Avian Influenza: Detections Now in Sixteen States
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) detected in  domestic poultry in the following states: Indiana—Feb. 8, 16, 23 (two separate premises) and 24 and Mar. 2 in commercial turkeys; Kentucky—Feb. 12 in commercial broiler chickens (broilers) and Feb. 15 in commercial turkeys; Virginia—Feb. 12 in mixed backyard poultry; New York—Feb. 19 and 24 (two separate premises) in various non-commercial poultry; Maine—Feb. 19 and 23 in backyard poultry; Delaware—Feb. 22 in broilers and laying hens (layers) and Mar. 8 in commercial pullets; Michigan—Feb. 23 in backyard poultry; Iowa—Mar. 1 in backyard poultry; Connecticut—Mar 1 in backyard poultry;  Missouri—Mar. 4 (two separate premises) in broilers and backyard poultry and Mar. 8 and 9 in commercial turkeys; Maryland—Mar. 4,8 and 10 in commercial layers and broilers; South Dakota—Mar. 5 in a commercial mixed species flock; Iowa—Mar. 6 in commercial turkeys; Kansas—Mar. 12 in backyard poultry; Illinois—Mar. 12 in backyard poultry; Wisconsin—Mar. 13 in commercial layers. According to APHIS, depopulation thus far has included more than: (1) 373,000 commercial turkeys; (2) 7.22 million commercial chickens, 2.3 million of which are in Delaware and Maryland counties adjoining southeastern Pennsylvania, including Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. According to USDA-NASS, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is the #4 ranked county in the U.S. for poultry and egg production with an inventory of approximately 29.6 million commercial poultry as of Dec. 31, 2017. (Last updated Mar. 15, 2022.)

Avian Influenza: Maryland Issues Poultry Litter Movement Restriction in Four Counties
On March 9, 2022, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) issued an order restricting the movement of all poultry litter in Cecil County, Kent County, and portions of Queen Anne County and Caroline County, Maryland due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), effective immediately.  Poultry litter originating within the restricted areas may not be transported in to, out of, or within the restricted areas.  Additionally, restricted-area farms may not create new stockpiles of poultry litter, although they may distribute litter on fields with stockpiles that predate March 9, 2022.  Poultry litter originating outside the restricted areas may be transported through, but haulers may not stop at any restricted-area farms.  Violations of the order carry criminal penalties and fines up to $10,000.  Additionally, on March 8, 2022, MDA issued a quarantine order restricting the movement of hatching eggs and poultry in a ten kilometer “control area” in Cecil County, Maryland.

Dairy Policy: Organic Valley Offers Letters of Intent to 80 Northeast Organic Dairy Producers
On March 8, 2022, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) announced that Wisconsin-based CROPP Cooperative (doing organic dairy business as Organic Valley), has issued letters of intent to eighty Northeast organic dairy farms offering “a market for their milk.”  Organic Valley’s actions follow the Danone (doing business as Horizon Organic) August 2021 announcement that it would terminate over one hundred Northeast organic dairy farms as raw milk suppliers.  According to an announcement from Organic Valley, ten Northeast organic dairy producers have already become members of Organic Valley.  For background, see ALWR—Aug. 27, 2021, “Danone Terminates Horizon Organic Producers,” and ALWR—Dec. 24 & 31, 2021, “Danone North America Extends Northeast Horizon Organic Contracts Until February 2023.”

Antitrust: 2022 Appropriations Act Provides $1 Million for Cattle Contract Library Pilot Program
On March 10, 2022, the U.S. Senate approved (68–31) the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (H.R. 2471), previously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on June 29, 2021.  Section 779 of the legislation allots $1 million until September 30, 2023 for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to create a Cattle Contracts Library pilot program to be maintained in AMS’s Livestock, Poultry, and Grain Market News Division, similar to USDA’s Swine Contract Library established under the Packers and Stockyards Act (7 U.S.C. § 198a).  In response, the North American Meat Institute issued a press release on March 11, 2022, criticizing the law’s provision allowing AMS to promulgate rules for the program without public comment, calling the law “vague,” and stating that it will require producers to “report proprietary and sensitive data to the government for publication.”  However, bipartisan legislation to create a cattle contract library passed the House in December 2021 (H.R.5609), which was endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation as a “common sense” move to increase cattle market transparency.

