International Trade: U.S. Initiates USMCA Dispute Settlement Consultations with Mexico on GMO Corn Ban
On June 2, 2023, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the United States has requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico under Articles 31.2 and 31.4 of the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA) concerning Mexico’s prohibition on the import of genetically modified corn for human consumption. The USTR announcement follows a June 1, 2023, letter from 62 Congress members urging the USTR to “immediately proceed with a formal USMCA dispute.”  USTR’s request for dispute settlement consultations follows unsuccessful technical consultations with Mexico, held on March 30, 2023. USMCA consultations serve as the “last step before filing a trade complaint in the long-running dispute.” See ALWR—March 13, 2023, “U.S. Trade Representative Announces USMCA Technical Consultations on Mexican GMO Corn Ban.”

Dairy Policy: USDA Commences FMMO Reform Hearing Process
On June 1, 2023, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) published its “Action Plan on Proposed Amendments to the Pricing Provisions of All Federal Milk Marketing Orders” (FMMOs). The action plan is USDA’s response to the National Milk Producers Federation’s (NMPF) formal proposal, filed May 1, 2023, requesting amendments to all FMMOs. USDA stated that it “is considering initiation of a rulemaking proceeding that would include a public hearing to collect evidence regarding proposed changes to pricing provisions effective in all eleven FMMOs.” USDA’s published schedule includes a call for additional reform proposals by June 14, 2023; a virtual pre-hearing information session on June 16, 2023; an anticipated hearing notice publication in late July 2023; and a tentative hearing start date of August 23, 2023. For background, see ALWR—May 15, 2023, “NMPF Files FMMO Reform Request.”

Food Policy: USDA Solicits Bids for Purchase of 880,000 Pounds of Section 32 Pork Purchases
On June 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) posted a bid notice to its open purchase requests webpage soliciting bids for USDA’s purchase of 880,440 pounds of pork products under Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1935. Bids are due June 8, 2023, and deliveries should be made between August 1–31, 2023. Additionally, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) published an update commending the purchase plan, which NPPC estimates is worth $50.1 million. NPPC attributes the solicitation to weak demand and “record-high production costs” that have “resulted in more than $1.4 billion in industry losses over the last five months.”

Pesticides/Herbicides: Environmental Groups File Suit to Compel FIFRA Regulation of Pesticide-Coated Seeds
On May 31, 2023, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking vacatur of the Treated Article Exemption of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as it applies to pesticide-coated seeds. Center for Food Safety v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 3:23-cv-02714. Also announced by CFS, the complaint also requests a declaratory judgment that EPA’s September 2022 denial of a CFS petition seeking removal of pesticide-treated seeds from FIFRA exemptions was both a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and FIFRA. See ALWR—Sept. 30, 2022, “EPA Responds to Petition Seeking Removal of Pesticide-Treated Seeds from FIFRA Exemption.”

Animal Welfare: California Issues Prop 12 Guidance for Pork Sales
On May 31, 2023, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) released guidance titled “Questions and Answers Related to Pork Sales in the Wake of the 2023 Supreme Court Decision,” which upheld California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12). Under Prop 12 regulations, all pork producers must register with CDFA and, according to the guidance, Prop 12 confinement standards will become effective July 1, 2023. The guidance states that, for the remainder of 2023, CDFA will focus on distributor registration, third-party certifying agent accreditation, and producer and distributor certification, as opposed to noncompliant pork already in commerce. Prop 12 regulations require third-party certification for pork distributor and producer registration commencing January 1, 2024. Before January 2024, CDFA will accept self-certifications of compliance along with a completed Application for Distributor Registration.

Food Labeling: Texas Passes Cell-Cultured and Plant-Based Food Labeling Law 
On May 15, 2023, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 664, which amends the state’s Health and Safety Code to include new definitions and regulations for labeling “cell-cultured” and “analogue,” or plant-based, food products. The law defines an “analogue” product as “a food product derived by combining plant products, insects, or fungus with food additives to approximate the texture, flavor, appearance, or other aesthetic qualities” of animal products and a “cell-cultured” product as “a food product derived by harvesting animal cells and artificially replicating those cells in a growth medium in laboratory to produce tissue.” The amendment requires that analogue and cell-cultured products be clearly labeled near the product name “in prominent type equal to or greater in size than the surrounding type” with terms like “analogue,” “meatless,” “plant-based,” “cell-cultured,” or “lab-grown.” The new law deems products not in compliance with the labeling specifications as “misbranded.” The legislation becomes effective September 1, 2023.

