JUDICIAL:

ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE & FARM SANCTUARY, Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE & FOOD SAFETY INSPECTION SERVICE, Defendants., No. 6:18-CV-06626-MAT, 2019 WL 3083025 (W.D.N.Y. July 15, 2019)

Plaintiffs Animal Welfare Institute and Farm Sanctuary (“Plaintiffs”) bring this action against defendants United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) and Food Safety Inspection Service (“FSIS”) (collectively, the “Defendants”), alleging violations of Section 552(a)(2) of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Docket No. 1.
Presently before the Court is Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint for failure to state a claim and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.   Defendants’ motion was denied.
Twete v. Mullin, 2019 ND 184

In 2009, Twete owned a farm near Grenora, and Mullin owned a farm about 100 miles away in Montana. Twete and Mullin met in the fall of 2009 when Twete hired Mullin to harvest. In September 2012, Twete executed quitclaim deeds conveying his farmland and minerals in Divide County and Williams County to Mullin. Twete also sold his farm machinery and equipment to Mullin. The transaction was documented in written contracts and deeds.
In June 2013, defendants Bill Seerup and Hurley Oil Properties, Inc., purchased the minerals from Mullin for $600,000. In July 2013, Mullin executed deeds granting Nelson and Mullin a joint tenancy in the farmland, excluding minerals. In August 2014, Mullin and Nelson entered into a mortgage with defendant Farm Credit Services. In 2015, Twete commenced this action against Mullin and others, seeking among other things a monetary award and the rescission of certain real property transfers, and alleging claims for quiet title, undue influence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, malicious prosecution, constructive trust, breach of contract, and conversion or trespass to chattels. Twete also sought equitable relief from defendants Farm Credit, Seerup, and Hurley Oil. Mullin counterclaimed against Twete for quiet title, breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and conversion and trespass to chattel.
Before trial the district court granted summary judgment against Twete, holding Seerup and Hurley Oil were good faith purchasers for value of the mineral interests. The district court also granted summary judgment to Farm Credit, holding Farm Credit is a bona fide creditor who took the mortgage from Mullin and Nelson without knowledge of any fraud or breach of trust. The Farm Credit mortgage is secured by farmland, and the court found the payoff of the Farm Credit mortgage was $945,392.37, as of May 2, 2017.
ACKERMAN BROTHERS FARMS, LLC, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, et al., Defendants. Additional Party Names: Fed. Crop Ins. Corp., Risk Mgmt. Agency, No. 17-CV-11779, 2019 WL 3067927 (E.D. Mich. July 12, 2019)
On June 5, 2017, a group of farmers and incorporated farms filed suit against a number of insurance companies, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Risk Management Agency, and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. The Plaintiffs were dry bean farmers in Michigan, Minnesota, and North Dakota who have not received indemnity for crop insurance to which they believe they are entitled. Defendant United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) “is a department of the United States Government and is the parent agency of Defendant [Risk Management Agency (“RMA”) ], which in turn administers Defendant [Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (“FCIC”) ], a wholly government-owned corporation created under the Federal Crop Insurance Act, 7 U.S.C. § 1501, et seq.”  The Insurance Defendants sold insurance coverage to Plaintiffs during 2015.
On November 22, 2017, the Federal Defendants and Insurance Defendants both filed motions to dismiss. ECF Nos. 51, 52. On March 8, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint correcting the names of certain Plaintiffs. On April 18, 2018, the Court issued an order granting the motions to dismiss and also granting the motion for leave to file an amended complaint. The Court concluded that Plaintiffs had not complied with the insurance policies’ arbitration requirements. Accordingly, all Insurance Defendants were dismissed. The Court also dismissed without prejudice all Plaintiffs who did not farm or reside in the Eastern District of Michigan, concluding that they were bringing suit in the improper venue. On April 30, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint.
On May 2, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court’s order to dismiss. . In the motion, Plaintiffs argued that the plaintiffs from outside the Eastern District of Michigan should have been transferred to the proper venue instead of dismissed. The motion was granted in part and the Minnesota Plaintiffs were transferred to the District of Minnesota.
On October 31, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a motion for supplementation of the administrative record. Plaintiffs contended that information was excluded from the Administrative Record that was necessary for the Court to determine whether Defendants acted arbitrarily and capriciously. The Court determined that the Administrative Record adequately addressed the matters in question and the motion was denied.
