Organic Agriculture: USDA Announces $300 Million for New Organic Transition Initiative
On August 22, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $300 million for a new Organic Transition Initiative to provide mentoring, direct assistance, and supply chain support for farmers transitioning to organic production.  As a prerequisite to organic certification, lands generating organic-certified crops must be free from prohibited inputs, such as synthetic pesticides, for 36 months, during which time “farmers face challenging technical, cultural, and market shifts,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.  The announced funds will provide

  • $100 Million over five years in cooperative agreements with non-profit organizations through the Transition to Organic Production Program (TOPP), which aims to establish partnerships across six regions to provide education and mentorship for transitioning farmers;
  • $75 million to develop a new Organic Management conservation practice standard, which will provide technical assistance and payments to farmers who implement practices, similar to current nutrient and pest management conservation practice standards;
  • $25 million to provide crop insurance premium offsets for transitioning farmers through the RMA’s Transitional Organic Grower Assistance Program (TOGA); and
  • $100 million to support organic supply chains in specified markets—including organic grain and feed, legumes, and livestock and dairy—to improve processing capacity and infrastructure, market access, and supply organic ingredients.

According to the announcement, USDA will solicit stakeholder feedback in September regarding these initiatives.

National Agricultural Policy: USDA Announces $121 Million for Rural Infrastructure and Energy Grants
On August 24, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $121 million in grants to local governments, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Tribes across 49 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico for 289 infrastructure and renewable energy projects.  The funds are provided through three programs targeting rural areas: 1) Community Facilities Disaster Grants, 2) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants, and 3) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grants.  Through the Community Facility Disaster Grant Program, Pennsylvania grant recipients include the Town of Bloomsburg ($500,000) and the Eagles Mere Borough Authority ($46,700). Through the REAP Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants Program, Pennsylvania grant recipients include

  • Allegheny Bradford Corporation ($18,924),
  • Anthony Ricci Dba Green Heron Farm ($8,500),
  • Clugston Farms, LLC ($20,000),
  • Frosty Hollows Farms, LLC ($20,000),
  • Goot Essa, LLC ($7,912),
  • Kelly RV, Inc. ($11,000),
  • Kriebel Security, Inc. dba Czarstar Security ($12,877),
  • Mat Plaza, LLC ($12,410),
  • Mcclarigan CPAs & Advisors ($15,000),
  • Michael L. Wilt dba Cedar Grove Farm ($12,398),
  • Maple Lawn Entertainment, Inc. dba Maize Quest ($15,000)
  • Three Rivers Grown, LLC ($20,000),
  • Troyer Growers, Inc. ($11,654), and
  • Vacuum Processes, Inc. ($8,825).

National Agricultural Policy: USDA Announces $550 Million for Underserved Producer Land Access and Minority Career Development in Food and Agriculture
On August 24, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $550 million for two USDA grant programs geared towards underserved producers and minority career development in food and agriculture: up to $300 million for the and $250 million for From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals.  The Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program will provide grants ranging from $250,000 to $40 million—with no cost share requirement—to government entities and nonprofit organizations for projects that increase land access and address capital and/or market access concerns.  The deadline for Land, Capital, and Market Access applications is October 28, 2022.  The From Learning to Leading program will provide grants ranging from $500,000 to $20 million to eligible institutions for student scholarships, paid internships, fellowships, and employment opportunities supporting agricultural and food career development for future federal employment.  The deadline for From Learning to Leading applications is October 25, 2022.