Water Quality: Maryland Resumes Conowingo Dam Water Quality Certification After Settlement and Dam Relicensing Vacated
On June 1, 2023, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) issued a letter to the legal counsel for Constellation Energy and Chesapeake Bay conservation groups inviting them to a June 20, 2023, status meeting regarding MDE’s administrative reconsideration of the Water Quality Certification (WQC) for the Conowingo Hydroelectric Project (Conowingo Dam), owned and operated by Constellation Energy. The administrative reconsideration represents the next step in the dam’s WQC process after the previous process, which began more than four years ago, was never completed due to an attempt to relicense the dam through a settlement agreement. All parties to the proceedings will be allowed to submit additional information due to the passage of time. For background, see ALWR—Jan. 9, 2023, “D.C. Circuit Court Vacates and Remands Conowingo Dam License.”

Pesticides/Herbicides: EPA Publishes Analysis of Pesticides, Finds No PFAS Residues
On May 18, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a summary of a recent agency analysis finding no detectable perfluoroalkyl (PFAS) residues in ten pesticides reported to contain such residues by a 2022 study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. In its analysis, EPA replicated the 2022 study’s methodology and used a new methodology to test the pesticides for PFAS. According to EPA, its new methodology “results in better/more accurate detection limits” because EPA’s sample preparation “involves a more intense extraction . . . to isolate PFAS compounds” as opposed to the 2022 study, which only uses “a simple dilution in a solvent/water solution.” Although the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) recent examination of data contained in a Purdue University database determined that “[m]ore than 1,400 pesticides contain active ingredients that meet Maine’s definition for . . . PFAS” and a study sponsored by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) found elevated PFAS levels in three of the pesticides also tested by EPA, neither the EWG analysis nor the CBD-sponsored study contained an explanation of its methodologies.


____________________________________________________ | Facebook | Twitter@AgShaleLaw | YouTube | LinkedIn



An Overview of U.S. Charitable Food Surplus Programs. Free webinar presented in partnership with the National Agricultural Law Center.

  • June 21, 2023, noon–1 pm (ET). Register.

Understanding Agricultural Law. A free monthly Zoom webinar series for all agricultural and rural business advisors. One hour of substantive CLE credit available for Pennsylvania-licensed attorneys at no charge. Recordings and materials from the series, more information, and registration available here. Upcoming:

  • June 23, 2023, noon–1 pm (ET). Understanding the Basics of the Farm Credit System. Register.

Multi-District Antitrust Litigation in the Protein Sectors (Poultry, Pork and Beef), free webinar presented in partnership with the National Agricultural Law Center available for on-demand viewing, recorded May 17, 2023

Dairy Quarterly Legal Webinar. A free quarterly Zoom webinar series covering dairy industry legal and regulatory developments with an in-depth focus topic presentation. One hour of substantive CLE credit available for Pennsylvania-licensed attorneys at no charge. Recordings and materials from the series, more information, and registration available here. Recent in the series:

Legal Planning for Specialty Crop Producers. A free six-webinar series available for on-demand viewing by registering.

Resources of Interest:

Legislative Hearings/Meetings/Reports:

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].




Statement by Secretary Vilsack Regarding USMCA Dispute Settlement Consultations Request on Mexico’s Agricultural Biotechnology Measures (June 2, 2023)


Environmental Compliance History Database Continues Upgrades Through Introduction of Clean Air Tracking Tool (May 31, 2023)

St. Louis Chemical Company Agrees to Pay Penalty for Failure to Report Toxic Chemical Releases (May 31, 2023)

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Availability of $12 Million Through Investing in America Agenda for Brownfields Job Training Grants (May 30, 2023)


Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

USDA Researching New England’s Ability to be Self-Reliant in Food Production (June 5, 2023)

BRIDGEcereal: Self-Teaching Web App Improves Speed, Accuracy of Classifying DNA Variations Among Cereal Varieties (June 5, 2023)

FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register May 29–June 2, 2023):            

Department of Agriculture

88 FR 36272 Notice: “Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records” (June 2, 2023).

88 FR 34472 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request” (May 30, 2023).

88 FR 34473 Notice of public meeting: “USDA Equity Commission” (May 30, 2023).

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

88 FR 35826 Notice: “Addition of Gabon, Guinea, and Moldova to the List of Regions Affected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza” (June 1, 2023).

