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

ANNOUNCEMENT:  Join us TOMORROW April 4th, for a FREE webinar: Solar Leasing for Agricultural Lands. Details available here.

JUDICIAL: Includes agritourism and landowner liability issues.

JOHN D. HARTIGAN, Appellant, v. SUSSEX COUNTY BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT, IMMANUEL SHELTER, INC., and FAITH UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, INC., Appellees. KENNETH BARTHOLOMEW and JOHN R. ZAWISLAK, Appellants, v. SUSSEX COUNTY BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT, IMMANUEL SHELTER, INC., and FAITH UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, INC., Appellees, C.A. No.: S17A-08-003 RFS, C.A. NO.: S17A-09-001 RFS, 2018 WL 1559938 (Del. Super. Ct. March 28, 2018) involved property zoned for agricultural residential use that defendants sought to use as a homeless shelter. Zoning board approved their special use permit after concluded the homeless shelter could be considered a “tourist home,” and plaintiff appealed board decision. On appeal, plaintiff argued the homeless shelter was not a “tourist home,” which the relevant county code defined as “a dwelling having not more than six rental rooms for guests.” Court observed “residents of the shelter will not be required to pay rent in order to live at the shelter,” and determined this factor “makes it so a homeless shelter is not akin to the other examples of a tourist home.” Reversed for plaintiff.

In Patricia Bloker MACHNIK, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES of America, Defendant, NO. 1:16-cv-00104-MR-DLH, 2018 WL 1536487 (W.D.N.C. March 29, 2018), plaintiff sued for damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act after injuring herself on a stone walkway while visiting a National Park in North Carolina. The court observed the relevant North Carolina recreational use statute, and noted that here, “[a]s a visitor to the Park, the Plaintiff was, at best, an indirect invitee.” Court further noted that North Carolina imposes a duty to warn direct invitees only of “artificial or unusual hazards of which the owner has actual knowledge.” Court found no actual knowledge on the part of the United States regarding “any artificial or unusual hazards regarding the stone walkway,” and dismissed the case.

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

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Rule would implement a recommendation from the Citrus Administrative Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2017-18 and subsequent fiscal periods. Info here.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA proposes to establish a new system of records entitled, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act (PA) Requests and Administrative Appeals Files, to cover both electronic and paper files created during the processing of access requests and appeals under the FOIA and PA and amendment requests under the PA in all USDA components. Details here.


Rule EPA is approving a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the District of Columbia. Info here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve Ohio’s request for withdrawal of the previously approved Hospital/Medical/Infectious Waste Incinerator (HMIWI) State Plan. Details here.


Rule FWS published a final rule in the Federal Register on October 1, 2015, to designate critical habitat for the Dakota skipper and the Poweshiek skipperling, under the Endangered Species Act. Details here.

Rule FWS determines threatened species status under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA or Act), for yellow lance (Elliptio lanceolata), a mussel species from Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. Info here.

Notice FWS announce the availability of the technical/agency draft recovery plan for the endangered Cumberland darter, a fish. Info here.

Notice FWS received an application from UCP, LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. Details here.

Notice FWS advises the public it will prepare a draft environmental assessment (EA), to evaluate the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposed issuance of an enhancement of survival permit under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, to Freeport-McMoRan, Inc., Freeport-McMoRan Morenci, Inc. Info here.


Rule contains technical corrections to the Code of Federal Regulations regarding the Final rule published in the Federal Register on September 28, 2016, “Food and Nutrition Service Regulatory Implementation of Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.” Info here.

Notice USDA announces adjusted income eligibility guidelines to be used by State agencies in determining the income eligibility of persons applying to participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. Details here.


Notice FS is revising the existing Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests’ Land and Resource Management Plan. Info here.

Notice the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board (Board) will meet in Rapid City, South Dakota. Details here.

Notice the Siskiyou (OR) Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Harbor, Oregon. Info here.


Rule NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for commercial greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery for the 2018 fishing year through this temporary rule. Info here.

Rule NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in Abbreviated Framework Amendment 1 (Abbreviated Framework 1) to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region, as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Info here.

Rule corrects an error in the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that set a control date for the Northeast Multispecies charter/party fishery. Details here.

RURAL UTILITY SERVICE: Notice RUS announces its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Info here.