Agricultural Labor: Sixth Meatpacking Facility Granted Approval in Time-Limited Trial, Lifting Line Speed Maximum
On August 17, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) granted approval to Swift Pork Company in Beardstown, Illinois to participate in the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS) time-limited trial.  The time-limited trial permits the company to operate line speeds above the 1,106 head-per-hour maximum instated by FSIS in May 2021 in response to a district court vacatur of the agency’s 2019 Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule (84 FR 52300), which eliminated maximum line speeds for NSIS operations.  According to FSIS, the time-limited trial allows establishments to operate above the maximum line speeds while “experiment[ing] with different ergonomics, automation and crewing” for up to one year, during which they must collect data and evaluate the impact of the increased line speeds on workers.  Currently, five other establishments are approved to operate under the time-limited trial:

  • Clemens Food Group, LLC in Hatfield, Pa. (approved March 4, 2022);
  • Quality Pork Processors in Austin, Minn. (approved March 7, 2022);
  • Wholestone Farms Cooperative, Inc. in Fremont, Neb. (approved March 7, 2022);
  • Clemens Food Group, LLC in Coldwater, Mich. (approved April 22, 2022); and
  • Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. in Madison Neb. (approved June 29, 2022).

For background, see ALWR—April 2, 2021, “Federal Court Vacates Swine Slaughter Rule Line Speed Elimination” and ALWR—May 28, 2021, “New Swine Slaughter Maximum Line Speed Effective June 30.”

Antimicrobial Use: Non-Profit Files Class Action Suit Claiming Misrepresentation for Whole Foods’ ‘No Antibiotics, Ever’ Advertising
On August 23, 2022, nonprofit Farm Forward and three named plaintiffs filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleging that Whole Foods Market’s materially misrepresented its beef products by claiming they contained “No Antibiotics, Ever” after independent testing revealed antibiotic and pharmaceutical residue. Sara Safari v. Whole Foods Market, Inc., No. 8:22-cv-01562.  The plaintiffs state that Whole Foods’ internal emails show the company’s knowledge of the potential inaccuracy and that Whole Foods declined to investigate or test the cattle in its supply chain.  The plaintiffs seek an injunction requiring Whole Foods to address and resolve its alleged misrepresentations and compensate class members for overpayments.                 Facebook                  Twitter@AgShaleLaw                     YouTube


Agricultural Law Podcasts:

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).

220. PA Releases HPAI Control Zones; PA Submits Watershed Implementation Plan; and Poultry Industry Wage Suppression Lawsuit Proceeds to Trial (Aug. 1, 2022).

219. PA General Assembly Passes Increased Ag and Chesapeake Bay Budget, Federal Court Holds FIFRA Does Not Preempt State Glyphosate Claims (July 27, 2022).


Understanding Agricultural Law. A free monthly webinar series via Zoom for agricultural and rural business advisors of all kinds. 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 all are available here. Next in the series:

  • Sept. 23, 2022, noon ET: Understanding the Basics of Livestock Market Regulation
  • Oct. 21, 2022, noon ET: Understanding the Basics of Crop Insurance

Dairy Quarterly Legal WebinarA 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:

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:

Agricultural Law & Policy Resources of Interest:  

Academic & Government Resources

Agric. Law & Tax’n Blog, LLCs and Self-Employment Tax—Part Two, Roger A. McEowen (Aug. 21, 2022).

Agric. Law & Tax’n Blog, USDA’s Emergency Relief Program (Update on Gain from Equipment Sales), Roger A. McEowen (Aug. 23, 2022).

Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr., Checking In on Crop Insurance: FCIC Insurance Policy Interpretations, Micah Brown (Aug. 23, 2022).

Iowa St. Univ. Ctr. Agric. Law & Tax’n, Congress Passes Extensive Climate, Tax, and Health Care Bill, Kristine A. Tidgren (Aug. 14, 2022).

Iowa St. Univ. Ctr. Agric. Law & Tax’n, Failure of Jesup Grain Dealer Opens Window for Grain Indemnity Fund Claims, Kristine A. Tidgren (Aug. 24, 2022).

Iowa St. Univ. Ctr. Agric. Law & Tax’n, Remember, Farm Lease Termination Notices Must be Sent Before September 1, Kristine A. Tidgren (Aug. 25, 2022).

Ohio St. Univ. Ext. Farm Off. Blog, Landowner Crop Lease Termination Deadline is September 1, Peggy Kirk Hall (Aug. 24, 2022).

Ohio St. Univ. Ext. Farm Off. Blog, Irrevocable Trusts, Robert Moore (Aug. 26, 2022).

