Judicial:

K Tre Holdings, LP v. Missouri Dep’t of Nat. Res., No. SD 35512, 2019 WL 3369270 (Mo. Ct. App. July 26, 2019): K Tre Holdings, LP, Sharon Engle, Frances Hare and Jes Blair (collectively referred to as K Tre) seek judicial review of the decision of the Missouri Clean Water Commission (CWC) to approve a permit application filed by RNR Farm, LLC (RNR) for a poultry concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in McDonald County, Missouri. K Tre contends the CWC erred by approving the permit because: (1) RNR failed to provide the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with an aerial map showing production area setback distances; (2) RNR failed to provide DNR with a copy of proposed building plans; and (3) four of the commissioners were unlawfully appointed to the CWC. The Court affirms the CWC’s order approving RNR’s permit, but we transfer this case to our Supreme Court after opinion pursuant to Rule 83.02

KELLY PRECHT, ET AL. V. COLUMBIA GULF TRANSMISSION, LLC, No. 2:18-CV-0853, 2019 WL 3368600 (W.D. La. July 24, 2019)

This matter began as a suit for damages filed under state tort and contract law by the Prechts in the Fourteenth Judicial District Court, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Doc. 1, att. 2. The Prechts claim to have a farming lease over three tracts of land owned by Stone Family, LLC (“Stone”), which began as a verbal agreement in 2014. Stone acquired the property from Barbara Helms Stone in December 1999 and has maintained ownership since that time. In October 2014, while the Prechts allege their lease was already in existence, Stone entered into a Right of Way Agreement (“ROWA”) with Columbia for the latter’s installation of a natural gas pipeline through that land. . Through this agreement Stone granted Columbia a permanent servitude across the property, measuring approximately 50 feet wide by 4,112 feet long, and an adjoining temporary servitude. As part of the ROWA, which was recorded in Calcasieu Parish on January 8, 2015, Columbia promised to replace and restore the area disturbed by pipeline construction, repair, and maintenance, and “to pay for any damage to marketable timber, crops, approved fences (if any) and approved tile drains (if any) that is caused by the activities conducted pursuant to this Agreement.” The Prechts’ lease had not been recorded by the time the ROWA was recorded or executed.  A written lease was eventually signed by the Prechts and Bobby Welch in January 2017, but there is no evidence that it was ever recorded.

Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Inc. v. Harrington, No. 18-1846, 2019 WL 3404201 (8th Cir. July 29, 2019) Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Inc. and The Next Chapter Winery, LLC (collectively, Farm Wineries) appeal from an order granting summary judgment to the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (Commissioner). The district court held that the FarmWineries lack standing to challenge a Minnesota statute that requires them to manufacture their wine with a majority of the ingredients grown or produced in Minnesota. On appeal, the Farm Wineries claim that the district court erred by granting summary judgment to the Commissioner and ask us to consider the merits of the dispute. The Court reverses the district court’s order granting summary judgment and remand for further proceedings.

IN RE: GRAVES FARMS, Debtor IN RE: HAROLD DEAN GRAVES KAREN LYNN GRAVES Debtors IN RE: MICHAEL KEITH GRAVES RACHELLE RAE GRAVES Debtors., No. 18-10893, 2019 WL 3407134 (Bankr. D. Kan. July 26, 2019)

This is Graves Farms’ second attempt to confirm a plan. The initial Graves Farms Chapter 12 plan (the “Partnership Plan”) could not be confirmed because that debtor did not present evidence of its previous performance and the proposed plan represented a significant change in the debtor’s historical operations by adding a new crop (cotton), a new operator whose position or status with the debtor was unclear (Kylee Graves), and new debt. It was impossible to be “reasonabl[y] assur[ed] that the plan could be effectuated.” Now Graves Farms has filed a second amended plan (the “Joint Plan”) that not only addresses its debts, but also those of its individual partners, Harold Dean Graves (“Dean”) and Michael Graves (“Mike”), each of whom have filed individual Chapter 12 cases with their spouses. The Joint Plan proposes that Kylee Graves, Mike’s daughter, will operate the partnership farming assets, contribute some of her own assets and lines of credit, pay either salary or distributions to Dean and Mike, and, at the end of 2023, make balloon payments that will pay off RCB Bank’s allowed secured claims. The partnership debtor proposes to make distributions to its creditors through the Chapter 12 trustee and to pay Dean and Mike enough to service their individual debts.There remain too many factual, legal, and practical problems to confirm the Joint Plan. It still doesn’t appear that these three debtors can make all of their plan payments. Kylee’s legal relationship with the partnership debtor remains unclear. The Joint Plan doesn’t recognize the separate nature of the partnership’s and the individuals’ estates. It provides for paying a non-debtor’s debts with estate assets. It completely ignores partnership law concerns. It cannot be confirmed.