Biotechnology: FDA Determines ‘Low-Risk’ for Gene-edited Cattle, Allowed for Food Use
On March 7, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its Enforcement Discretion for Animals with Intentional Genomic Alterations (IGAs) to include a “low-risk” determination for two PRLR-SLICK beef cattle, an IGA developed using CRISPR gene-editing.  This allows for the first-time the sale of food products from animals possessing a trait produced by gene-editing which can be reproduced in offspring.  The gene-editing in this instance produces a “slick” haircoat that is reportedly beneficial in hot weather.  After conducting a risk assessment of genome and DNA data submitted by Acceligen, Inc., FDA determined that the IGA in PRLR-SLICK cattle are equivalent to natural mutations resulting in the same trait and have a history of safe use in animal agriculture food production. FDA states that its “low-risk” determination “is not a determination of ‘safety’ under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act but is instead a determination that a product is low risk enough that it is not an FDA enforcement priority” but that FDA may reevaluate its decision should it discover new information about the risks of the PRLR-SLICK IGA.  Because of FDA’s “low-risk” determination, FDA states that it does not expect entities that breed and produce PRLR-SLICK cattle using conventional methods to register with the agency.  According to an announcement by FDA, Acceligen, Inc. intends to sell PRLR-SLICK genetic material to “select customers in the global market soon and anticipates meat products will be available for purchase by general consumers as early as two years.”  See also ALWR Dec. 18, 2020, “FDA Approves ‘GalSafe’ Pigs for Human Food and Therapeutic Uses.”

Agricultural Finance: USDA Amends Farm Loan Program, Allows ‘Equitable Relief’ for Noncompliant Borrowers and Higher Loan Limits
On March 9, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) published a final rule in the Federal Register amending the agency’s Farm Loan Programs (FLP) as mandated and authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill (87 FR 13117).  The rule implements several changes to Farm Ownership loans (FOL) and Farm Operating loans (OL).  Among several changes, the final rule (1) amends the three-year farming experience requirement for FOLs to allow a loan applicant to substitute “acceptable experience,” for two of the three years; (2) increases the Direct FOL loan limit to $600,000, increases the Direct OL limit to $400,000, and increases both FOL and OL Guaranteed loan limits to $1,750,000; (3) increases the rate for third-party provided FSA Guaranteed FOLs and OLs from 90% to 95% (of $1,825,000—the $1,750,000 limit) for qualified beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers; and (4) allows FSA to provide equitable relief, as deemed appropriated by the agency, to certain borrowers “who are non-compliant with program requirements due to good faith reliance on a material action of, advice of, or non-action from an FSA official.”  Also announced by FSA, the rule provides additional FLP benefits for veterans, allows emergency loans for borrowers who have received debt restructuring, and expands the issues allowable under the Certified Mediation Program, including issues relating to the national organic program, family farm transitions, farmer-neighbor conflicts, credit counseling, and issues deemed appropriate by a State Department of Agriculture.  The final rule was effective upon publication.

Industrial Hemp: New York Allows Conditional Marijuana Cultivation Licenses for Hemp Producers
On February 22, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law A.9283, which allows New York hemp farmers to obtain conditional licenses to produce marijuana, as allowed by the state’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) (S.854a), enacted in March 2021. The governor and the New York Assembly announced the bill allows authorized hemp farmers who have cultivated hemp for at least two of the past four years to apply for an Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License with the New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), established by the MRTA. Holders of the conditional license may grow marijuana for up to two years and may also manufacture and distribute cannabis flower products without a processor or distributor license until June 1, 2023.  Licensees may grow up to 43,560 square feet (one acre) of marijuana outdoors or up to 25,000 square feet in a greenhouse with up to twenty artificial lights or may split between growing outdoor and greenhouse crops for a maximum total canopy of 30,000 square feet provided the greenhouse canopy totals no more than 20,000 square feet.  Additionally, license holders will be required to meet sustainability requirements, assent to a “labor peace agreement with bona-fide labor organization” representing the license holder’s employees, and participate in a social equity mentorship program in which the licensee provides cannabis production training to social equity applicants to educate them for potential roles in the cannabis industry.


New at aglaw.psu.edu:

Agricultural Law Podcasts

Episode #208, Federal Court Denies Prop 12 Preliminary Injunction & EPA Denies All Objections to Chlorpyrifos Rule (Mar. 10, 2022).