Tex. A&M Agric. Law Blog, Should I Sell Carbon Credits? A Decision Guide for Ranchers, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet (Aug. 22, 2022).

Tex. A&M Agric. Law Blog, 2022 USDA Land Values Summary, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet (Aug. 29, 2022).

Univ. Md. Risk Mgmt. Educ. Blog, Supreme Court of Iowa Reverses Course on Right-to-Farm Rulings (Aug. 23, 2022).

Univ. Md. Risk Mgmt. Educ. Blog, NASS Releases Delaware and Maryland Statewide Cash Rental Rate Averages for 2022 (Aug. 24, 2022).

News & Industry Resources

Food Navigator USA, ‘Traumatic and devastating:’ Organic farmers copy with fallout from Danone exit, Teodora Lyubomirova (Aug. 25, 2022).

Penn State News, Research & Resources:

Mandatory Labeling on Genetically Engineered Foods May Reduce Customer Purchases (Aug. 22, 2022).

Flavonoids from Sorghum Plants Kill Fall Armyworm Pest on Corn; May Protect Crop (Aug. 23, 2022).

PSU Ext., 2022 Pennsylvania Vegetable Disease Update for August 24 (Aug. 24, 2022).

PSU Ext., Pennsylvania Water Plan Update Open for Public Comment (Aug. 22, 2022).

PSU Ext., Preparing Grain Storages for Harvest (Aug. 23, 2022).

PSU Ext., Soybean Sentinel Plot Report: August 23, 2022 (Aug. 23, 2022).

PSU Ext., Weed Seeds This Fall Means More Weeds Next Spring (Aug. 24, 2022).

PSU Ext., Ensilaging Controls Burcucumber Seed (Aug. 24, 2022).

PSU Ext., Harvesting Corn Silage at Optimal Moisture Levels (Aug. 24, 2022).

PSU Ext., PestWatch Report: August 24, 2022—Moth catch is holding steady this week. (Aug. 24, 2022).

Top #AgLaw HotLinks Aug. 22–26, 2022:

U.S. to Contribute $68 Million to World Food Program to Buy Ukrainian Wheat, Farm Policy News

Drought Dents Crop Production Outlook in U.S., EU and China, as Ukraine Production Concerns About Next Crop Persist, Farm Policy News

EPA Draft Contains Dicamba Concerns, Progressive Farmer

USDA Takes New Approach to Farmer Debt Relief, American Agriculturist

FSA Loan Debt Relief Will Have to Wait, Progressive Farmer

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:

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].



USDA to Invest up to $300 million in New Organic Transition Initiative (Aug. 22, 2022).

U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments (Aug. 22, 2022).

USDA Begins Accepting Applications for $100 Million in Biofuel Infrastructure Grants (Aug. 23, 2022).

USDA Announces Appointments to Equity Commission Subcommittee on Rural Community Economic Development (Aug. 23, 2022).

USDA Expands Local Foods in School Meals through Cooperative Agreement with Minnesota (Aug. 23, 2022).

USDA Extends Infant Formula Waivers, Supports WIC State Agencies (Aug. 23, 2022).

USDA Invests $121 Million in Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change Across Rural America (Aug. 24, 2022).

USDA Announces Up to $550 Million in American Rescue Plan Funding for Projects Benefiting Underserved Producers and Minority Serving Institutions that Create Career Development Opportunities for Next Generation Leaders (Aug. 24, 2022).

Biden-Harris Administration invests $65M from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in clean water, roads, trails improvement (Aug. 26, 2022).


Smith Frozen Foods to pay $100,000 penalty for Clean Air Act violations (Aug. 22, 2022).

EPA Officials Tour Pittsburgh Redevelopment Sites Where Brownfield Funding Supports a Community Resurgence (Aug. 23, 2022).

EPA Report Highlights Significant Decline in Emissions, Improved Air Quality from Bipartisan Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (Aug. 25, 2022).

