National Agriculture Policy: Inflation Reduction Act Signed Into Law
On August 16, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law H.R.5376, known as the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,” which appropriates $750 billion through 2031 for numerous federal programs, prioritizing renewable energy, climate, and healthcare initiatives. The Act allocates approximately $38 billion for agriculture and rural development, down from the previous November 2021 version of the bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, which would have provided $80 billion for agricultural programs. The 2022 Act includes
- $19.5 billion for conservation programs—$8.45 billion of which prioritizes diet and feed management to reduce methane emissions from livestock production under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP);
- $13.3 billion for Farm Bill renewable energy programs;
- $5 billion for forestry wildfire and conservation efforts;
- and an additional allocation of $6 billion in debt relief for distressed borrowers and underserved producers.
The Act also establishes a 15% alternative minimum tax on corporations with income over $1 billion, a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks, and allocates $80 billion to the Internal Revenue Service to improve taxpayer services and enforcement. See “Agricultural and Law Policy Resources of Interest” below for additional resources on the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.
Pesticides: EPA Publishes Dicamba Draft Risk Assessments with Comment Period
On August 18, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register making available for review and public comment the Draft Ecological Risk Assessment and Human Health Risk Assessment Addendum for the agency’s periodic 15-year registration review of dicamba (87 FR 50854). The Draft Ecological Risk Assessment (DRA) found that dicamba posed potential risks to terrestrial plants, aquatic plants, birds, mammals, and honeybees, and noted particular risks for non-target plants due to runoff and spray drift. However, the DRA noted that off-site drift might be reduced by “use of ground instead of aerial applications, lower boom heights, coarser droplet ranges, in-field spray drift buffers, or drift reduction technologies.” The Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) found no dietary or residential concerns and determined that “dicamba is not likely carcinogenic to humans.” However, the HHRA found some inhalation risks for occupational handlers, noting risks for “mixing and loading dry flowable formulations for aerial applications to high acreage crops” at a rate higher than 1 pound of active ingredient per acre (1.05 ai/A), even “with the addition of a PF10 respirator and with consideration of engineering controls (i.e., use of water-soluble bags).” Additionally, the HHRA recommended that several tolerances be revised for consistency with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) rounding class practices and that all crop tolerances be consolidated into a single tolerance expression. The 60-day comment period on the draft assessments closes October 17, 2022. For background on dicamba, see Registration of Dicamba for Use on Dicamba-Tolerant Crops and ALWR—Dec. 24 & 31, 2021, “EPA Publishes 2021 Dicamba Report and Addresses 2020 Growing Season.”
Food Safety: Court Declares Mistrial in Former Blue Bell CEO Criminal Trial
On August 15, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas entered an order declaring a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury in the criminal case against Paul Kruse, the former president and chief executive of Texas-based ice cream company Blue Bell Creameries L.P. United States v. Kruse, No. 1:20-cr-00249. In May 2020, Kruse was charged with conspiracy and attempted wire fraud for his efforts in concealing information regarding listeria-contaminated Blue Bell products linked to a 2015 outbreak of listeriosis. Concurrently, Blue Bell pled guilty to charges of shipping contaminated products linked to the outbreak, agreeing to pay $19.35 million in criminal fines, forfeiture, and civil settlement payments—the second-largest sum paid in a food-safety criminal case. According to news reports, after four days of deliberation, ten of the twelve jurors in Kruse’s case found Kruse “not guilty,” preventing a unanimous verdict. The U.S. Department of Justice has not released a response regarding the case or decision.
Food Labeling: FSIS Removes Dual Weight Labeling Requirements for Meat and Poultry Products
On August 17, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published a final rule in the Federal Register amending its weight labeling requirements for meat and poultry (87 FR 50553). Also announced by the agency, the final rule removes the requirement that labels of meat and poultry products weighing at least one pound or pint, but less than four pounds or one gallon, describe the net weight of the product in two different units of measurement. Such products may now be labeled with a single unit of measurement, such as “Net Wt. 24 oz.” or “Net Wt. 1 lb. 8 oz.” instead of “Net Wt. 24 oz. (1 lb. 8 oz.).” According to the rule, producers are not required to print new labels; they may use their current labels until they run our or may continue using them indefinitely.
Agricultural Finance: USDA Approves First Three Lenders for Heirs’ Property Relending Program
On August 18, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the first three lenders approved as intermediary lenders for the Heirs’ Property Relending Program:
- Akiptan, Inc., which serves Indian Country nationwide;
- Cherokee Nation Economic Development Trust Authority (CNEDTA), which serves producers in rural parts of the Cherokee Nation Reservation; and
- Shared Capital Cooperative, which serves producers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina and maintains a partnership with Federation of Southern Cooperatives.