Episode #207, Ag Groups File Suit to Stay Chlorpyrifos Rule & High Path Avian Influenza Confirmed in Commercial Flocks (Feb. 28, 2022).

Episode #206, Pa. Mushroom Co-op Not Entitled to Antitrust Protection & USDA Opens Online Complaint Portal (Feb. 16, 2022).


Webinar Series: Legal Planning for Specialty Crop Producers: Understanding Liability Protections, Regulatory Processes and Other Legal Risks, free webinars via Zoom consisting of 6 sessions, plus 2 recaps/workshops, on the prevention and planning necessary to best avoid contractual, tort, and regulatory liabilities in conducting income-augmenting activities such as direct sales, pick-your-own, value-added processing, or agritourism and agritainment. More info and one-time registration for the series is at aglaw.psu.edu.  Register at any time to see all past recordings.

  • Mar. 9, 2022: Legal Liability Risks from Business Invitees on the Farm (registrants have access to the recording).
  • Mar. 23, 2022, noon: Legal Liabilities in Selling Raw and Processed Specialty Crop Products.
  • Apr. 6, 2022, noon: Business Structures for Operational Resilience and Liability Avoidance.

We Conserve PA, Solar Series (4 webinars): More info and registration for the series is at weconservepa.org. Center Staff Attorney Brook Duer will a series presenter and panelist in this series co-presented with Penn State Extension.

*Being presented in Gettysburg PA as part of the Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conference.

Mar. 23, 2022, Penn State Extension Webinar, Farmland Preservation Programs and Techniques in Pennsylvania, noon-1:30 pm, ET. Center Staff Attorney Brook Duer will be a presenter. Registration.

Mar. 31, 2022, Delaware Law School at Widener University, All Matters FDA: 12th Annual Food and Drug Law Symposium, 1:00–5:15 pm ET, presented virtually. Four (4) CLE credits available. Center Staff Attorney Brook Duer will be panelist speaking on enforcement of state food safety laws and regulations. Pre-Registration.

Connect with the Center at aglaw.psu.edu, Facebook, or Twitter @AgShaleLaw 

Top #AgLaw HotLinks March 7–11, 2022

USDA Lowers Wheat, Corn Export Estimates for Ukraine; Fertilizer, Food Security Worries Escalate, Farm Policy News

Wheat: “Crazed Cash Market,” Many Grain Elevators Stop Issuing Bids as Futures and Cash Prices Diverge, Farm Policy News

City of Los Angeles Sues Monsanto for Lasting Damages Caused by Toxic PCBs, Law Street

Wheat Soars to 14-Year High; Surge to $14 Possible, Citigroup Says, Farm Policy News

Need for Vegetable Oils Driving Chinese Purchases of US Soybeans, Brownfield

Pennsylvania Farm/Food Employers’ Listserv (PFEL) is a human resources networking group exclusively for farm and food employers. Subscribe by email with “subscribe” in the subject line to [email protected].

Agricultural Law & Policy Resources of Interest:   

Academic & Government Resources

Media & Industry Resources

Penn State News, Research & Resources

Weekly Featured Graphics:

U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog, What the U.S. Dairy Export Council Did to Help Lift 2021 Exports to New Highs (Feb. 28, 2022).

Agriculture-Related Legislative Hearings & Reports: 

PA Senate Env. Res. Comm, Joint Public Hearing on Economic Impacts of RGGI, Mar. 21, 2022, 1:00 pm, Hearing Room 1, N. Office Bldg. Livestreamed.

U.S. House Ag. Comm, 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: The Role of USDA Programs in Addressing Climate Change, Mar. 16, 2022, 10:00 am.



New Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture to Meet March 23-24 (March 8, 2022).

USDA Announces $35 Million Funding Opportunity to Support Underserved and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (March 9, 2022).

USDA Announces American Rescue Plan Technical Assistance Investment to Benefit Underserved Farmers, Ranchers and Forest Landowners (March 9, 2022).

Biden-Harris Administration Issues Call for Wildfire Commission Member Applications (March 10, 2022).

USDA Announces Plans for $250 Million Investment to Support Innovative American-made Fertilizer to give US Farmers more choices in the Marketplace (March 11, 2022).


Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 

USDA Reaches a Consent Decision Against Daniel Baranzini, Carlos Plascencia and Sonoran Cattle LLC for Alleged Violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act (March 7, 2022).

USDA Issues a Packers and Stockyards Complaint Against Gregg Ebner Jr. (March 7, 2022).

