In Luna Vanegas v. Signet Builders, Inc., 21-2644, 2022 WL 3572769 (7th Cir. Aug. 19, 2022), the court considered whether the labor performed by the defendant was within the agricultural exemption to the overtime pay required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Plaintiff was hired by defendant to build livestock confinement facilities and claimed to have worked more than 40 hours a week. Defendant refused to pay plaintiff the FLSA overtime rate, claiming that the work fell within the agricultural exemption. The court found that plaintiff was not performing primary agricultural work. The court then looked at whether the work was secondary and incidental to or in conjunction with farming operations. The court concluded that work falls within the FLSA secondary agricultural exemption only if it is both “performed by a farmer or on a farm” and if it “does not amount to an independent business.” The Department of Labor’s regulations establish a fact-intensive, totality-of-the-circumstances test to determine whether work performed on a farm is agricultural or if it is an independent business. They list many factors that bear on that analysis. Defendant bears the burden of proving that the agricultural exemption applied, and it failed to do so. The court also found that just because plaintiff was admitted to the United States on a H-2A visa did not mean that the work was considered agricultural under the FLSA agricultural exemption. The court of appeals reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.
REGULATORY: CCC, FWS
COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION
Notice announcing the application window and availability of approximately $100 million in competitive grants to eligible entities for activities designed to expand the sales and use of renewable fuels under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. Info here.
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Proposed rule announcing 90-day findings on two petitions to add species to and one petition to remove a species from the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants under the Endangered Species Act. Info here.
Notice announcing that FWS has received an application from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for an enhancement of survival permit for take of aquatic species in North Carolina. Info here.