Pesticides/Herbicides: EPA Publishes Pesticide Registration Review Schedule Through 2025
On December 2, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the agency’s pesticide registration review schedule through fiscal year 2025, which the agency states it will now update quarterly rather than annually, the agency’s historical precedent. Although the 2007 amendments to the Federal Insecticide Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) require EPA to review all registered pesticides every fifteen years, EPA anticipates that it will extend its review beyond October 1, 2022 for some pesticides registered before October 1, 2007 due to pandemic challenges. According to the announcement, of the 726 pesticide cases registered before October 1, 2007, EPA has cancelled some or all uses in 120 cases and imposed new mitigation measures for 51% of antimicrobial pesticides and 70% of conventional pesticides with an interim or final decision. In the next few months, EPA states that it will publish its first pesticides workplan compliant with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), also a part of the registration review process, which the agency says will outline ESA-compliance steps “in ways that are fair and transparent to the agriculture sector.”
Agricultural Labor: Department of Labor Revised H-2A Minimum Wage Calculation
On December 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register revising the adverse effect wage rate, or minimum wage, for H-2A agricultural workers (86 FR 68174). As announced by the agency, the proposed rule will set the minimum wage for field and livestock workers for each state based on the average annual hourly wage for those workers as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Labor Survey (FLS), published semi-annually each May and November. For all other agricultural occupations, DOL will use data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Survey, published annually. The proposed rule has a comment period that closes January 31, 2022. The calculation and administration of the AEWR was changed by the prior White House administration in late 2020, but that effort was rescinded by the federal courts and the incoming administration in early 2021.
National Agricultural Policy: USDA Grants $75 Million to Twenty Organizations to Aid Underserved Farming Communities
On November 24, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the agency will grant $75 million in Section 1006 American Rescue Plan funds to twenty partner organizations to help underserved farming communities advocate for farmers and assist producers with business, tax, financial assistance, and market planning. Section 1006 of the 2021 American Rescue Plan (H.R.1319) appropriates more than $1 billion to assist socially disadvantaged producers. USDA states that it will train and collaborate with the chosen organizations to ensure “robust” partnerships. According to the announcement, USDA selected the twenty partner organizations for their demonstrated histories working with underserved farming communities:
- Alaska Village Initiatives
- Center for Farm Financial Management
- Farmers Legal Action Group
- Farmer Veteran Coalition
- Federation of Southern Cooperatives
- Hmong American Farmers Association
- Indian Land Tenure Foundation
- Intertribal Agriculture Council
- Land Loss Prevention Project
- National Black Growers Council
- National Black Farmers Association
- National Cooperative Business Association
- National Immigrant Farmer Initiative, Inc
- National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association
- National Young Farmers Coalition
- Rural Coalition
- The Center for Heirs Property Preservation
- The Kohala Center, Inc.
- The Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher Policy Center at Alcorn State Univ.
- World Farmers, Inc.
Crop Insurance: Micro Farm Insurance Available for 2022 Crop Year
On November 30, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced the availability of the Micro Farm Program for the 2022 crop year. Previously announced in October 2021, the policy is available for all U.S. farms with approved revenues up to $100,000 and covers value-added products and post-production costs. Under the Micro Farm Program, a single value is assigned to all farm commodities based on the average revenue for the prior three years. Producers with vertically integrated operations or crops insured through an alternate insurance policy are ineligible for the Micro Farm Program. For background, see ALWR—Oct. 8, 2021, “USDA Announces New ‘Micro Farm’ Whole-Farm Revenue Protection for Small, Local Producers, Includes Value-Added Sales Revenues.”
Crop Insurance: USDA Accommodates Cover Crops Through Crop Insurance Changes
On December 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced multiple material changes to several crop insurance programs and eligibility provisions, which include changes to prevented planting program eligibility accommodating a producer’s establishment and maintenance of cover crops while not interfering with prevented planting claims made for a principal crop on the same acreage. In addition, on December 2, 2021, RMA announced revisions to the hemp crop insurance policy to account for real-world hemp production contract terms, such as contracts with both acreage and a production amount. The revisions removed delivery requirements for a crop with no economic value due to regulatory non-compliance and utilize more accurate crop value measurements which account for hemp acreage grown from seeds as well as seedlings.
