Agricultural Data: USDA Announces 2022 Census of Agriculture Details
On August 29, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced that the agency will soon be mailing and accepting questionnaires for the 2022 Census of Agriculture. The Census of Agriculture includes all sizes of urban and rural farm operations that produced and sold at least $1,000 worth of agricultural products. The census will survey producers on multiple issues, including land use and ownership, producer characteristics, farming practices, and income and expenses. The 2022 survey contains new questions on hemp production, hair sheep, precision agriculture, and updated internet access questions. USDA will send online invitations in November and paper forms in December. Reports are due from producers by February 6, 2023.
Crop Insurance: USDA Announces Increased Revenue Limits, Update for Whole-Farm Revenue Protection and Micro Farm Insurance Programs
On August 31, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced updates to its Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) and Micro Farm insurance programs. Both programs increased the amount of revenue producers may insure: the WFRP revenue limit was raised to $17 million (from $8.5 million) and the Micro Farm revenue limit was raised to $350,000 (from $100,000). Additional changes to the WFRP include permitting producers to self-certify and report yields at the beginning of the year for otherwise uninsurable commodities and no longer requiring expense reporting in favor of lowering expected revenues to 60% from commodities unable to be planted. The announced updates become effective for crop year 2023.
Conservation Programs: Land O’Lakes-Backed Truterra Announces Payments and Warranty Program for First-Time Regenerative Practices
On August 30, 2022, the Land O’Lakes, Inc.-backed sustainability company Truterra announced a new initiative to encourage producers to implement first-time regenerative practices to prepare their fields for participation in future carbon markets. Under the initiative, eligible farmers may receive $2 per acre for implementing practice changes, like reducing tillage and planting cover crops, and may also participate in a warranty program to offset the risks of the practice changes. Additionally, Truterra states that farmers already implementing regenerative practices may be eligible to receive up to $25 per ton of sequestered CO2 under its carbon program.
Pesticides/Herbicides: Plaintiffs Motion to Lift Stay in Arizona District Court Dicamba Case, EPA Opposes
On August 18, 2022, the Center for Biological Diversity (Center) filed a status report in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona requesting that the court remove the stay in a case challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) October 2020 registration of three dicamba products. Center for Biological Diversity v. EPA, No. 4:20-cv-00555. The stay was issued by the court in December 2020 due to jurisdictional concerns raised by parallel litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. American Soybean Association v. Andrew Wheeler [Michael Regan], et al, No. 20-1441. In its status report, the Center states that all the parties involved in the D.C. Circuit litigation have filed their initial briefs and, according to those briefs, all involved parties agree that the district court is the proper venue for the challenge because EPA did not provide notice or hold a public hearing before issuing the 2020 registrations (EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0492). Thus, the Center argues, the Arizona District court should lift the stay and re-initiate proceedings. However, on August 30, 2022, EPA filed a response to the Center’s status report stating that, although the D.C. Circuit parties agree that the courts of appeal do not have jurisdiction, that agreement is insufficient to determine a court’s jurisdiction. EPA explains that the court itself must determine that it does not have such jurisdiction, noting the D.C. Circuit’s precedent that “‘subject matter jurisdiction may not be waived,’ nor can the parties ‘confer subject-matter jurisdiction’ on a federal court.” The Arizona District Court has not responded to either filing. For background, see ALWR—Jan. 14, 2022, “Litigants Seek Lifting of Stay in 2020 Dicamba Registration Litigation.”
Local Agricultural Policy: Alaska Governor Signs Two Agriculture Bills
On August 26, 2022, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced his signature of two agriculture-related bills, HB 298 and HB 347. HB 298 authorizes the Alaska Food Strategy Task Force, intended to expand Alaskan local food markets, and establishes forgivable loans up to $150,000 for farm development and up to $250,000 for meat processing facilities when the loan applicant implements an approved business plan and increases their food production. HB 347 establishes confidentiality measures for publicly released animal records in response to public health threats. According to the sponsoring representative, the bill was intended to “protect Alaska’s farming community in the instance of testing for and containing a virus outbreak. . . while respecting the privacy and safety of the owners by redacting names and locations.”