ARMANDO ZAVALA, Plaintiff, v. KRUSE-WESTERN, INC., et al., Defendants. Additional Party Names: GreatBanc Tr. Co., Kevin Kruse, W. Milling, LLC, No. 119CV00239DADSKO, 2019 WL 3387102 (E.D. Cal. July 26, 2019) This case arises from the sale of stock of defendant Kruse-Western, Inc. (“Kruse-Western”) to the Western Milling Employee Stock Ownership Plan (the “ESOP”). According to the allegations of the complaint, Western Milling, LLC (“Western Milling”) is a milling and feed manufacturer, and at all relevant times manufactured Western Blend Horse Feed and other animal feed blends. In some instances, manufacturing animal feed for different animals requires segregating the feeds from one another. As relevant here, an antibiotic known as monensin can be added to cattle and poultry feed, but that same antibiotic is toxic to horses. In September 2015, 21 horses died and many others became ill in Clovis, California due to monensin poisoning caused by Western Blend Horse Feed. That same month, Western Milling issued a recall of its Western Blend Horse Feed due to possible contamination. In 2016, the same facility that manufactured the tainted Horse Feed improperly mixed monensin into medicated cattle feed, contributing to the deaths of several dairy calves. This matter is before the court on the motion of defendants Kruse-Western, Inc., Kevin Kruse, and GreatBanc Trust Company (collectively, “defendants”) to dismiss the complaint. On July 16, 2019, that motion came before the court for hearing. Attorney Nina R. Wasow appeared on behalf of plaintiff Armando Zavala, and attorneys Lynn E. Calkins, Chelsea A. McCarthy, and Ian B. Wieland appeared on behalf of defendants. 

REGULATORY:

Notice of public meeting: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA; In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is announcing a meeting of the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (Committee). The meeting is being convened to examine the full spectrum of fruit and vegetable industry issues and provide recommendations and ideas to the Secretary of Agriculture on how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can tailor programs and services to better meet the needs of the U.S. produce industry. Info HERE

Final rule: Rural Housing Service, USDA; The Rural Housing Service (RHS or Agency) published a proposed rule on June 20, 2018 to amend the current regulation for the Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) Single Close Combination Construction to Permanent Loans (aka “single close loans”), and now adopts the proposed changes in this final rule with some modifications. As proposed, the Agency will amend the regulation to ease the financial costs of interim construction financing for non-depository lenders (warehouse line of credit lenders or warehouse lenders) by allowing a temporary interest rate higher than the permanent note rate for interim construction financing, remove the requirement for loan modification or re-amortization once construction is complete, and allow for the reserve of regularly scheduled principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) payments during the construction period. The final rule clarifies that the PITI reserve is an eligible use of single close loan funds. In addition, based on comments received, the Agency will allow single close loans for the rehabilitation of existing dwellings upon their purchase and eliminate maximum interest rate cap requirements for all SFHGLP loans. For clarity and completeness, the final rule also provides a definition of a warehouse lender and updates lender mortgage record retention requirements. 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 the extension with revision of a currently approved information collection, Role of Communities in Stewardship Contracting Projects. 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 information collection. This is a revision of a currently approved collection which FNS employs to determine public participation in the National School Lunch Program. Info HERE

Proposed rule: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA;

Section 5(a) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended, provides that households in which each member receives benefits under a State program funded under part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act (SSA) (also known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants [1) shall be categorically eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Currently, SNAP regulations broadly interpret “benefits” to mean cash assistance and non-cash or in-kind benefits or services from any TANF-funded program.[2]In operation, this has allowed categorical eligibility for SNAP to be conferred on households based on receipt of minimal benefits issued by TANF-funded programs which may not conduct a robust eligibility determination and do not meaningfully move families toward self-sufficiency. The Food and Nutrition Act has clear parameters regarding the income and resource limits that SNAP households must meet, and categorical eligibility is intended to apply only when the conferring program has properly determined eligibility. Extending categorical eligibility to participants who have not been screened for eligibility compromises program integrity and reduces public confidence that benefits are being provided to eligible households.

Therefore, the Department proposes updating the regulations to refine categorical eligibility requirements based on receipt of TANF benefits. Specifically, the Department proposes: (1) To define “benefits” for categorical eligibility to mean ongoing and substantial benefits; and (2) to limit the types of non-cash TANF benefits conferring categorical eligibility to those that focus on subsidized employment, work supports and childcare. The proposed rule would also require State agencies to inform FNS of all non-cash TANF benefits that confer categorical eligibility.

The proposed revisions would create a clearer and more consistent nationwide policy that ensures categorical eligibility is extended only to households that have sufficiently demonstrated eligibility by qualifying for ongoing and substantial benefits from TANF-funded programs designed to assist households and move them towards self-sufficiency.

In addition, the revisions would help ensure that receipt of nominal, one-time benefits or services do not confer categorical eligibility and would address program integrity issues that have surfaced since the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 changed the programs whose benefits confer categorical eligibility. The Department believes these revisions will maintain categorical eligibility’s dual purpose of streamlining program administration while ensuring that SNAP benefits are targeted to the appropriate households. Info HERE

Final rulemaking action; notification of decision to import: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA; We are advising the public of our decision to authorize the importation into the continental United States of fresh raspberry fruit from Morocco. Based on the findings of a pest risk analysis, which we made available to the public for review and comment, we have determined that the application of one or more designated phytosanitary measures will be sufficient to mitigate the risks of introducing or disseminating plant pests or noxious weeds via the importation of raspberries from Morocco. Info HERE

Notice of meeting: Forest Service, USDA; The Saguache Upper Rio Grande Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Del Norte, Colorado. 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