88 FR 35825 Notice: “Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Importation of Beef and Ovine Meat from Uruguay and Beef from Argentina and Brazil” (June 1, 2023).

88 FR 34474 Notice of public meeting: “General Conference Committee of the National Poultry Improvement Plan” (May 30, 2023).

Environmental Protection Agency

88 FR 36310 Notice: “Certain New Chemicals; Receipt and Status Information for April 2023” (June 2, 2023).

88 FR 36253 Final Rule: “Air Plan Approval; Pennsylvania; Infrastructure State Implementation Plan Revision Clean Air Act Section 110 Applicable Requirements for the 2015 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS)” (June 2, 2023).

88 FR 35869 Notice: “DCPA Registration Review; Draft Occupational and Residential Risk Assessment; Notice of Availability” (June 1, 2023).

88 FR 35872 Notice: “Public Meetings of the Science Advisory Board Hexavalent Chromium Review Panel” (June 1, 2023).

88 FR 35871 Notice: “Public Meeting of the Science Advisory Board” (June 1, 2023).

88 FR 35808 Proposed Rule: “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Ethylene Oxide Emissions Standards for Sterilization Facilities Residual Risk and Technology Review; Extension of Comment Period” (June 1, 2023).

88 FR 34756 Final Rule: “Pesticides; Exemptions of Certain Plant-Incorporated Protectants (PIPs) Derived From Newer Technologies” (May 31, 2023).

88 FR 34853 Notice: “Proposed Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen Suit” (May 31, 2023).

88 FR 34852 Notice: “Release of the Policy Assessment for the Review of the Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen, Oxides of Sulfur and Particulate Matter-External Review Draft” (May 31, 2023).

88 FR 34855 Notice: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program in the Commercial and Industrial Sectors (Renewal)” (May 31, 2023).

88 FR 34452 Final rule; correction: “Testing Provisions for Air Emission Sources; Correction” (May 30, 2023).

88 FR 34497 Notice: “Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements for Fuels Regulatory Streamlining” (May 30, 2023).

Fish and Wildlife Service

88 FR 36330 Notice: “Endangered Wildlife; Recovery Permit Applications” (June 2, 2023).

88 FR 36328 Notice: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Migratory Bird Surveys” (June 2, 2023).

88 FR 35809 Proposed Rule: “Regulatory Authorizations for Migratory Bird and Eagle Possession by the General Public, Educators, and Government Agencies” (June 1, 2023).

88 FR 35821 Proposed Rule: “Exhibition of Migratory Birds and Eagles” (June 1, 2023).

88 FR 34800 Proposed Rule: “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Status for Sira Curassow and Southern Helmeted Curassow” (May 31, 2023).

88 FR 34887 Notice: “Marine Mammal Protection Act; Receipt of Permit Application” (May 31, 2023).

Food and Drug Administration

88 FR 35885 Notice: “Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Product Establishments That Are Improperly Registered in the Electronic Human Cell and Tissue Establishment Registration System Due to Lack of Annual Registration Update; Action Dates” (June 1, 2023).

Food and Nutrition Service

88 FR 34475 Notice: “Agency Information Collection Activities: Assessment of Mobile Technologies for Using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits” (May 30, 2023).

Food Safety and Inspection Service

88 FR 35827 Notice: “Availability of FSIS Guideline for Controlling Salmonella in Swine Slaughter and Pork Processing Establishments” (June 1, 2023).

Labor Department

88 FR 34896 Notice: “Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Attestation for Employers Seeking to Employ H-2B Nonimmigrant Workers” (May 31, 2023).

Reclamation Bureau

88 FR 34891 Notice: “Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on the Middle Rio Grande Lower San Acacia Reach” (May 31, 2023).