On April 1, 2019, both Plaintiffs and Defendants filed cross-motions for summary judgment. . Plaintiffs later filed a motion for class certification.  Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment was denied, Defendants’ motion for summary judgment was be granted, and Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification was denied as moot.
J & L Brown Family, LLC v. Bradshaw, No. 18-3176, 2019 WL 3027589 (10th Cir. July 11, 2019)
In January 2018, J & L filed a petition in Kansas state court to foreclose on the mortgage based on the Bradshaws’ default on the loan. The United States removed the case to federal district court based on its 2007 mortgage interest in tract one.
Mr. Bradshaw filed a pro se document asserting a crossclaim against the USDA. It sought (1) a stay of the foreclosure proceedings, (2) a review of the USDA’s denial of a hearing on his discrimination complaints based on his race (Mr. Bradshaw is African American), and (3) a “remand to the [USDA’s] Administrative Law Judge.”  In support, Mr. Bradshaw alleged that “[t]he property subject to this suit falls under two separate and distinct forms of moratorium relief.” R. at 25. He asked for a moratorium on foreclosure because (1) he “was a Track A claimant in the Pigford class action,” id.,2 and (2) he “has been harassed by the USDA and its employees for more than 40 years and the Agency is still continuing to discriminate against him by failing to give him a formal hearing on the merits,”
J & L and the United States opposed Mr. Bradshaw’s requests for relief, arguing his moratorium theories did not apply to a private foreclosure action. Mr. Bradshaw responded, arguing that if he was granted an administrative hearing, he “could possibly pay [J & L] the money [it] is owed and also move the Secretary to take action to satisfy the alleged debts [under] 42 U.S. Code § 3535(i).” R. at 433.He also moved to enjoin the Mahieu law firm from selling his farm equipment to satisfy a judgment against him in an unrelated state court case.
The district court dismissed Mr. Bradshaw’s crossclaim without prejudice because he did not assert it as part of a pleading. It denied his other motions as meritless.
Na Kia’i Kai v. Nakatani, No. CV 18-00005 DKW-RLP, 2019 WL 2997774 (D. Haw. July 9, 2019)
Plaintiffs Na Kia’i Kai, Surfrider Foundation, and Pesticide Action Network North America (Plaintiffs) seek injunctive and declaratory relief for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251-1311(a), and breach of public trust under Haw. Const. art. XI §§ 1, 6, as a result of discharges from the Mānā Plain near Kekaha, Kauai, Hawaii into the Pacific Ocean. Plaintiffs seek summary judgment on both claims, while Defendant Nakatani, as Director of the State of Hawai’i Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC or the State), seeks summary judgment on the CWA claim and dismissal of the public trust claim. Plaintiffs also seek to strike an expert report filed by the State as part of its summary judgment briefing.
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment was granted in part as to the CWA claim but denied as to the public trust claim. The State’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment as to the CWA claim is denied, but the Motion to Dismiss the public trust claim was granted. Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike was denied as moot.
Smithberg v. Smithberg, 2019 ND 195 Ronald Smithberg appeals from a judgment ordering Smithberg Brothers, Inc., to purchase his interest in the family farmcorporation for $169,985 and dismissing on summary judgment his other claims against the corporation and its remaining shareholders, Gary and James Smithberg. We conclude Ronald Smithberg raised genuine issues of material fact regarding his claims against the corporation and Gary and James Smithberg, and the district court erred in granting summary judgment dismissing those claims. The court’s valuation of Ronald Smithberg’s interest in the corporation is reversed because his interest cannot be valuated until his derivative claims on behalf of the corporation have been resolved. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.
BADER FARMS, INC. & BILL BADER Plaintiffs, v. MONSANTO CO. & BASF CORP., Defendants., No. 1:16CV299-SNLJ, 2019 WL 3017425 (E.D. Mo. July 10, 2019)