Dairy Policy: Center for Dairy Excellence Announces Grants for Pennsylvania Producers
On August 31, 2022, the Center for Dairy Excellence announced three competitive grant opportunities for Pennsylvania dairy producers. The Dairy Excellence Grant program, open September 1–30, 2022, will match recipient funds up to $5,000 for improvement projects to increase cow comfort, milk production, and overall operation efficiency. The Technical Assistance Grant program, open September 1 through October 15, 2022, will provide fifteen $5,000 grants to producers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey for marketing and branding consultation. The Dairy Processing Grant program, open September 1 through November 1, 2022 to Pennsylvania dairy processors receiving milk from at least two Pennsylvania producers, will match recipient funds up to $10,000 for processing expansions or improvements.
Avian Influenza: California Confirms HPAI in Commercial Flocks in Three Counties, Issues Quarantine
Between August 22 and August 30, 2022, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in commercial flocks in Fresno, Tuolumne, and Sacramento Counties. Previously, CDFA detected HPAI in a backyard flock in Contra Costa County and in wild birds in fourteen counties throughout the state. According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), HPAI has affected 91,600 commercial broiler breeder birds in Fresno County and 387,200 commercial turkeys in Sacramento and Tuolumne Counties. In response, California has imposed a statewide quarantine, requiring permits for imports from certain control areas of all live poultry and hatching eggs. Current out-of-state control areas include Elkhart County, Indiana; Meeker County, Minnesota; Defiance County, Ohio; Northampton County, Pennsylvania; Sanpete County, Utah; and Washington County, Wisconsin.
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 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 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—2023 Farm Bill, Implications for Dairy
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.
Agricultural Law & Policy Resources of Interest:
Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr., Building Blocks: The Basics of EQIP, Brigit Rollins (Sept. 1, 2022).
Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr., FDA’s Color Additive Regulations and the Skittles Litigation, Jana Caracciolo (Aug. 30, 2022).
Agric. Law & Tax’n Blog, Declaring Inflation Reduced and Being Forgiving – Recent Developments in Tax and Law, Roger A. McEowen (Sept. 2, 2022).
Univ. Md. Risk Mgmt. Educ. Blog, Update On USDA’s Debt Relief Plan For Black And Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Nicole Cook (Aug. 30, 2022).
Ohio St. Univ. Ext. Farm Off. Blog, The “letter of intent” for solar and wind energy development: considerations for landowners, Peggy Kirk Hall (Aug. 31, 2022).
Ohio St. Univ. Ext. Farm Off. Blog, Gifting Assets to Protect from Long-Term Care Costs, Robert Moore (Sept. 1, 2022).
Tex. A&M Agric. Law Blog, 2022 USDA Land Values Summary, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet (Aug. 29, 2022).
Iowa St. Univ. Ctr. Agric. Law & Tax’n, IRS Issues Broad 2019 and 2020 Failure to File Penalty Relief, Kristine A. Tidgren (Aug. 31, 2022).
Progressive Farmer/DTN, Walmart and Beef’s Vertical Integration, Chris Clayton (Sept. 1, 2022).
Penn State News, Research & Resources:
PSU Ext., Rebuilding Relationships with Rockview through Livestock Education (Aug. 29, 2022).
PSU Ext., Hessian Fly and Early Planted Wheat and Barley (Aug. 30, 2022).
PSU Ext., Avoiding Viruses in Small Grain Crops (Aug. 31, 2022).
PSU Ext., PestWatch Report: August 31, 2022 (Aug. 31, 2022).
PSU Ext., 2022 Pennsylvania Vegetable Disease Update for August 31 (Aug. 31, 2022).