Agribusiness: USDA Releases 2021 Farm Sector Income Forecast
On December 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) published the 2021 Farm Sector Income Forecast. ERS forecasts that farm cash receipts for 2021 will total $427.3 billion in unadjusted dollars, an increase of $64.7 billion. Of that increase, the agency predicts that total animal and animal product receipts will increase by $29.3 billion and total crop receipts will increase by $35.4, with nearly all crop gains going to corn, soybeans, and wheat while cash receipts are forecasted to fall $1.6 billion for vegetables, melons, fruits, and nuts. ERS also forecasts that net farm income for 2021 will total $116.8 billion, an 18.7% increase from 2020 of $18.4 billion in inflation-adjusted 2021 dollars. Additionally, ERS forecasts that net cash farm income for 2021 will total $133.0 billion, a 10.5% increase from 2020 of $12.6 billion in inflation-adjusted 2021 dollars. According to the report, if these gains are realized, 2021 net farm income would be at its highest level since 2013 and net cash farm income would be at its highest level since 2014.
CENTER FOR AGRICULTURAL AND SHALE LAW (CASL) PROGRAMS & RESOURCES
Agricultural Law Podcast:
Weekly Episode #200. OSHA Vaccination Mandate Immediately Stayed by Federal Court & EPA and Army Published “Waters of the United States” Proposed Rule (Nov. 24, 2021).
Weekly Episode #199. Investors Adequately Alleged Securities Claims Against Bayer’s Monsanto Purchase & Industry Groups Appeal WOTUS Vacatur (Nov. 5, 2021).
Weekly Episode #198. Court Declines to Dismiss Suit to Compel USDA Animal Welfare Regulation & Producer Groups Challenge Chlorpyrifos Revocation (Nov. 2, 2021).
Special Episodes #13 – 15. Three-Part Series on Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board:
- #13. Milk Marketing Board—Part 1: What is the Board & What Does It Do? (Nov. 15, 2021).
- #14. Milk Marketing Board—Part 2: Recent Developments in Producer Payment and Termination (Nov. 15, 2021).
- #15. Milk Marketing Board—Part 3: Payment Bond Claims, Dean Bankruptcy, & Bulk Tank Calibration (Nov. 15, 2021).
Special Episode #12. Cell Cultured Food Regulations (Nov. 1, 2021).
2022 Pennsylvania Farm Show Agricultural Law Symposium, January 11 & 13, 2022, from 1-3:15pm (EST). Registration is free and Pennsylvania attorneys can receive four hours of substantive CLE credits.
2022 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, Hershey PA, Center Staff Attorney Jackie Schweichler will be presenting on Wed. Feb. 2, 2022 at 11:00am on “Legal Liability Risks from Business Invitees on the Farm,” and again at 2:30pm on “Legal Considerations for Agritourism.”
Penn State News, Research, & Resources:
Agricultural Law/Policy Resources of Interest:
Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr./Jana Caracciolo, Procedures: The Regulatory Process (Nov. 30, 2021).
Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr./Samantha Mikolajczyk, Department of Homeland Security Makes Changes to Immigration Enforcement (Dec. 2, 2021).
Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr./Brigit Rollins, Resources for Underserved Communities: Highlight on Environmental Justice (Dec. 3, 2021).
AFBF Market Intel, Reviewing 2021 H-2A Participation and Potential 2022 H-2A Wages (Dec. 2, 2021)
Univ. Neb.-Lincoln, Agricultural Economics, Crop Insurance Premium Subsidies Influence on Family Farms (Oct. 27, 2021).
- Policy Modeling/Azzeddine Azzam, Cory Walters, & Taylor Kaus, Does Subsidized Crop Insurance Affect Farm Industry Structure? Lessons from the U.S. (July 2021).
- Progressive Farmer’s Ag Policy Blog/Chris Clayton, Researchers: Farm Consolidation Tied to Crop Insurance Subsidies (Nov. 29, 2021).
Univ. Md. Risk Mgmt. Educ. Blog/Paul Goeringer, Federal Estate Tax and Gift Tax Limits Announced For 2022 (Dec. 1, 2021).
Ohio St. Univ. Ext. Farm Office Blog/Jeffrey K. Lewis, New Year, New Minimum Wage.(Dec. 3, 2021
Agric. Law and Tax’n Blog/Roger A. McEowen, Selected Tax Provisions of House Bill No. 5376—and Economic Implications (Nov. 29, 2021).
Agric. Law and Tax’n Blog/Roger A. McEowen, Recent Court Decisions of Interest (Dec. 3, 2021).
Animal Agric. Alliance, Animal Agricultural Alliance Makes 2021 Virtual Summit [“Obstacles to Opportunities”] Recording Publicly Available (Nov. 30, 2021).
Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, 2020 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report (Nov. 2021).
Dairy Foods Podcast/Let’s Talk Dairy, Addressing Climate Change Via the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance (Dec. 2, 2021).
Agriculture-Related Legislative Hearings:
U.S. House Agriculture Committee, The Immediate Challenges to our Nation’s Food Supply Chain, video and written testimony (recorded Nov. 3, 2021).
U.S. Senate Agriculture/Subcommittee on Nutrition, Agricultural Research, and Specialty Crops, The State of Nutrition in America 2021 (recorded Nov. 2, 2021).