Conservation Programs: Pennsylvania Receives $17.8 Million in Competitive Grants from USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program
On August 19, 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) announced that the agency’s Farmland Preservation Program received $7.85 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to support climate-smart conservation on Pennsylvania farms. Additionally, the Chesapeake Conservancy announced that it received $9.99 million from the RCPP to improve agriculturally impaired streams in central Pennsylvania. Both grants are part of a $197 million block of funds recently awarded by USDA to 41 conservation projects nationwide.
PROGRAMS & RESOURCES
221. DOJ Files Consent Decrees in Poultry Worker and Contract Grower Compensation Case; Koch Settles Contract Grower Class Action; and USDA Expands State Meat and Poultry Inspection Programs (Aug. 11, 2022).
Understanding Agricultural Law. A free monthly webinar series via Zoom for general practice attorneys and business advisors of all kinds representing agricultural and rural clients. One hour of substantive CLE credit available for Pennsylvania licensed attorneys at no charge. Recordings and materials from prior webinars in this series, more information and registration available here. Next in series:
- Aug. 26, 2022, noon ET: Understanding the Basics of Agricultural Cooperatives.
Dairy Quarterly Legal Webinar. A free quarterly webinar series via Zoom covering legal and regulatory developments in the U.S. dairy industry from the preceding quarter, plus an in-depth look at a focus topic. One hour of substantive CLE credit available for Pennsylvania licensed attorneys at no charge. Recordings and materials from prior webinars in this series, more information and registration available here. Next in series:
- Oct. 25, 2022, noon ET. 3rd Quarter of 2022—In addition to a round-up of quarterly legal developments, the focus topic will be the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill and the potential implications for the dairy industry.
Legal Planning for Specialty Crop Producers. A free periodic webinar series via Zoom. Register at any time to watch recordings of past, and attend all future, webinars, as well as access the webinar materials here. Next in series:
- Nov. 16, 2022, noon ET: Licensing and Regulatory Obligations in Selling Raw and Processed Specialty Crop Products.
- Nov. 30, 2022, noon ET: Municipal Law & Zoning for Agritourism/Agritainment, Specialty Crop Processing & Sales.
- Dec. 14, 2022, noon ET: Statutory Protections/Restrictions: Understanding PA’s Ag Area Security, Right-To-Farm, ACRE, and Clean & Green Laws.
We Conserve PA webinar, Sept. 8, 2022, 1 – 2 pm, Personal Injury Liability: RULWA Provides Protection, Register ($15 fee).
Agricultural Law & Policy Resources of Interest:
Academic & Government Resources
Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr., Proposed Updates to the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule, Jana Caracciolo (Aug. 16, 2022).
Agric. Law & Tax’n Blog, LLCs and Self-Employment Tax – Part One, Roger A. McEowen (Aug. 18, 2022).
Univ. Md. Risk Mgmt. Educ. Blog, ALEI Business Structures Webinar Series Continues Thru August, Megan Todd (Aug. 16, 2022).
Ohio St. Univ. Ext. Farm Off. Blog, A Will or Trust?, Robert Moore (Aug. 16, 2022).
Tex. A&M Agric. Law Blog, August 19, 2022 Weekly Round Up, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet (Aug. 19, 2022).
Tex. A&M Agric. Law Blog, Debt Relief for Certain Farmers and Ranchers, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet (Aug. 15, 2022).
Journal of Cleaner Production, Farm level environmental assessment of organic dairy systems in the U.S., various U. Of Wisconsin-Madison faculty (Aug. 20, 2022).
News & Industry Resources
Investigate Midwest, SEC proposal could shine a light on Big Ag companies’ supply chain emissions (Aug. 12, 2022).
Investigate Midwest, As enrolled acres decline, CRP payment rates have increased (Aug. 17, 2022).
Progressive Farmer/ DTN, EPA Reviewing Whether Dicamba Use Can Continue Without Posing Risks and EPA Reports Dicamba Off-Target Incidents Sharply Increased Since 2016, Todd Neeley (Aug. 19. 2022).
Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Community, free webinar, Swimming with superbugs: Exploring how antimicrobial resistance moves in our environment (recorded Aug. 19. 2022).
Bay Journal, Protecting the water while harvesting sunshine, Whitney Pipkin (Aug. 15, 2022).
Bay Journal, Pequea Creek restoration work moves ahead in Pennsylvania, Ad Crable (Aug. 12, 2022).
Center for Dairy Excellence, Upcoming Grants Available for Dairy Producers, (Aug. 24, 2022).
2022 Inflation Reduction Act Resources
Congressional Research Service, Inflation Reduction Act: Agricultural Conservation and Credit, Renewable Energy, and Forestry (Aug. 10, 2022).