Rural Business-Cooperative Service

88 FR 34823 Notice: “Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program for Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024, Correction. (May 31, 2023).

Rural Utilities Service

88 FR 36217 Correcting amendment: “Implementation of Telecommunications Provisions of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018; Correction” (June 2, 2023).


H.R.3783 “To protect public health and human safety by prohibiting the farming of mink for their fur, to compensate farmers as they transition out of the industry, and for other purposes.” (June 1, 2023).

H.R.3779 “To establish a 1-year moratorium on the enrollment of land in the conservation reserve program under the Food Security Act of 1985 and to prohibit the enrollment of prime farmland in such program, and for other purposes.” (May 31, 2023).

H.R.3756 “To require the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to complete an interagency report on the effects of special recreation permits on environmental justice communities, and for other purposes.” (May 30, 2023).

H.R.3755 “To amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to exempt industrial hemp from certain requirements under the hemp production program, and for other purposes.” (May 30, 2023).

H.R.3748 “To amend the Animal Health Protection Act to improve the prevention of the spread of animal diseases, and for other purposes.” (May 30, 2023).

H.R.3746 “Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023.” (May 29, 2023).


S.1778 “A bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out a study and research and demonstration on agrivoltaic systems.” (May 31, 2023).

S.1756 “A bill to amend the Farm Credit Act of 1971 to support the commercial fishing industry.” (May 30, 2023).



Shapiro Administration Convenes New Food Policy Council To Coordinate Strategic Solutions To Increase Food Security And Access For All Pennsylvanians (May 31, 2023).

PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 53, No. 18—May 6, 2023): 


53 Pa.B. 2968 Notice: “Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program; Referendum and Order”

Department of Environmental Protection

53 Pa.B. 2972 Applications: “The Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law and The Federal Clean Water Act”

53 Pa.B. 3057 Notice: “Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Programs; Federal Fiscal Year 2023 Intended Use Plans; Available for Public Comment”

Fish and Boat Commission

53 Pa.B. 3054 Notice: “Temporary Change to Fishing Regulations; 58 Pa. Code § 61.2; Delaware River, West Branch Delaware River and Estuary”


HR 132 “A Resolution designating the week of June 19 through 25, 2023, as “Pollinator Week” in Pennsylvania.” Referred to Agriculture and Rural Affairs, May 31, 2023 [House] (June 1, 2023).

HB 1279 “An Act amending Title 3 (Agriculture) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in fireworks, further providing for definitions, for use of display fireworks and for use of consumer fireworks and repealing provisions relating to rules and regulations by municipality, to sales locations, to fees, granting of licenses and inspections, to refusal, suspension or revocation of license, to conditions for facilities, to consumer fireworks tax and to disposition of certain funds.” Referred to Agriculture and Rural Affairs, May 31, 2023 [House] (June 1, 2023).

HB 1275 “An Act providing for protection of existing riparian buffers, for restoration of impaired riparian buffers, for exemptions, for municipal authority, for powers and duties of Department of Environmental Protection, for property inspections, for delegation to a municipality, for municipal action appeals, for penalties, civil action and liability for costs and for effect on other Commonwealth laws or regulations and municipal ordinances.” Referred to Environmental Resources and Energy, May 31, 2023 [House] (June 1, 2023).

HB 1273 “An Act amending Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in unconventional gas well fee, repealing provisions relating to expiration; imposing a natural gas tax; and imposing penalties.” Referred to Environmental Resources and Energy, May 31, 2023 [House] (June 1, 2023).

SB 746 “An Act amending the act of December 7, 1982 (P.L.784, No.225), known as the Dog Law, in short title and definitions, further providing for definitions; in licenses, tags and kennels, further providing for issuance of dog licenses, compensation, proof required, deposit of funds, records, license sales, rules and regulations, failure to comply, unlawful acts and penalty . . . .” First consideration, June 6, 2023 [Senate] (June 1, 2023).


Written by:
Victoria Dutterer—Research Assistant
Josh Narey—Research Assistant
Mary Johnson—Research Assistant
Audry Thompson—Staff Attorney
Brook Duer—Staff Attorney