USDA Issues a Complaint against Natural Bridge Stockyard Inc. and Calvin D. (Bo) Wells, Jr. (March 7, 2022).

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 

PPQ 546 & PPQ 585 Applications Now Available in APHIS eFile! (March 7, 2022).

USDA Confirms Citrus Canker in a South Carolina Nursery and Takes Action to Collect and Destroy Affected Plants (March 9, 2022).

United States, Canada Agree on Protocol to Guide the Cross-Border Transit of Animals in Emergency Situations (March 10, 2022).

Osama El Lissy, Former APHIS Deputy Administrator, Named Secretary of the International Plant Protection Convention (March 11, 2022).

USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Kansas and Illinois (March 12, 2022).

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

USDA Updates Farm Loan Programs to Increase Equity (March 8, 2022).

USDA to Extend Application Deadlines for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Funding Opportunity (March 11, 2022).

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) 

Constituent Update – March 11, 2022 (March 11, 2022).

Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) 

Export Sales to China [Soybeans] (March 7, 2022).

Export Sales to Philippines [Hard Red Spring Wheat], China [Soybeans], and Unknown Destinations [Soybeans] (March 8, 2022).

Export Sales to Colombia [Corn] and Unknown Destinations [Soybean Oil] (March 9, 2022).

Export Sales to China [Soybeans] and Unknown Destinations [Corn] (March 11, 2022).

G7 Agriculture Ministers Respond to Russian Invasion of Ukraine (March 11, 2022).

USDA Announces Additional International Trade Missions for 2022 (March 11, 2022).

National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

March Crop Production (March 9, 2022).

National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

USDA Report Shows a Decade of Conservation Trends (March 10, 2022).

USDA to Extend Application Deadlines for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Funding Opportunity (March 11, 2022).

FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register  March 7–11, 2022):            

Agricultural Marketing Service

87 FR 13961 Notice—Comment Period: “Regional Food Business Centers; Request for a New Information Collection” (March 11, 2022).

Agriculture Department     

87 FR 12924 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Multiple Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Collections]” (March 8, 2022).

87 FR 13251 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Organic and Transitional Education and Certificate Program]” (March 9, 2022).

87 FR 13962 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program]” (March 11, 2022).

87 FR 13962 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Settlement of Debt Owed by Electric Borrowers]” (March 11, 2022).

87 FR 13962 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program]” (March 11, 2022).

87 FR 13962 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request” (March 11, 2022).

87 FR 13963 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [2023 Farm to School Census]” (March 11, 2022).

87 FR 13963 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request” (March 11, 2022).

Agriculture Department, Office of the Chief Financial Officer

87 FR 12925 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Intent to Extend and Revise a Currently Approved Information Collection [Tax Delinquency]” (March 8, 2022).

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

87 FR 13160 Final Rule: “Establishment of the San Luis Obispo Coast (SLO Coast) Viticultural Area” (March 9, 2022).

87 FR 13238 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Proposed Establishment of the Long Valley-Lake County Viticultural Area and Modification of the High Valley and North Coast Viticultural Areas” (March 9, 2022).

87 FR 13157 Final Rule: “Expansion of the Clarksburg Viticultural Area” (March 9, 2022).

87 FR 13156 Final Rule: “Modernization of the Labeling and Advertising Regulations for Distilled Spirits and Malt Beverages; Correction” (March 9, 2022).

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

87 FR 12656 Notice: “Classify the State of Sonora, Mexico, as Level I for Brucellosis” (March 7, 2022).

Employment and Training Administration

87 FR 13760 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities for H-2A Foreign Labor Certification Program; Comment Request” (March 10, 2022).

 Environmental Protection Agency

87 FR 12872 Final Rule: “Phosphoric Acid; Exemption from the Requirement of a Tolerance” (March 8, 2022).

87 FR 13636 Final Rule: “Novaluron; Pesticide Tolerances” (March 10, 2022).

87 FR 13640 Final Rule: “Buprofezin; Pesticide Tolerances” (March 10, 2022).

87 FR 13733 Notice: “Disclosure of Information Claimed as, or Determined by EPA To Be, Confidential Business Information (CBI) in Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Small Refinery Exemption Petitions and Certain RFS Compliance Reports” (March 10, 2022).