FarmDocDaily, Reviewing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022; Part 1 (Aug. 11, 2021).
FarmDocDaily, Reviewing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022; Part 2 (Aug. 12, 2021).
Iowa St. Univ. Ctr. Agric. Law & Tax’n, Congress Passes Extensive Climate, Tax, and Health Care Bill, Kristine A. Tidgrin (Aug. 14, 2022).
White House, FACT SHEET: How the Inflation Reduction Act Helps Rural Communities (Aug. 17, 2022).
Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr., Ag & the IRA: Conservation Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, Brigit Rollins (Aug. 18, 2022).
Texas A&M Univ. Agric. & Food Policy Ctr., The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022:What’s in it for Agricultural Producers? (Aug. 19, 2022).
Am. Farm Bur. Fed. Market Intel, What’s in the Inflation Reduction Act for Agriculture?
(Aug. 22, 2022).
Top #AgLaw HotLinks Aug. 15–19, 2022:
Massachusetts animal confinement law on hold a second time (Meat+Poultry)
USDA invests $27 million in conservation grants (Farmprogress)
New AFBF Survey Shows Drought’s Increasing Toll on Farmers and Ranchers (AFBF Market Intel)
Penn State News, Research & Resources:
Penn State Extension webinar, Agrivoltaics and Solar Utility Considerations, (recorded Aug. 16, 2022).
PSU Ext., Managing Your Drinking Water Well During a Drought, (Aug. 19, 2022).
PSU Ext., Native Meadows Experience “Growing Pains”, (Aug. 19, 2022).
PSU Ext., Extension to Offer Private Drinking Water Testing Webinars This Fall, (Aug. 18, 2022).
PSU Ext., Cover Crop Establishment and Burndown Herbicides, (Aug. 16, 2022).
PSU Ext., What to Do If You Insured Your Corn Crop for Grain and Your Harvest Plans Change, (Aug. 16, 2022).
Penn State Extension’s water resources team earns national award (Aug. 15, 2022).
Reviving the ‘lost’ map of Pennsylvania’s 86,000 stream miles, (Aug. 15, 2022).
Agriculture-Related Legislative Hearings & Reports:
U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Environment, Regenerative Agriculture: How Farmers and Ranchers are Essential to Solving Climate Change and Increasing Food Production, recorded July 19, 2022.
U.S. House Agriculture Committee:
- An Examination of the USDA Hemp Production Program, recorded July 28, 2022.
- A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on Title XI Crop Insurance, recorded July 20, 2022.
- A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: The State of Credit for Young, Beginning, and Underserved Producers, recorded July 14, 2022.
- A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Forestry, recorded July 13, 2022.
- A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Dairy Provisions, recorded June 22, 2022.
- The Role of Climate Research in Supporting Agricultural Resiliency, recorded June 15, 2022.
- A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Economic Perspectives on Title 1 Commodities and Title XI Crop Insurance, recorded June 9, 2022.
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].
FEDERAL ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
U.S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) PRESS RELEASES
USDA Announces New Opportunities to Improve Nutrient Management (Aug. 5, 2022).
USDA Recommends Adding Food Safety Items to Your Back-to-School List (Aug. 15, 2022).
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) PRESS RELEASES
USDA AGENCY PRESS RELEASES:
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
USDA Cites R & S Export & Import Inc. in Florida for PACA Violations (Aug. 15, 2022).
USDA Cites Ayar Produce NY Inc. in New York for PACA Violations (Aug. 15, 2022).
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Peanut Skins: More than Meets the Eye (Aug. 15, 2022).
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Farm Service Agency (FSA)
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
USDA Issues Helpful Reminders for Your School Lunch Prep (Aug. 17, 2022).
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
Save the Date: CPA Stakeholder Session December 6-7 in Brussels (Aug. 17, 2022).
Export Sales to Mexico (Aug. 16, 2022).
Forest Service (FS)
National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)
USDA Announces New Opportunities to Improve Nutrient Management (Aug. 15, 2022).
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register Aug. 15–19, 2022):
87 FR 50286 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments]” (Aug. 16, 2022).
87 FR 50286 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program]” (Aug. 16, 2022).
87 FR 50287 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [General Administrative Regulations; Interpretations of Statutory and Regulatory Provisions]” (Aug. 16, 2022).
Agricultural Marketing Service
87 FR 51006 Proposed Rule: “Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico; Continuance Referendum” (Aug. 19, 2022).
87 FR 51053 Notice—Comment Period: “Opportunity for United States Grain Standards Act Designation in the Alabama: Essex, Illinois: Missouri; Hastings, Nebraska; Aberdeen, South Dakota; and Washington areas; and Request for Comments on the Official Agencies Servicing These Areas” (Aug. 19, 2022).