EPA Releases Guidance to Support Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Investments in Water Infrastructure for U.S. Territories and D.C. (Aug. 26, 2022).


Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

USDA Settles a Packers and Stockyards Case against Sean Hartung, dba S & T Cattle (Aug. 23, 2022).

USDA Expands Local Foods in School Meals through Cooperative Agreement with Minnesota (Aug. 23, 2022).

USDA Issues a Complaint Against Jackman Florida Wagyu Beef LLC and Justin Ashley Jackman for Alleged Violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act (Aug. 23, 2022).

USDA Cites Farm Fresh Packers LLC in Florida for PACA Violations (Aug. 23, 2022).

USDA Announces Its Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement with Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (Aug. 24, 2022).

USDA Announces $72.9 Million in Grants Awarded to Bolster the Competitiveness of the U.S. Specialty Crops Industry (Aug. 25, 2022).

USDA Restricts PACA Violators in Georgia, Minnesota and New York from Operating in the Produce Industry (Aug. 26, 2022).

USDA Withdraws Proposal on Amendments to the California Almond Marketing Order (Aug. 22, 2022).

USDA Announces Pistachios Continuance Referendum Dates (Aug. 22, 2022).

USDA Market News Enhances Poultry Reports (Aug. 25, 2022).

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

USDA Research Facility in Lubbock Commemorates Over 20 Years of Contributions to the Livestock Industry (Aug. 23, 2022).

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 

REMINDER: New USDA Database Will Replace Three Import Manuals and the Fruit and Vegetable Imports Requirement (FAVIR) Database (Aug. 24, 2022).

Economic Research Service (ERS)

China’s Import Potential for Beef, Corn, Pork, and Wheat (Aug. 25, 2022).

Drought in the Western United States (Aug. 26, 2022).

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

Constituent Update— FSIS Revises and Expands the Accredited Laboratory Program (Aug. 26, 2022).

Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)

Export Sales to China [110,000 metric tons of soybeans] (Aug. 23, 2022).

Export Sales to China [517,000 metric tons of soybeans] (Aug. 24, 2022).

Statement from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Regarding Weekly Export Sales Reporting (Aug. 25, 2022).

Export Sales to Unknown Destinations [146,000 metric tons of soybeans] (Aug. 26, 2022).

Forest Service (FS)

Biden-Harris Administration invests $65M from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in clean water, roads, trails improvement (Aug. 26, 2022).

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

NIFA Invests $5M to Enhance Infectious Disease Research (Aug. 23, 2022).

NIFA Invests Over $462K in Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grants Program (Aug. 23, 2022).

National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)

USDA to Invest up to $300 million in New Organic Transition Initiative (Aug. 22, 2022).

FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register Aug. 22–26, 2022):            

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

87 FR 51880 Final Rule, Treasury Decision: “Wine Treating Materials and Related Regulations” (Aug. 24, 2022).

Agriculture Department   

87 FR 51330 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Natural Resource Conservation Service: Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities]” (Aug. 22, 2022).

87 FR 52500 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: National Management Information System (Wildlife Service)]” (Aug. 26, 2022).

Agricultural Marketing Service

87 FR 51270 Proposed Rule:  “Almonds Grown in California; Modification of Regulations; Withdrawal” (Aug. 22, 2022).

87 FR 52431 Final Rule: “Avocados Grown in South Florida; Increased Assessment Rate” (Aug. 26, 2022).

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

87 FR 51640 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Restrictions on Importation of Live Poultry, Poultry Meat, and Other Poultry Products From Specified Regions” (Aug. 23, 2022).

87 FR 52500 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Availability of Bovine Tuberculosis Status Evaluation of Eight Mexican Regions and Intent To Classify Those Regions for Bovine Tuberculosis” (Aug. 26, 2022).

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation

87 FR 51960 Notice: “Notice of Funding Availability; Transitional and Organic Grower Assistance” (Aug. 24, 2022).

Fish and Wildlife Service

87 FR 51443 Notice—Comment Period: “Approval Procedures for Incidental Harassment Authorizations of Marine Mammals” (Aug. 22, 2022).