This matter is before the Court on defendants’ motions to dismiss plaintiffs’ Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”) (#174, #177). The Bader plaintiffs claim their peach orchard was destroyed beginning in 2015 after defendants Monsanto Company (a company that sells crop seed and herbicide) and BASF Corporation (a company that sells herbicide) conspired to develop and market dicamba-tolerant seeds and dicamba-based herbicides. Plaintiffs claim both defendants conspired to create an “ecological disaster,” where Monsanto released its dicamba-tolerant seed in 2015 and 2016 with no corresponding dicamba herbicide. As a result, farmers illegally sprayed an old formulation of dicamba herbicide that was unapproved for in-crop, over-the-top, use and was “volatile,” or prone to drift. Drifting dicamba would cause damage to neighboring, non-tolerant crops, forcing neighboring farmers to plant Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant seed defensively, and that increased demand for both defendants’ new dicamba herbicide during the 2017 growing season.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against defendants based on these circumstances, and the cases filed in federal court have been consolidated into the In re Dicamba HerbicidesMulti-District Litigation,1:18-MD-2820-SNLJ (E.D. Mo.) (the “MDL”). The present case was filed on November 23, 2016. Plaintiffs have amended their complaint three times now, most recently after this Court’s ruling on the defendants’ motions to dismiss the Master Crop Damage Complaint filed in the MDL. That Master Crop Damage complaint focuses on soybean growers in several states. The Bader plaintiffs, although part of the MDL, did not join in the Master Crop Damage Complaint; the Bader case is following its own Case Management Order and is set for trial in January 2020.
This memorandum presumes familiarity with the facts and this Court’s earlier memoranda addressing, e.g., the Second Amended Complaint. See Bader Farms, Inc. v. Monsanto Co., 1:16-CV-299-SNLJ, 2018 WL 1784394 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 13, 2018). The TAC (1) added allegations that their peach orchard suffered further dicamba damage in 2018, rendering their peach operation no longer biologically or financially sustainable; (2) removed the claims for trespass and fraudulent concealment and added claims under Missouri Crop Protection Statutes; (3) added allegations pertaining to defendants’ joint venture and pleaded joint venture liability as to each claim; and (4) added allegations to clarify that plaintiffs pursue their conspiracy claims under the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 876(a) and (b).
Defendant Monsanto moves to dismiss claims for failure to warn (Counts II and IV), negligent training (Count V), violation of the Missouri Crop Protection Act (Counts VI and VII), civil conspiracy (Counts VIII and IX), and joint liability for punitive damages (as reflected in Counts X and XI). Defendant BASF moves to dismiss those same counts except the claims for failure to warn.
IN RE: MCCORMICK & COMPANY, INC., PEPPER PRODUCTS MARKETING AND SALES PRACTICES LITIGATION This Document Relates to: ALL CONSUMER CASES, No. MC 15-1825 (ESH), 2019 WL 3021245 (D.D.C. July 10, 2019)
This multidistrict consumer litigation against McCormick & Co. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., arises from the sales of black pepper in tins and grinders allegedly containing “nonfunctional slack-fill” not visible to purchasers (the “Slack-Filled Pepper Products”). The Slack-Filled Pepper Products were sold between March 2015 and mid-2016. They include both McCormick-branded products and McCormick-filled private-label brands, such as Wal-Mart’s Great Value products. Named plaintiffs are purchasers who claim that the sale of these products violated various state consumer protection statutes and unjust enrichment laws.1
Before the Court is plaintiffs’ motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 for class certification and appointment of counsel. (Pls.’ Mot. for Class Certification, ECF No. 156 (“Class Cert. Mot.”).) With respect to their statutory consumer protection claims, plaintiffs seek certification of a multi-state class covering purchasers in 20 jurisdictions (the “Consumer Protection Multi-State Class”) or, in the alternative, four single-state classes covering purchasers in California, Florida, Illinois, and Missouri. With respect to their unjust enrichment claims, plaintiffs seek certification of two multi-state classes, covering purchasers in a total of 29 jurisdictions (the “Unjust Enrichment (Restatement) Multi-State Class” and the “Unjust Enrichment (Appreciation) Multi-State Class”) or, in the alternative, seven single-state unjust enrichment classes covering purchasers in California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. In addition to opposing class certification, defendants have filed a joint motion to exclude the expert report and opinions of Dr. Armando Levy, plaintiffs’ damages expert. (Defs.’ Joint Mot. to Exclude the Report and Opinions of Dr. Armando Levy, Aug. 28, 2017, ECF No. 164 (“Defs.’ Expert Mot.”).)
Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification was granted in part and denied in part. Defendants’ motion to exclude plaintiffs’ damages expert was denied.
Twete v. Mullin, 2019 ND 184
Clinton Mullin and Valrena Nelson appeal from a judgment and order denying a new trial. The judgment was entered after a jury found Mullin liable for a breach of trust and awarded Richard Twete damages for the loss of use and value of real property, and after the court in equitable proceedings imposed a constructive trust requiring the return of the real property, awarded Twete monetary damages jointly and severally against Mullin and Nelson as restitution, and granted attorney fees. We affirm the judgment against Mullin and Nelson but reverse and remand the award of attorney fees for further consideration.