87 FR 50763 Rule: “Olives Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rate” (Aug. 18, 2022).
87 FR 50827 Notice: “2022/2023 Rates Charged for AMS Services: Revised Rates for Audit Services” (Aug. 18, 2022).
87 FR 50285 Notice—Comment Period: “Almonds Grown in California; Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection” (Aug. 16, 2022).
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 50953 Rule: “Pesticides; Certification of Pesticide Applicators; Further Extension to Expiration Date of Certification Plans” (Aug. 19, 2022).
87 FR 50854 Notice—Comment Period: “Pesticide Registration Review; Dicamba Revised Human Health and Draft Ecological Risk Assessments; Notice of Availability” (Aug. 18, 2022).
87 FR 50856 Notice—Comment Period: “Pesticide Registration Review; Revised Proposed Interim Decision for 1,3-Dichloropropene; Notice of Availability” (Aug. 18, 2022).
87 FR 50575 Rule: “Expedited Approval of Alternative Test Procedures for the Analysis of Contaminants Under the Safe Drinking Water Act; Analysis and Sampling Procedures” (Aug. 17, 2022).
Farm Service Agency
87 FR 50828 Notice: “Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) and Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Clarification” (Aug. 18, 2022).
Food Safety and Inspection Service
87 FR 50553 Rule: “Rescission of Dual Labeling Requirements for Certain Packages of Meat and Poultry” (Aug. 17, 2022).
87 FR 50119 Notice—Comment Period: “Request for Information (RFI) on Federal Old-Growth and Mature Forests” (Aug. 15, 2022).
87 FR 50117 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Hawaii Forest Restoration Synthesis Online Survey and Interviews” (Aug. 15, 2022).
International Trade Administration
87 FR 50069 Notice: “North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Article 1904; Binational Panel Review: Notice of Completion of Panel Review” (Aug. 15, 2022).
International Trade Commission
87 FR 50887 Notice: “Certain Chocolate Milk Powder and Packaging Thereof; Notice of Request for Submissions on the Public Interest” (Aug. 18, 2022).
Land Management Bureau
87 FR 51128 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Realty Action: Land Sale Segregation; Arizona” (Aug. 19, 2022).
87 FR 50875 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement To Consider the Impacts of Opening Lands Subject to ANCSA 17(d)(1) Withdrawals, Including Lands Within the Bay, Bering Sea-Western Interior, East Alaska, Kobuk-Seward Peninsula, and Ring of Fire Planning Areas; Alaska” (Aug. 18, 2022).
87 FR 50876 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Realty Action: Direct Sale of Public Land in Delta County, CO” (Aug. 18, 2022).
87 FR 50202 Notice: “Public Land Order No. 7912; Partial Revocation of Public Land Orders No. 5169, 5170, 5171, 5172, 5173, 5174, 5175, 5176, 5178, 5179, 5180, 5184, 5186, 5188, and 5353, as Amended, Modified, and Corrected, and Opening of Lands for Selection by Alaska Native Vietnam-Era Veterans; Alaska” (Aug. 15, 2022).
U.S. HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE:
H.R.8475 “To amend the Agricultural Act of 2014 to provide emergency relief to producers of livestock with herds adversely affected by Mexican gray wolves, and for other purposes” Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture (Aug. 15, 2022).
H.R.8432 “Beagle Brigade Act of 2022” Referred to the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research (Aug. 15, 2022).
H.R.8425 “To amend the Food, Agriculture, and Trade Act of 1990 to establish a grant program for eligible institutions to carry out agriculture workforce training programs, and for other purposes” Referred to the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research (Aug. 15, 2022).
U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, NUTRITION, AND FORESTRY:
No new actions this week.
STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
No new actions this week.
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PRESS RELEASES:
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 34—Aug. 20, 2022):
Department of Agriculture
52 Pa.B. 5136 “Program Requirements for the 2022-2023 Agriculture and Youth Organization Grant Program”
Department of Environmental Protection
52 Pa.B. 5201 “Opening of New Grant Round for Recycling Program Development and Implementation Grants under Section 902 of Act 101, Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act of 1988”
52 Pa.B. 5203 “Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid Public Meeting”
52 Pa.B. 5204 “Public Notice of Draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Industrial Activity (PAG-03)”
52 Pa.B. 5204 “State Water Plan 2022 Update Draft Report”
State Conservation Commission
52 Pa.B. 5211 “Action on Odor Management Plans for Concentrated Animal Operations and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Volunteers Complying with the Commonwealth’s Facility Odor Management Program”
Kendal Ashman—Research Assistant
Dillon Lightfoot—Research Assistant
Audry Thompson—Staff Attorney
Brook Duer—Staff Attorney