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

JUDICIAL: Includes labor, food labeling, and finance & credit issues.

In Jimmy Dean Austin, Appellant-Plaintiff, v. Jon Templin, Appellee-Defendant, No. 93A02-1705-EX-01187, 2017 WL 4665847 (Ind. Ct. App. October 18, 2017), plaintiff appealed Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s denial of his claim after he was injured working on a farm. Board ruled plaintiff was not entitled to receive worker’s compensation benefits because “he qualified as a farm or agricultural employee under Indiana’s Worker’s Compensation Act.” Plaintiff argued he was a “commercial laborer and not a farm employee” because he “primarily drove a semi-truck,” and therefore eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Court considered “whole character of [plaintiff’s] employment” and affirmed Board’s decision.

MARY SWEARINGEN, et al., Plaintiffs, v. LATE JULY SNACKS LLC, Defendant, No. 13-cv-04324-EMC, 2017 WL 4641896 (N.D.Cal. October 16, 2017) concerned defendant’s use of the term “evaporated cane juice” on its chip and cracker products. Plaintiffs claimed “evaporated cane juice” is a “misleading term for sugar,” and the use of the term is “unlawful” under the UCL. Defendant moved to dismiss. Plaintiff maintained use of the term “evaporated cane juice” violated provisions of the Sherman Law by “disseminat[ing] false or misleading food advertisements, selling falsely advertised food, advertising misbranded food, using false and misleading labeling.” Court noted that to establish standing, plaintiffs “must allege and demonstrate that they relied on the misrepresentation on the deceptive label ‘evaporated cane juice’ in order to show that they were harmed ‘as a result of’ the deceptive label.” Defendant’s motion to dismiss granted in part.

In GLORIA PALACIOS MORALEZ, Plaintiffs, v. THOMAS J. VILSACK, Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture Defendants, NO. 1:16-cv-00282-AWI-BAM, 2017 WL 4652730 (E.D. Cal. October 17, 2017), plaintiff alleged violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and Administrative Procedures Act (APA) by USDA. Plaintiff’s APA claim alleged USDA’s Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) “discriminated against her on the basis of race (Hispanic) and sex (female) in denying her claim for disaster relief benefits.” Defendant argued plaintiff is “estopped from litigating her APA claim as a result of her failure to disclose the claim in her bankruptcy proceedings and contending that her claim fails on the merits.” Court observed that plaintiff did not list her crop loss claims (tied to her race and sex discrimination charges) in her asset schedules, and concluded that “the trustee neither administered them nor abandoned them at the close of the bankruptcy case, and they remained the property of the bankruptcy estate.” Court ordered plaintiff to “show cause” by October 30, 2017.


S. 1959: A bill to designate certain Federal land in the State of California as wilderness, and for other purposes. This bill’s text is now available.

S. 825: Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Land Transfer Act of 2017. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Oct 17, 2017) is now available.

S. 1116: Indian Economic Enhancement Act of 2017. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Oct 17, 2017) is now available.

S. 1285: Oregon Tribal Economic Development Act. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Oct 17, 2017) is now available.

S. 1966: A bill to amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to modify the regional conservation partnership program, and for other purposes. This bill’s text is now available.

S. 1988: A bill to streamline broadband infrastructure permitting on established public rights-of-way. This bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

S. 1987: A bill to provide for the conveyance to the State of Iowa of the reversionary interest held by the United States in and to certain land in Pottawattamie County, Iowa. This bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

S. 1991: A bill to reduce the risk posed by wildfires to communities and the most at-risk federally owned forests. This bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

H.R. 4086: To adjust the boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to include the Rim of the Valley Corridor. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

MEETING: House Committee on Natural Resources. Oversight hearing titled “Empowering State Based Management Solutions for Greater Sage Grouse Recovery.” Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. (Location: LHOB 1324).

REGULATORY: Includes AMS, USDA, APHIS, EPA, FWS, ITA, NOAA, and RUS rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Notice AMS is seeking public comment on revisions to the United States Standards for Grades of Pork Carcasses. Info here.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: Assessing the Child Nutrition State Administrative Expense Allocation Formula. Info here.

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE: Rule APHIS is extending the comment period for our advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding potential revisions to the licensing requirements under our Animal Welfare Act regulations. Details here.


Rule EPA is proposing to determine that the deficiency that formed the basis for a disapproval of the contingency measures submitted for the San Joaquin Valley nonattainment area for the 1997 fine particulate matter national ambient air quality standards has been corrected. Info here.

Rule EPA proposes to approve a source-specific revision to the New York State Implementation Plan. Details here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Notice inviting the public to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered and threatened species. Details here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION: Notice ITA is rescinding its administrative review of utility scale wind towers from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for the period or review (POR) February 1, 2016, through January 31, 2017, based on the withdrawal of request for review. Details here.


Rule NMFS is adjusting the 2017 fishing year annual catch limit for Atlantic Herring Management Area 1A due to an underharvest in the New Brunswick weir fishery. This action is necessary to comply with the 2016-2018 specifications and management measures for the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management. Info here.

Rule NMFS announces a 12-month finding on a petition to list the chambered nautilus as a threatened species or an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Details here.

Rule NMFS proposes regulations to implement Framework Adjustment 2 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan. Details here.

Notice NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) to incidentally harass, by Level A and Level B harassment, marine mammals during construction activities associated with the Sand Point City Dock Replacement Project in Sand Point, Alaska. Info here.

Notice NMFS solicits nominations for the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Advisory Panel (AP). Details here.

Notice that permits or permit amendments have been issued to the following entities under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as applicable. Info here.


Notice RUS invites comments on this information collection for which RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Info here.

Notice RUS published a document in the Federal Register on October 12, 2017 announcing the availability of up to $10 million in fiscal year 2017 (FY17) and application deadlines for competitive grants to assist communities with extremely high energy costs. The current version of one of the required forms to be included with the Application was not correctly identified. Info here.