A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions to: camarigg at uark.edu

JUDICIAL: Includes lease, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, UCC, and pesticide issues.

In IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF MARGARET E. WORKMAN, Deceased, DENNIS WORKMAN, Plaintiff Appellant, v. GARY WORKMAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF MARGARET E. WORKMAN, Defendant-Appellee, and LAVERNE WORKMAN, CYNTHIA NOGGLE, RANDY NOGGLE, MINDY (NOGGLE) SHERWOOD, CHRISTINE (WORKMAN) THOMPSON and JEFFREY WORKMAN, DefendantsIn , No. 16-0908, 2017 WL 706342 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 22, 2017), a mother died and one of her sons (plaintiff) challenged her will. Defendant son filed an application to approve accounting, disbursements, and farm leases and a district court approved the application. On appeal, plaintiff claimed defendant “failed to meet his burden of prov[ing] he properly discharged his [fiduciary] duty.” Plaintiff argued defendant’s “proposal that his rents decrease by 46% based on a 12.5% reduction in the value of farm ground is not sufficient to meet the burden of persuasion.” Court noted that district court found defendant’s “procedure for determining cash rent, a publication from the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, to be a fair and reasonable method of calculating cash rent.” District court ruling for defendant affirmed.

In IN RE: DONALD LINWOOD DEMEZA, Debtor, RICHARD JAY HACKERMAN, Movant v. DONALD LINWOOD DEMEZA, Respondent, NO. 1:16-bk-02789-MDF, 2017 WL 696677 (Bankr. M.d. Penn. Feb. 21, 2017) respondent filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition and movant objected claiming it was filed in “bad faith.” Debtor board movant’s pregnant horse and the horse died under his care. Movant sued for negligence and debtor filed for bankruptcy. Movant argued debtor’s case should be converted to one under Chapter 7 because creditors will receive a larger payout than under Chapter 13. Court considered a number of factors, include the timing and motive in filing the chapter 13 petition. Court determined debtor did not undervalue the horse or misrepresent his income. Motion denied.

In re: Charles Donald Leonard, doing business as Leonard Cattle Company; Margaret Rose Leonard, doing business as Leonard Cattle Company Debtors, Sweetwater Cattle Company, L.L.C.; Farm Credit Services of America, PCA Plaintiffs – Appellees v. Leigh Murphy, doing business as Murphy Cattle Company Defendant – Appellant, No. 16-6029, 2017 WL 727161 (Bankr. 8th Cir. Feb. 24, 2017) concerned a dispute over the “validity and priority” of interests in cattle. Appellant sold cattle to debtor, who delivered them to plaintiff for feeding. Plaintiff financed debtor’s purchase of the cattle through a line of credit and claimed a lien against the cattle. Appellant only received partial payment for the cattle and then exercised his right to “reclaim” the cattle under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) for nonpayment. Bankruptcy Court concluded plaintiff’s lien was valid and they were entitled to the proceeds of the cattle. On appeal, appellant argued title to the cattle never transferred from him to debtor and, therefore, plaintiff’s “after-acquired property lien” did not have attached to the cattle. After lengthy consideration of the UCC, the court observed that, “The purpose of Article 2 of the UCC is to facilitate the free flow of commerce. That purpose would not be served if lenders were obligated to ascertain that their borrowers have ownership and possession of collateral before funds are lent.” Bankruptcy Court order affirmed.

In In re Syngenta Mass Tort Actions This Document Relates to: Poletti, et al. v. Syngenta AG, et al, No. 3:15-cv-01121-DRH, 2017 WL 713694 (S.D. Ill. Feb. 20, 2017), plaintiffs sought damages “proximately caused” by negligent misrepresentations of Syngenta who, “in commercializing, marketing, and advertising MIR162 as approved for export in China, placed itself in the business of supplying information for guidance in U.S. farming and corn exporting business transactions.” Syngenta argued that plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the economic loss doctrine (ELD). Court found plaintiffs “met the standard of pleading, with sufficient particularity, facts that establish elements of negligent misrepresentation, including what misrepresentations were made, when they were made, who made them, and who they were made to.” Court ruled that “negligent misrepresentation exception to the Moorman ELD doctrine applies to this case,” and permitted plaintiffs’ claims for damages.

REGULATORY: Includes AMS, USDA, FDA, FNS, ITA, and NOAA rules and notices.


Rule implements a recommendation for a decrease in the assessment rate established for the 2017 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.22 to $0.10 per 50-pound bag or equivalent of sweet onions handled. Info here.

Rule AMS extends comment period for the proposed rule establishing an industry-funded research, promotion, and information program for certified organic products. Details here.

Rule AMS extends the comment period for the proposed procedures for conducting a referendum to determine whether the issuance of a proposed Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order is favored by certified organic producers. Details here.

Notice AMS will request approval from OMB for a revision to approval of an information collection associated with qualitative customer and stakeholder feedback on service delivery by the AMS. Info here.

Notice AMS will need determine whether producers and importers favor continuation of amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion Order. Details here.


Notice USDA submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: Certificate for Quota Eligibility (CQE). Info here.

Notice USDA submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: Customer Service Survey Project. Info here.

Notice USDA is providing notice of an increase in the fiscal year  2017 specialty sugar tariff-rate quota of 40,000 metric tons raw value. Info here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Notice FDA will hold a public workshop regarding the current state of animal models for serious infections caused by Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Details here.

FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE: Notice FNS extends the comment period for a rule proposing to revise requirements for the processing of donated foods. Details here.


Notice ITA announces eight upcoming trade missions that will be recruited, organized and implemented by ITA. Details here.

Notice ITA is rescinding administrative review of eight companies concerning an antidumping duty order on pasta from Italy. Details here.


Rule NMFS implements an accountability measure to close the hook-and-line component of the commercial sector for king mackerel in the Florida west coast southern subzone. Info here.

Rule NMFS announces final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. Details here.

Rule NMFS announces final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska. Details here.

Rule NMFS prohibits directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. Info here.

Rule NMFS directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska. Info here.