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


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JUDICIAL: Includes right to farm, ag lease, and pesticide issues.

In MONICA and RICK LARUE, Petitioners, v. MONMOUTH COUNTY AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT BOARD, Respondent-Appellant, NO. A-2608-16T1, 2018 WL 1790073 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div April 16, 2018), plaintiffs submitted a Site Specific Agricultural Management Practice (SSAMP) application for approval of a “farm work area location” under the Right to Farm Act (RTFA). The work area at issue was in violation of a municipal setback ordinance. Board found the farm work area was not entitled to RTFA protection, but on appeal, the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) overturned the ruling, and concluded the RTFA protected the farm work area location. Appellate court agreed and reasoned the SADC “sufficiently balanced petitioners’ interests against the public interests in concluding that the farm work area was eligible for RTFA protection.” Affirmed.

In Timothy Probst, Appellant-Plaintiff/Counterclaim-Defendant, v. Jason Probst, Appellee-Defendant/Counterclaimant, No. 15A01-1709-PL-2061, 2018 WL 1788056 (Ind. Ct. App. April 16, 2018), plaintiff sued his brother and alleged breach of an oral agreement to convey farm land to him as a co-owner. Plaintiff sought specific performance or  compensation due to unjust enrichment on the part of defendant. Trial court ruled for defendant and on appeal, plaintiff argued court “should have awarded him compensation for improvements to the land and payments toward the loan obligation.” Appellate court, however, reasoned that “[b]y physically and financially helping to improve the land for farming, [plaintiff] furthered his partnership interest—and he bore the risk of making these contributions without the protection of a long-term farm lease.” Affirmed.

In THOMAS BLITZ, Plaintiff, v. MONSANTO COMPANY, Defendant, 17-cv-473-wmc, 2018 WL 1785499 (W.D. Wis. April 13, 2018), plaintiff alleged statements on defendant’s Roundup product label implied the product is safe and induced him to purchase the product and he suffered pecuniary loss. Plaintiff alleged the statement: “Glyphosate targets an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets,” is false and misleading. Defendant argued the statement on the label is not false and that “it is almost universally accepted by regulators and the scientific community . . . that glyphosate targets an enzyme (‘EPSP synthase’) not found in human or animal cells.” Court determined a reasonable consumer “could take this statement to mean that EPSP is not found in people, rather than to mean that EPSP is simply not found in human cells.” Defendant’s motion to dismiss denied in part.


LEGISLATIVE:

H.R. 5525: To direct the Secretary of Agriculture to transfer certain National Forest System land in the State of Texas. Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.

S. 2672: A bill to authorize the Society of the First Infantry Division to make modifications to the First Division Monument located on Federal land in President’s Park in Washington, DC. Referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

H.R. 4: FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. Added to the House’s schedule for the coming week.

H.R. 3961: Kissimmee River Wild and Scenic River Study Act of 2018. Designates the Kissimmee River for study under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA).

H.R. 3607: To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish fees for medical services provided in units of the National Park System. Authorizes the Department of the Interior to establish and collect fees for medical services provided to persons in units of the National Park System.

S. 140: A bill to amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement Fund. The Rules Committee Print includes the text of S. 140, to amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement Fund.

H.R. 4609: West Fork Fire Station Act of 2017. Relates to Dolores County in southwest Colorado, which is home to part of the 1.8 million acre San Juan National Forest.

H.R. 146: Eastern Band of Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act. Bill takes specified lands and easements in Monroe County, Tennessee, into trust for the benefit of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.


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

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Notice AMS is announcing the designations of Grain Inspection, Inc. (Jamestown); Lincoln Grain Inspection Service, Inc. (Lincoln); and Midsouth Grain Inspection Service (Midsouth) to provide official services under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA), as amended. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is updating the materials that are incorporated by reference (IBR) into the Florida state implementation plan (SIP). The regulations affected by this update have been previously submitted by Florida and approved by EPA. Details here.

Rule that based on EPA’s review of the air quality criteria addressing human health effects of oxides of nitrogen and the primary national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for oxides of nitrogen, as measured by nitrogen dioxide, the EPA is retaining the current standards. Details here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve Kentucky’s February 28, 2018, draft State Implementation Plan (SIP) submission pertaining to the “good neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act for the 2008 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard that was submitted by Kentucky for parallel processing. Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Rule FWS is removing the lesser long-nosed bat from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife due to recovery. Info here.

FOREST SERVICE: Notice the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, State and Private Forestry, Cooperative Forestry staff, requests applications for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS is adjusting the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) Purse Seine and Reserve category quotas for 2018, as it has done annually since 2015. Info here.

Rule NMFS is correcting the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications for groundfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. Info here.

Notice NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey will establish the State Plane Coordinate System of 2022 as part of the transition to the 2022 Terrestrial Reference Frames. Details here.