PSU Ext., Drought Watch Declared in 36 Pennsylvania Counties (Aug. 31, 2022).
PSU Ext., Dairy Revenue Protection – September 2022 (Sept. 1, 2022).
PSU Ext., Science ‘Meats’ Art in Pork Quality (Sept. 2, 2022).
Boy’s Discovery Reveals Highly Complex Plant-Insect Interaction (Sept. 1, 2022).
Top #AgLaw HotLinks Aug. 29–Sept. 2, 2022:
EPA to Regulate ‘Forever Chemicals’, Progressive Farmer DTN
EPA Wants Dicamba Case to Stay on Hold, Progressive Farmer DTN
USDA Launches $300M Organic Transition Initiative to Aid Organic Farmers, Producers and Supply Chains, Winsight Grocery Business
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
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) PRESS RELEASES
USDA AGENCY PRESS RELEASES:
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
APHIS Updates Federal Domestic Soil Quarantine Map (Sept. 1, 2022).
Restrictions on Hunter Harvested Wild Bird Game Meat from Canada (Sept. 2, 2022).
Economic Research Service (ERS)
China’s Import Potential for Beef, Corn, Pork, and Wheat (Aug. 25, 2022).
The H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker Program in 2020 (Aug. 30, 2022).
Farm Service Agency (FSA)
USDA Announces No Actions Under Feedstock Flexibility Program (Aug. 30, 2022).
Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
Joint Media Release Following APEC Food Security Ministers Meeting (Aug. 29, 2022).
Export Sales to China [167,000 metric tons of soybeans] (Aug. 31, 2022).
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
USDA announces details for the upcoming Census of Agriculture (Aug. 29, 2022).
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
Risk Management Agency
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register Aug. 29–Sept. 2, 2022):
87 FR 52737 Notice: “USDA Equity Commission” (Aug. 29, 2022).
87 FR 53710 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Notice of Request for Emergency Approval [American Rescue Plan, Direct Single Family Housing Loan Programs]” (Sept. 1, 2022).
87 FR 54187 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Restricted, Prohibited, and Controlled Importation of Animal and Poultry Products and Byproducts, Into the United States]” (Sept. 2, 2022).
Agricultural Marketing Service
87 FR 54173 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Inert Ingredients in Pesticides for Organic Production” (Sept. 2, 2022).
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
87 FR 52901 Notice—Comment Period: “Availability of an Environmental Assessment for Field Testing of Bursal Disease-Infectious Laryngotracheitis-Marek’s Disease Vaccine, Serotype 3, Live Marek’s Disease Vector” (Aug. 30, 2022).
87 FR 53647 Rule: “Possession, Use, and Transfer of Select Agents and Toxins; Regulation of an Attenuated Vaccine Strain of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus as a Select Agent” (Sept. 1, 2022).
87 FR 54187 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Animal Welfare” (Sept. 2, 2022).
Commodity Credit Corporation
87 FR 53363 Final Rule: “Food for Progress Program” (Aug. 31, 2022).
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 52773 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Receipt of Requests To Voluntarily Cancel Certain Pesticide Registrations and Amend Registrations To Terminate Certain Uses” (Aug. 29, 2022).
87 FR 52868 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Receipt of Pesticide Petitions Filed for Residues of Pesticide Chemicals in or on Various Commodities-July 2022” (Aug. 30, 2022).
87 FR 52964 Notice—Comment Period: “Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program (Renewal)” (Aug. 30, 2022).
87 FR 53471 Notice: “Cancellation Order for Certain Chlorpyrifos Registrations” (Aug. 31, 2022).
Farm Credit Administration
87 FR 52775 Notice: “Sunshine Act Meetings [September 8, 2022]” (Aug. 29, 2022).
Farm Service Agency
87 FR 52902 Notice: “Request for Applications for Heirs’ Property Relending Program” (Aug. 30, 2022).
87 FR 53441 Notice—Comment Period: “Information Collection Request; Direct Loan Making” (Aug. 31, 2022).
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
87 FR 52852 Rule: “Crop Insurance Reporting and Other Changes (CIROC); Corrections” (Aug. 30, 2022).
Fish and Wildlife Service
87 FR 52805 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR)” (Aug. 29, 2022).
87 FR 52807 Notice—Comment Period: “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Receipt of Habitat Conservation Plan and Applications for Incidental Take Permits for Bat Species in MI, MN, and WI; Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment” (Aug. 29, 2022).