Weekly Featured Graphics:
AFBF Market Intel, Reviewing 2021 H-2A Participation and Potential 2022 H-2A Wages (Dec. 2, 2021).
AGENCY PRESS RELEASES—STATE/FEDERAL
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PRESS RELEASES:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) PRESS RELEASES:
USDA Announces Agricultural Outlook Forum Theme and Program (Nov. 30, 2021).
USDA AGENCY PRESS RELEASES:
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
USDA Seeks Nominees for National Watermelon Promotion Board (Nov. 30, 2021).
USDA Announces Appointments to the Hass Avocado Board (Nov. 30, 2021).
Pre-Solicitation Announcement for Section 32 Purchase of Hazelnuts (Nov. 30, 2021).
AMS Enforcement Actions
Agricultural Research Service
Natural Products May Be Buzzworthy Solutions for Honey Bees’ Health (Nov. 29, 2021).
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
USDA APHIS Launches New Facebook Page (Dec. 1, 2021).
Farm Service Agency
Food Safety and Inspection Service
Foreign Agricultural Service
Export Sales to Unknown Destinations [Soybeans] (Nov. 30, 2021).
Export Sales to Colombia [Corn] (Dec. 1, 2021).
Export Sales to China and Unknown Destinations [Soybeans] (Dec. 2, 2021).
Export Sales to Unknown Destinations [Soybeans] (Dec. 3, 2021).
National Agricultural Statistics Service
NASS Suspends Pecan Estimates for December and January (Dec. 2, 2021).
Risk Management Agency
USDA Improves, Strengthens Crop Insurance for Hemp Producers (Dec. 2, 2021).
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 51, No. 49—Dec. 4, 2021):
Department of Agriculture
51 Pa.B. 7485 Notice: “Standards and Requirements for the Bureau of Farmland Preservation Soil Health Education Grant.”
51 Pa.B. 7496 Notice: “Temporary Order Designating Dangerous Transmissible Diseases.”
Department of Environmental Protection
51 Pa.B. 7498 Notice: “Applications for NPDES and WQM Permits Under the Clean Streams Law and Federal Clean Water Act.”
Environmental Quality Board
51 Pa.B. 7588 Notice: “Meeting Cancellation [December 21, 2021].”
51 Pa.B. 7405 EXECUTIVE ORDER 2021-07 “Environmental Justice.”
SB 960 “An Act amending Title 3 (Agriculture) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in food protection, providing for frozen dessert safety; and making a related repeal.” Referred to AGRICULTURE AND RURAL AFFAIRS [Senate] (Nov. 29, 2021).
HB 2117 “An Act amending . . . the Solid Waste Management Act, in enforcement and remedies, providing for criminal proceedings [‘Empowering the Attorney General to Pursue Polluters’].” Referred to ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY [House] (Dec. 3, 2021).
HB 2118 “An Act amending . . . The Clean Streams Law, in procedure and enforcement, further providing for summary proceedings [‘Empowering the Attorney General to Pursue Polluters’].” Referred to ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY [House] (Dec. 3, 2021).
HB 2119 “An Act . . . the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act, further providing for penalties and remedies [‘Empowering the Attorney General to Pursue Polluters’].” Referred to ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY [House] (Dec. 3, 2021).
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register Nov. 29–Dec. 3, 2021):
Agricultural Marketing Service
86 FR 68625 Notice—Comment Period: “Opportunity To Comment on Applicants for the West Lafayette, Indiana U.S. Grain Standards Act Designation Area” (Dec. 3, 2021).
86 FR 67899 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS): 2022 Wisconsin Groundwater Survey]” (Nov. 30, 2021).
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
86 FR 67661 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Import Regulations for Horses” (Nov. 29, 2021).
86 FR 67675 Notice, comments accepted: “Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records” (Nov. 29, 2021).
86 FR 68533 Final Rule: “Handling of Animals; Contingency Plans” (Dec. 3, 2021).
86 FR 68834 Rule: “Importation of Sheep, Goats, and Certain Other Ruminants” (Dec. 3, 2021).
Employment and Training Administration
86 FR 68174 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Adverse Effect Wage Rate Methodology for the Temporary Employment of H-2A Nonimmigrants in Non-Range Occupations in the United States” (Dec. 1, 2021).
