Publications: Specialty Crops


Industrial Hemp Laws: State-by-State

John Ogle, Research Fellow; National Agricultural Law Center
Rusty Rumley, Senior Staff Attorney; National Agricultural Law Center

Most states enacted industrial hemp laws after the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, and with the 2018 Farm Bill further expanding the ability of farmers to grow industrial hemp under state or federal authority that number will only increase.  Further, states with existing state regulatory schemes will also likely adapt their laws to comply with the language from the 2018 Farm Bill in order to grow this new industry in their state. While the overall statutory schemes may be similar, each state has noticeably different content in the specific details of the laws. This publication provides a categorization of typical and reoccurring provisions within industrial hemp laws that have been passed in various states.  The primary aim of this compilation is to provide the researcher with a way to recognize and distinguish specific provisions have been included in the statutory language among various states.  It was last updated on 12/31/18. Access this compilation Posted 2/1/19 



Food Safety and Specialty Crops

Rusty W. Rumley Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center

Specialty crops are uniquely susceptible to the presence of foodborne diseases for several reasons. Many specialty crops are eaten uncooked, or with minimal processing and it is often difficult to fully clean or sanitize them depending on the specific fruit or vegetable. Issues such as regulations and liability are becoming increasingly important as technology improves. This factsheet address some of the legal concerns that specialty crop growers may face when marketing their product even with the recent advent of “cottage food” laws across the country.    Download this article. Posted September 28, 2012.



Food Labeling for Specialty Crop Producers

Elizabeth R. Rumley Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center

The requirements and restrictions on food labels are an important part of the food safety and regulation system in the United States. The topic of “food labeling,” however, is very broad, encompassing several specific areas of the law that may affect specialty crop producers. This factsheet address each of these topics briefly to provide growers with a general ideal about what each of these claims mean legally.    Download this article. Posted September 28, 2012.



Approval of Pesticides

Rusty W. Rumley Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center

Since the 1950s the use of pesticides has developed rapidly. With over 18,000 pesticides currently in use there must exist a system by which these chemicals can be approved and recertified as time and technology advance. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with approving pesticides for use in a wide variety of applications. Because of unique circumstances, state agencies may also be tasked with approving pesticides for a specific purpose. This factsheet address some of the approval process for both the EPA and for the circumstances where a state agency may need to address problems that are unique to their situation.    Download this article. Posted September 27, 2012.



Crop Insurance for Edamame

Rusty W. Rumley Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center

One of the critical issues that many farmers face is the use of crop insurance to mitigate the risks that they face from farming. Drought, hail, pests, flooding, and price declines are just some of those risks. Many crops are eligible for federally backed crop insurance to prevent one of these occurrences from financially devastating a farmer. There are some crops; however, that may not qualify for the protection provided by one of the many different forms of crop insurance. This factsheet address some of the issues that are facing edamame (or immature soybean) growers across the country.    Download this article. Posted September 27, 2012.



Non-GMO Labeling

Rusty W. Rumley and Elizabeth R. Rumley Staff Attorneys National Agricultural Law Center

Consumers are becoming extremely interested in knowing about aspects of their food such as production methods and what ingredients are included in the final product. The labeling of food products is regulated primarily by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the requirements for the usage of certain labels can vary significantly. Labels such as “Certified Organic” require rigid adherence to the rules in order to place this label upon a product. Other labels do not have this same level of scrutiny. This factsheet address some of the labeling issues found with listing products as “non-gmo” (i.e. not using genetically modified organisms).    Download this article. Posted September 27, 2012.