87 FR 51440 Notice: “Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Issuance of Permits” (Aug. 22, 2022).

87 FR 51441 Notice, Comments Accepted: “Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); Nineteenth Regular Meeting; Provisional Agenda; Announcement of Virtual Public Meeting” (Aug. 22, 2022).

87 FR 51635 Proposed Rule: “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Findings for Four Species” (Aug. 23, 2022).

87 FR 51928 Final Rule: “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing Adiantum vivesii From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants” (Aug. 24, 2022).

87 FR 51925 Final Rule: “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife” (Aug. 24, 2022).

87 FR 52410 Notice—Comment Period: “Marine Mammal Protection Act; Receipt of Permit Application” (Aug. 25, 2022).

Food and Nutrition Service

87 FR 51962 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities: Review of Major Changes in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (Aug. 24, 2022).

87 FR 51964 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Trafficking Controls and Fraud Investigations” (Aug. 24, 2022).

Food Safety and Inspection Service

87 FR 51861 Final Rule: “Changes to Accreditation of Non-Federal Analytical Testing Laboratories” (Aug. 24, 2022).

Rural Business-Cooperative Service

87 FR 51641 Notice: “Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) for Fiscal Year 2022” (Aug. 23, 2022).

Rural Utilities Service

87 FR 52502 Notice—Comment Period: “Badger State Solar, LLC: Notice of Availability of a Final Environmental Impact Statement” (Aug. 26, 2022).


No new actions this week.


No new actions this week.



Agriculture Secretary Invites Applicants For $500,000 In PA Farm Bill Grants To Prepare Future Generation For Success In Ag (Aug. 22, 2022).

Agriculture Secretary: Lykens Valley Grain Grows Commonwealth’s Grain Processing Capacity, Marketing Opportunities (Aug. 23, 2022).

Agriculture Secretary Announces Second Round Of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Recovery Grants (Aug. 24, 2022).

Pennsylvania Invests $3.166 Million To Protect 18 Farms In Nine Counties From Future Development (Aug. 25, 2022).

Agriculture Secretary: Support Pennsylvania Farmers – Shop Local, Buy PA Preferred This Harvest Season (Aug. 25, 2022).

PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 35—Aug. 27, 2022): 

Department of Agriculture

52 Pa.B. 5506 Notice: “List of Pesticides Which May be Used by Medical Marijuana Grower and Processors.”

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

52 Pa.B. 5476 Proposed Rulemaking: “Conservation of Pennsylvania Native Wild Plants.”

Department of Environmental Protection 

52 Pa.B. 5510 Notice: “Pa. Clean Streams Law and Federal Clean Water Act: Applications for NPDES and WQM Permits.”

52 Pa.B. 5569 Notice: “Availability of Grants through the Coastal Zone Grant Program.”

52 Pa.B. 5618 Notice: “Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future and Brodhead Watershed Association v. Department of Environmental Protection and Swiftwater Solar, LLC”.

Game Commission

52 Pa.B. 5466 Rules & Regulations: “Hunting and Trapping; General.”

52 Pa.B. 5469 Rules & Regulations: “Hunting and Trapping; Small Game.”

52 Pa.B. 5470 Rules & Regulations: “Hunting and Trapping; Big Game.”

52 Pa.B. 5471 Rules & Regulations: “Special Permits; Wildlife Rehabilitation.”

52 Pa.B. 5472 Rules & Regulations: “Special Permits; Deer Control; Deer Management Assistance Program Permits.”

52 Pa.B. 5474 Rules & Regulations: “Special Permits; Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator.”

Susquehanna River Basin Commission

52 Pa.B. 5623 Notice: “Commission Meeting [September 15, 2022].”


  1. Res. 325 “A Resolution designating the dates of September 17 through 24, 2022, as “Thank a Local Farmer Week” in Pennsylvania” Referred to RULES AND EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS [Senate] (Aug. 24, 2022).

Written by:
Audry Thompson—Staff Attorney
Brook Duer—Staff Attorney