Welty v. United States, 926 F.3d 1319 (Fed. Cir. 2019)
The Landowners inherited a farm (“the Welty Farm”) as joint tenants with the right of survivorship when their mother died. The Welty Farm, which is located in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, is bordered on the west by the Whitewater River. Terry Givens purchased a farm (“the Givens Farm”) bordering the Welty Farm to the south in 1998. The Welty Farm is directly upstream from the Givens Farm.
Givens maintains a drainage ditch and levee system on portions of his property near the Whitewater River. Since 1998, the Givens Farmhas been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (“CRP”). See 16 U.S.C. § 3831. Under the CRP, landowners can enter into contracts to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and to manage it in accordance with an approved conservation plan. See 7 C.F.R. § 1410.20. In exchange, participants in the CRP are eligible for monetary compensation from the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”). Id. § 1410.21. Under the CRP, conservation plans for land adjacent to streams or rivers commonly require the maintenance of a “filter strip,” which is defined as “a strip or area of vegetation adjacent to a body of water the purpose of which is to remove nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides, and other pollutants from surface runoff and subsurface flow.” Id. § 1410.2(b).
In 2014, the Landowners filed suit against Givens in Missouri state court, alleging that the levee and ditch system that he built on his property had resulted in the drainage of wetlands on the Welty FarmSee Welty v. Givens, No. ED106864, slip op. at 2-5, ––– S.W.3d ––––, 2019 WL 1467507 (Mo. Ct. App. Apr. 2, 2019) (non-precedential memorandum supplementing order affirming judgment) (“Welty II”). They asserted, moreover, that Givens’ levee and ditch system had “caused unnatural flooding,” which had rendered the Welty Farm“unfit for cultivation.” Id. at 5, ––– S.W.3d at ––––.
REGULATORY:
Notice of meeting: Forest Service, USDA; The Ketchikan Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Ketchikan, Alaska. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the Act.  Info HERE
Revision to and extension of approval of an information collection; comment request: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s intention to request a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with regulations for the importation of live poultry, poultry meat, and other poultry products from specified regions. Info HERE
Notice: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA; We are notifying the public that we propose to update the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plants for Planting Manual by recognizing 22 European Union Member States as being free from citrus longhorned beetle (CLB) and Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) and removing them from the list of countries where CLB and ALB are present. We would also change the entry conditions in the manual for imports of certain host plant taxa of CLB and ALB from four of these countries (Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) because they have previously approved genera exempted from the category of plants Not Authorized Pending Pest Risk Analysis. These changes would relieve certain restrictions on host plants of CLB and ALB from Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom while continuing to mitigate the risk of introducing quarantine pests into the United States. Info HERE
Notice of intent (NOI) to adopt a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS): Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); NRCS announces its intent to adopt the FEIS, titled “Feral Swine Damage Management: A National Approach EIS”, prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), under the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) adoption provisions of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Info HERE
Final rule; change of effective date: Rural Utilities Service, USDA; On July 9, 2019, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), published a final rule that revised several regulations to streamline its procedures for Electric Program borrowers. RUS has determined it is necessary to accelerate the effective date of the final rule. Info HERE
Notice of information collection; request for comments: Economic Research Service, USDA; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) intention to request approval for a Field Test for a new information collection for a Second National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS-2) also called the National Food Study among American households. Info HERE
Notice of availability: Forest Service, USDA; In accordance with Section 3(b) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the USDA, Forest Service, Washington Office, is transmitting the final boundary of the Whychus Creek National Wild and Scenic River to Congress. Info HERE
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) FY 2019: Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), USDA: 