87 FR 53404 Final Rule: “Migratory Bird Hunting; Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations on Certain Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands for the 2022-23 Season” (Aug. 31, 2022).
87 FR 54239 Notice—Comment Period: “Foreign Endangered Species; Receipt of Permit Applications” (Sept. 2, 2022).
87 FR 54234 Notice—Comment Period: “Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of Recovery Permit Applications” (Sept. 2, 2022).
Food and Drug Administration
87 FR 52681 Final Rule—Comment Period: “Food Additives Permitted in Feed and Drinking Water of Animals; Fumonisin Esterase” (Aug. 29, 2022).
Foreign Agricultural Service
87 FR 52851 Interim Final Rule—Comment Period: “Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing Program” (Aug. 30, 2022).
87 FR 53441 Notice: “Adjustment of Appendices Under the Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing Regulation” (Aug. 31, 2022).
87 FR 52738 Notice: “Boundary Establishment for Fish Creek National Wild and Scenic River, Mt. Hood National Forest, Clackamas County, Oregon” (Aug. 29, 2022).
U.S. HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE:
H.R.8495 “Puerto Rico Nutrition Assistance Fairness Act of 2022.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations (Aug. 29, 2022).
H.R.8514 “Strengthening Welfare in Marine Settings Act of 2022” or “SWIMS Act of 2022.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture (Aug. 29, 2022).
H.R.8592 “Guaranteeing Robust Agricultural Independence and Nutrition for America Act” or “GRAIN for America Act.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry (Aug. 29, 2022).
H.R.8596 “Biochar Research Network Act of 2022.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research
H.Con.Res.103 “Expressing the sense of Congress that August 30, 2021, be observed as the 131st anniversary of the 1890 Institutions.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (Aug. 30, 2022).
H.Res.1329 “Recognizing the need for greater access to rural and agricultural media programming.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture (Sept. 2, 2022).
U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, NUTRITION, AND FORESTRY:
No new actions this week.
STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PRESS RELEASES:
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 36—Sept. 3, 2022):
Department of Environmental Protection
52 Pa.B. 5661 Notice: “Pa. Clean Streams Law and Federal Clean Water Act: Applications for NPDES and WQM Permits.”
52 Pa.B. 5721 Notice: “Availability of Rebates through the Pennsylvania Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program.”
52 Pa.B. 5722 Notice: “Household Hazardous Waste Education Grant Awards under Section 901 of the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, Act 101 of 1988.”
52 Pa.B. 5722 Notice: “Municipal Waste Base General Permit WMGM042 Renewal.”
52 Pa.B. 5723 Notice: “Sewage Advisory Committee; Meeting Rescheduled and Change in Location [October 26, 2022].”
52 Pa.B. 5747 Notice: “Chronic Wasting Disease—Designation of Disease Management Areas and Endemic States and Canadian Provinces Order #12.”
52 Pa.B. 5653 Proposed Rulemaking: “Preliminary Provisions; Definitions.”
52 Pa.B. 5653 Proposed Rulemaking: “Preliminary Provisions; Definitions; Lands and Buildings; Shooting Ranges.”
HB 2787 “An Act amending the act . . . known as the Taxpayer Relief Act, providing for additional homestead exclusion allocation; and making an appropriation [Homestead and Farmstead Property Tax Relief].” Referred to FINANCE [House] (Aug. 30, 2022)
Audry Thompson—Staff Attorney
Brook Duer—Staff Attorney