Environmental Protection Agency
86 FR 68150 Final Rule, comments accepted: “Bifenthrin; Pesticide Tolerances” (Dec. 1, 2021).
86 FR 68251 Notice: “Great Lakes Advisory Board Notice for Virtual Meeting” (Dec. 1, 2021).
86 FR 68252 Notice—Comment Period: “Proposed Settlement Agreement, Clean Water Act” (Dec. 1, 2021).
Farm Credit Administration
86 FR 68395 Rule: “Regulatory Capital Rules: Tier 1/Tier 2 Framework” (Dec. 2, 2021).
Farm Service Agency
86 FR 67900 Notice—Comment Period: “Information Collection Requests; Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP) and Pandemic Assistance for Timber and Haulers and Harvesters (PATHH)” (Nov. 30, 2021).
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
86 FR 67831 Final Rule, comments accepted: “Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Sunflower Seed Crop Insurance Provisions; Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Coarse Grains Crop Insurance Provisions; and Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Dry Bean Crop Insurance Provisions” (Nov. 30, 2021).
Federal Highway Administration
86 FR 67782 Notice—Comment Period: “Development of Guidance for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Deployment” (Nov. 29, 2021).
Food and Drug Administration
86 FR 68673 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packaging, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption” (Dec. 3, 2021).
Food and Nutrition Service
86 FR 68460 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities: 2023 Farm to School Census” (Dec. 2, 2021).
86 FR 68625 Notice—Comment Period: “Information Collection: Workforce Development Participant Tracking Form Formerly Public Lands Corps Tracking Sheet” (Dec. 3, 2021).
National Agricultural Statistics Service
86 FR 68626 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Intent To Request To Conduct a New Information Collection [Agricultural Resource Management phase 3 Economic Surveys]” (Dec. 3, 2021).
86 FR 68628 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Intent To Request To Conduct a New Information Collection [Cooperator Funded Chemical Use Surveys]” (Dec. 3, 2021).
86 FR 68629 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Intent To Seek Approval To Revise and Extend a Currently Approved Information Collection [Agricultural Resources Management Survey and Chemical Use Surveys]” (Dec. 3, 2021).
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
86 FR 67680 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Intent To Extend and Revise a Currently Approved Information Collection” (Nov. 29, 2021).
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
86 FR 67977 Notice—Comment Period: “Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health” (Nov. 30, 2021).
86 FR 68560 Interim Final Rule, comments accepted: “COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard” (Dec. 3, 2021).
86 FR 68594 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings; Extension of Comment Period” (Dec. 3, 2021).
U.S. HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE:
H.Res.775 “Recognizing the 125th anniversary of the National Grain and Feed Association and celebrating the history and longstanding efforts of the Association and its members in transforming the American farmer’s bounty into safe, nutritious, sustainable, and affordable human and animal food.” Referred to the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management (Nov. 30, 2021).
H.R.5749 “Gas Consumer Emergency Market Protection Act.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit (Nov. 30, 2021).
H.R.5863 “End Palm Oil Deforestation Act.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture (Nov. 30, 2021).
H.R.5907 “Water Infrastructure for Rural and Impoverished Communities Act.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit (Nov. 30, 2021).
H.R.6100 “To amend the Animal Welfare Act to increase enforcement with respect to violations of that Act, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (Dec. 1, 2021).
H.Res.811 “Expressing support for the designation of November 18, 2021, as ‘National Rural Mental Health Day.’” Referred to the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research (Dec. 2, 2021).
H.R.5688 “People-Centered Assistance Reform Effort Act” or the “People CARE Act.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations (Dec. 2, 2021).
H.R.5992 “Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2021.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture (Dec. 2, 2021).
H.R.6003 “Veteran and Beginning Farmers Assistance Act of 2021.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit (Dec. 2, 2021).
H.R.4374 “Broadband Internet Connections for Rural America Act.” House Committee on Energy and Commerce Granted an extension for further consideration ending not later than Jan. 21, 2022 (Dec. 3, 2021).
U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE AGRICULTURE, NUTRITION, AND FORESTRY:
S.3281 “A bill to amend the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act to clarify and expand food donation, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Nov. 30, 2021).
S.3283 “A bill to amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to fully protect the safety of children and the environment, to remove dangerous pesticides from use, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Nov. 30, 2021).
S.3292 “A bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture to initiate hearings to review Federal milk marketing orders relating to pricing of Class I skim milk, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Dec. 1, 2021).
Top #AgLaw HotLinks Nov. 29–Dec. 3, 2021
Biden Official Says Port Traffic Is Improving, Brownfield
USDA Allows More Leeway on Cover Crops, Successful Farming
Bill Restricts Retroactive RFS Volume Cuts, Feedstuffs
California Tells Farmers to Expect No Surface Water Deliveries in 2022, Courthouse News Service
Subscribe to the Pennsylvania Farm Employers’ Listserv (PFEL), an email networking and resource-sharing group about human resources topics exclusively for agricultural operations and producers, by sending an email with “subscribe” in the subject line to [email protected].
Audry Thompson—Research Assistant
Brook Duer—Staff Attorney