This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits applications from community-based and non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Tribal entities to compete for financial assistance through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (hereinafter referred to as the “2501 Program”). Individual applicants do not meet the eligibility criteria.Funding is being provided to eligible entities who, in partnership with the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), will conduct outreach initiatives and training to achieve the overall goal of the 2501 Program—to assist socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in owning and operating farms and ranches while increasing their participation in agricultural programs and services provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is a non-construction grant. Info HERE

Final rule: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA: This rule implements a recommendation from the California Olive Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate for California olives handled under Marketing Order No. 932. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. Info HERE

Affirmation of interim rule as final rule: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA; The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adopting, as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that removed seven voluntary U.S. grade standards and one consumer standard for fresh fruits and vegetables from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The removal will save the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) resources as the cost of printing the eight standards annually exceeds the benefits of their further inclusion in the CFR. Info HERE

Referendum order: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA; This document directs that a referendum be conducted among eligible almond growers to determine whether they favor continuance of the marketing order regulating the handling of almonds grown in California. Info HERE

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) FY 2019: Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), USDA.; This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits applications from community-based and non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Tribal entities to compete for financial assistance through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (hereinafter referred to as the “2501 Program”). Individual applicants do not meet the eligibility criteria.Funding is being provided to eligible entities who, in partnership with the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), will conduct outreach initiatives and training to achieve the overall goal of the 2501 Program—to assist socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in owning and operating farms and ranches while increasing their participation in agricultural programs and services provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is a non-construction grant. Info HERE

Proposed rule: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA; This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Almond Board of California (Board) to revise the almond accepted user program requirements currently prescribed under the Marketing Order for Almonds Grown in California (Order). In addition, this action would prohibit the transfer of inedible material between accepted users. This proposal also announces the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) intention to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of a new information collection and to make a conforming change to an existing form. Info HERE

Proposed rule: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA; Comments are invited on proposed revisions to the regulations, fees for services, and procedures established under the Plant Variety Protection Act. The proposed revisions are needed to conform with recent amendments to the Plant Variety Protection Act, which added authority for the Plant Variety Protection Office to issue certificates of protection for varieties of plants that are reproduced asexually. The proposed rule would add references to the term “asexual reproduction” to the regulations established under the Act. The proposed rule would also modernize the regulations by simplifying the fee schedule for PVPO services and updating the regulations relating to administrative procedures to reflect current business practices. Info HERE

Notice: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on this proposed information collection. This collection is an extension, without change, of a currently approved collection. This collection allows for Food Distribution Programs, such as the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), to run effectively. The information reported and the records kept for purposes of review are used by State and recipient agencies, Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs), and FNS regional and headquarters offices for the purpose of administering USDA Food Distribution Programs. The programs assist American farmers and needy people by purchasing commodities and delivering them to State agencies and ITOs that, in turn, distribute them to organizations for use in providing food assistance to those in need. The information collected allows State agencies and ITOs to administer programs that align with their local preferences and gives FNS National and Regional offices the ability to ensure programs are complying with program regulations and policies. Info HERE