87 FR 13945 Rule: “Calcium Sulfate; Exemption from the Requirement of a Tolerance” (March 11, 2022).

Fish and Wildlife Service

87 FR 12719 Notice: “Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); Nineteenth Regular Meeting: Proposed Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items Being Considered; Observer Information (Meeting on Nov. 14-25, 2022)” (March 7, 2022).

87 FR 14029 Notice: “Conservation Efforts to Protect Lesser Prairie-Chicken, Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, and Texas Kangaroo Rat; Comment Period Extensions” (March 11, 2022).

Food Safety and Inspection Service

87 FR 13687 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Request to Renew an Approved Information Collection: Importation and Transportation of Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products” (March 10, 2022).

Land Management Bureau

87 FR 13309 Notice: “Notice of Proposed Filing of Plats of Survey; Montana” (March 9, 2022).

87 FR 14032 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Proposed Withdrawal Extension of 10 Secretary’s Orders, 2 Public Land Orders and 1 Bureau of Land Management Order, as Modified by Public Land Order No. 7262, and Public Meeting, California” (March 11, 2022).

National Resources Conservation Service

87 FR 12927 Notice: “Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Advisory Committee Virtual Meeting [on March 23 and 24, 2022]” (Feb. 8, 2022).

Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement

87 FR 13689 Notice—Comment Period: “Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) No.: 10.443-Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers” (March 10, 2022).

Rural Housing Service

87 FR 13374 Notice—Comment Period: “Section 514 Off-Farm Labor Housing Loans and Section 516 Off-Farm Labor Housing Grants to Improve, Repair, or Make Modifications to Existing Off-Farm Labor Housing Properties for Fiscal Year 2022” (March 9, 2022).

Surface Transportation Board

87 FR 13039 Notice: “Grainbelt Corporation-Trackage Rights Exemption-BNSF Railway Company” (March 8, 2022).


H.R.6903 “To require the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out activities to suppress wildfires, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry [House] (March 8, 2022).

H.R.6982 “Public Lands Telecommunications [Expansion] Act” Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the House Committee on Agriculture . . . (March 8, 2022).

H.R.7004 “PIGS Act of 2022 [Prohibiting the Confinement of Pregnant Pigs]” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (March 9, 2022).

H.R.7019 “To establish the Office of Rural Prosperity, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (March 9, 2022).

H.R.7026 “To amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to require States to include a photograph on electronic benefit cards issued to provide supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (March 9, 2022).

H.R.7060 “To modify conditions of funding for the distance learning, telemedicine, and broadband program of the Rural Utilities Service, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the House Committee on Agriculture. . . (March 11, 2022).


S.3781 “A bill to amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to exclude a basic allowance for housing from income for purposes of eligibility for the supplemental nutrition assistance program.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry [Senate] (March 8, 2022).    



Secretary Of Agriculture Highlights Pennsylvania’s $746 Million Mushroom Industry on Food Fuels PA Tour (March 10, 2022).

PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 11—March 12, 2022):            

Department of Environmental Protection 

52 Pa.B. 1500 Notice: “Applications for NPDES and WQM Permits Under the Clean Streams Law and Federal Clean Water Act.”

Rural Health Redesign Center Authority

52 Pa.B. 1568 Notice: “Auditor’s Report and Financial Statement.”


SB 1132 “An Act amending. . . the Human Services Code, in general powers and duties of the Department of Human Services, providing for child support requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” Referred to Health and Human Services [Senate] (March 7, 2022).

HB 2386 “An Act amending. . . the Tax Reform Code of 1971, in sales and use tax, further providing for exclusions from tax [for Fencing Used in Agriculture].” Referred to Finance [House] (March 8, 2022).

HR 176 “A Resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on the nutritional value of food, along with the nutrition-related health of inmates, in State correctional institutions in this Commonwealth and to issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the House of Representatives.” Referred to Judiciary [House] (March 8, 2022).

HB 2391 “An Act amending. . . the Tax Reform Code of 1971, in personal income tax, further providing for classes of income [to Encourage Broadband Build-out].” Referred to Finance [House] (March 9, 2022).

HB 2396 “An Act amending. . . the Tax Reform Code of 1971, in manufacturing and investment tax credit, further providing for rural growth funds, for business firms, for tax credit certificates and for claiming the tax credit.” Referred to Finance [House] (March 10, 2022).

Written by:
Audry Thompson—Research Assistant
Noah Gochnauer—Research Assistant
Brook Duer—Staff Attorney