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

                                                                                                                                               

JUDICIAL: Includes anti-trust claims

In GARRETT AND RALPH SITTS, et al. v. DAIRY FARMERS OF AMERICA, INC. & DAIRY MARKETING SERVICES, LLC, Defendants., No. 2:16-CV-287, 2019 WL 4739533, at *1 (D. Vt. Sept. 27, 2019) the court considered antitrust issues involving dairy products. The plaintiffs in this case are dairy farmers who opted out of a settlement previously approved by the court in a class action case. Plaintiffs sought relief under the Sherman Act for antitrust violations allegedly committed by the defendants. The defendant Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is the largest dairy cooperative in the United States and is involved in a series of supply agreements with milk processors across the Northeast. Plaintiffs contended that DFA had obtained control over dairy farmers’ milk through a series of allegedly anticompetitive agreements at both the cooperative and processor levels to “depress prices paid to dairy farmers for their raw Grade A milk.” Defendants argued that the plaintiff’s claims against them should be dismissed because plaintiffs failed to establish a “hub-and-spoke” conspiracy as required by the Sherman Act. Ultimately, the court found for the defendants and dismissed the plaintiffs’ Sherman Act claims for failure to establish a conspiracy.

                                                                                                                                               

REGULATORY: Includes AMS, EPA, FSIS, NOAA, USDA

AGRICULTURE MARKETING SERVICE

Final Rule removing smooth net-like russeting as a grade-determining factor for Fuji apples in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Apples. Info here.

Proposed Rule changing the Florida Tomato Committee’s size, length of terms of office, and quorum requirements. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

Call for Information for quality-assured emissions and process data, calculation models, and methodologies relevant to developing emissions of volatile organic compounds from animal feeding operations. Info here.

FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICES

Final Rule establishing an optional new inspection system for market hog slaughter establishments, affecting all establishments regardless of size, age, or class of swine. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION

Temporary Rule transferring a portion of the 2019 commercial flounder quotas from the States of North Carolina and Maine to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Connecticut. Info here.

Temporary Rule closing the purse seine fishing effort in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine (ELAPS) as a result of reaching the 2019 limit for conservation and management. Info here.

Temporary Rule opening directed fishing for Pacific ocean perch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. Info here.

Final Rule implementing management measures for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico, reducing the red grouper commercial and recreational annual catch limits and annual catch targets, as necessary to protect the red grouper stock. Info here.

Temporary Rule adjusting the commercial scup quota and per-trip Federal landing limit to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan. Info here.

Final Temporary Rule revising the Atlantic migratory group king mackerel commercial trip limit within the Atlantic southern zone. Info here.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Proposed Rule reopening the comment period to amend the origin of livestock requirements for dairy animals under the USDA organic regulations. Info here.