Notice; request for comment: Forest Service, USDA; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments on a new information collection request titled, Recreation Economy Project. Info HERE

Final rule: Farm Service Agency, USDA; The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) amended provisions of the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP). This rule implements those changes to ECP and makes additional minor technical amendments to the ECP regulations. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is amending regulations to add wildfires as an eligible natural disaster, expand eligibility requirements, increase the maximum payment amount certain participants may receive, provide cost-share for fence repair and replacement, and provide certain cost-share payments more expeditiously than was previously authorized under ECP. In addition, this rule makes minor changes related to the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP). Info HERE

Notice: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on the proposed information collection. This is a reinstatement, with change, of a previously approved collection for which approval has expired. The previously approved collection is associated with State agencies notifying FNS of and thereafter reporting on Major Changes in their operation of SNAP. The final rule entitled Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Review of Major Changes in Program Design and Management Evaluation Systems was published on January 19, 2016. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cleared the associated information collection requirements (ICR) on March 10, 2016. Info HERE

Notice; request for comment: Forest Service, USDA; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on a new generic information collection request, Generic Clearance to Conduct Survey Improvement Projects. Info HERE

Notice of availability and request for comments: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) relative to an oral rabies vaccination (ORV) program in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. The EA analyzes the proposed expanded use of ONRAB vaccine-baits throughout the ORV distribution zone in those States in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. The proposed expanded ONRAB vaccine distribution is necessary as a higher level of population immunity in raccoons is desired in order to maximize the effectiveness of ORV programs. We are making the EA available to the public for review and comment. Info HERE

Notice of availability and request for comments: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA; We are advising the public that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its sub-agency, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), are making available a draft environmental assessment for a conservation program pursuant to the Endangered Species Act to benefit the southwestern willow flycatcher, a small, neotropical migrant bird found in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. The draft environmental assessment examines the environmental effects associated with the selection of the program alternatives and conservation measures that USDA and APHIS propose to implement. We are making the draft environmental assessment available to the public for review and comment. Info HERE

Notice: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA; This notice advises the public of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s record of decision for the final programmatic environmental impact statement titled “Fruit Fly Cooperative Control Program.” Info HERE

Notice; request for comment: Farm Service Agency, USDA; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is requesting comments from all interested individuals and organizations on an extension of the information collection associated with online registration for FSA-hosted events and conferences. The information collection is needed for FSA to obtain information from the respondents who register on the internet to make payment and reservations to attend any FSA-hosted conferences and events. Info HERE

Notice and request for comments: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA; In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing its intention to revise the approved information collection regarding certificates of medical examination. FSIS is adding two new forms to the existing information collection. The Agency has increased the burden estimate by 59 hours due to the addition of these forms. The approval for this information collection will expire on January 31, 2022. Info HERE

Notice of availability and request for comment: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA; The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing the availability of the Agency’s guideline on kit products that contain a meat or poultry component. The guideline is designed to help establishments and other food handling facilities determine whether a kit product needs to be prepared under FSIS inspection and how a kit product needs to be labeled. Info HERE

Final rule: Rural Utilities Service, USDA; The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is revising several regulations to streamline its procedures for Electric Program borrowers, including its loan application requirements, approval of work plans and load forecasts, use of approved contracts and system design procedures. Additionally, unnecessary sections in the regulations will be removed. Info HERE

LEGISLATION:

H.R. 3655: To allow the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, to issue depredation permits for the taking of black vultures to livestock farmers to prevent harm to livestock, and for other purposes Info HERE

H.R. 3705: To repeal the sugar program under the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 and certain other programs relating to sugar, and for other purposes. Info HERE

S. 2121: A bill to amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling performances. Info HERE