Agricultural Labor: National Labor Relations Board Publishes Final Rule for New Joint Employer Status Test 🌾
On October 27, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published in the Federal Register a final rule titled “Standards for Determining Joint Employer Status” (88 FR 73946), which replaces the previous 2020 rule (85 FR 11184). Also announced by NLRB, the final rule establishes that “an entity may be considered a joint employer of another employer’s employees if the two share or codetermine the employees’ essential terms and conditions of employment,” which the rule defines using seven categories: 1) “wages, benefits, and other compensation,” 2) “hours of work and scheduling,” 3) “assignment of duties to be performed,” 4) “supervision of the performance of duties,” 5) “work rules and directions governing the manner, means, and methods of the performance of duties and the grounds for discipline,” 6) “tenure of employment, including hiring and discharge,” and 7) “working conditions related to the safety and health of employees.” According to a Fact Sheet published by NLRB, the 2023 rule “more faithfully grounds the joint-employer standard in established common-law agency principles” than the previous 2020 rule by “consider[ing] the alleged joint employers’ authority to control essential terms and conditions of employment, whether or not such control is exercised, and without regard to whether any such exercise of control is direct or indirect.” NLRB states that “the 2020 rule made it easier for actual joint employers to avoid a finding of joint-employer status because it set a higher threshold of ‘substantial direct and immediate control’ over essential terms of conditions of employment, which has no foundation in common law.” The 2023 rule will go into effect on December 26, 2023.

Antitrust: Jury Finds in Favor of Sanderson Farms in Class Action Price-Fixing Litigation
On October 25, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a minute entry declaring judgment in favor of Defendant Sanderson Farms and against the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs (DPPs) following a jury trial held October 18 through October 24, 2023 in the consolidated class action case In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, No. 1:16-cv-08637. Although the jury’s completed verdict form is restricted (Entry No. 7015), the final jury instructions direct the jury to consider both direct and circumstantial evidence and the jury verdict form submitted by the DPPs asks the jury whether the “Plaintiffs prove[d], by a preponderance of the evidence, that there was a conspiracy between or among two or more chicken producers to limit the supply of chicken” and whether “Sanderson Farms knowingly became a member of the conspiracy.” According to a November 1 minute entry, trial for the Commercial and Institutional Indirect Purchaser Plaintiff Class (CIIPPs) is set for March 12, 2023. See also the Center’s Agricultural Antitrust Litigation Tracker. 

Pesticides/Herbicides: Three State Juries Award $508 Million to Roundup Plaintiffs
In the final weeks of October 2023, three separate juries in Missouri, Pennsylvania, and California collectively awarded $508.25 million to plaintiffs claiming that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused them to develop cancer. On October 26, 2023, Missouri’s 22nd Judicial Circuit Court in St. Louis entered a judgment awarding $1.25 million to the plaintiff in Durnell v. Monsanto, No. 1922-CC00221. On October 30, 2023, the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas entered a jury verdict awarding $175 million to the plaintiff—$25 million in compensatory damages and $150 million in punitive damages—in Caranci v. Monsanto, No. 210602213 (docket access). And, on October 31, 2023, the California Superior Court for the County of San Diego entered a jury verdict awarding $332 million to the plaintiff—$7 million in compensatory damages and $325 million in punitive damages—in Dennis v. Monsanto, No. 37-2021-00047326-CU-PO-CTL (docket access). For more, see the Center’s Glyphosate Issue Tracker

National Agricultural Policy: U.S. Supreme Court Grants Certiorari to Two Cases Challenging Chevron Doctrine
On October 13, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to a case asking the Court to overrule or further explain its Chevron doctrine, which requires courts to determine whether an agency’s interpretation of a law that it administers is “a permissible construction of the statute” when “the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to [a] specific issue” and then defer to the agency’s interpretation. Relentless v. U.S. Dep’t Commerce, No. 22-1219. The case will be heard in tandem with another case challenging the Chevron doctrine, Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, No. 22-451, which was granted certiorari in May 2023. Oral argument is expected for both cases in the January 2024 session.

Pesticides/Herbicides: EPA Draft Biological Evaluations Find Dinotefuran and Acetamiprid ‘Likely to Adversely Affect’ Listed Species
On October 27, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published draft biological evaluations (BE), including the agency’s draft effects determinations on federally listed species and designated critical habitats, for two neonicotinoid insecticides, dinotefuran and acetamiprid. According to EPA, dinotefuran “is likely to adversely affect 1259 listed species (73%) and 624 critical habitats (76%)” and acetamiprid “is likely to adversely affect 1,005 listed species (59%) and 309 critical habitats (37%).” EPA is accepting public comments on the draft BEs until December 26, 2023, at EPA-HQ-OPP-2023-0506 (dinotefuran) and EPA-HQ-OPP-2023-0513 (acetamiprid).

Pesticides/Herbicides: Producers Send Letter to EPA Seeking Retraction of Proposed Herbicide Strategy Framework
On October 22, 2023, 1,477 producers from 33 states and the District of Columbia submitted a letter to Jan Matuszko, Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Fate and Effects Division, requesting that the agency revoke the proposed Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework to Reduce Exposure of Federally Listed Endangered and Threatened Species and Designated Critical Habitats from the Use of Conventional Agricultural Herbicides, published in July 2023. EPA extended the comment due date for the draft strategy from September 22 to October 22, 2023, after receiving several requests. The individuals argue that the proposed strategy is “complicated, harmful, and unworkable” and that it “will be difficult for individual producers and applicators to even determine if lands are under regulation or what their compliance obligations will be.” For background, see ALWR—Aug. 7, 2023, “EPA Releases Draft Herbicide Strategy for Federally Listed Species.”

Dairy Policy: USDA Publishes Dairy Production, Consumption Annual Reports for 13 Countries, EU
Between October 20–24, 2023 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) published “Dairy and Products Annual” reports on projected dairy production, consumption, and imports for the following countries:

  • Algeria (“Algeria’s milk powder imports increased in CY 2022 and are forecast to keep the upward trend in 2023.”)
  • Brazil (“In 2024, milk production is also expected to grow around 1.2 percent, reaching 25 million metric tons.”)
  • Canada (“FAS/Canada projects milk production flat into 2024, based on declining fluid milk consumption, and steady requirements for industrial milk.”)
  • Chile (“Chile is considering adoption of EU-style geographic indications.”)
  • China (FAS “forecasts both whole milk powder (WMP) and skim milk powder imports to decline due to the large domestic production of raw milk and WMP.”)
  • European Union (“milk production in 2024 is forecast to fall slightly to 149.5 million metric tons” while “cheese production in 2024 is forecast to increase by 0.29 percent over 2023 levels”)
  • India (“Production increases . . . are falling short . . . [due to] a shortage of quality feeds and fodders and a limited number of higher-yielding milk cows.”)
  • Japan (“Japan’s 2024 butter and cheese imports will rise . . . but imports of non-fat dry milk powder will be minimal since stocks already are high.”)
  • Mexico (“Milk, cheese, and butter production in 2024 are forecast to increase due to relatively lower input and dairy ingredient prices and strong domestic demand.”)
  • New Zealand (“Fluid milk production in 2024 is forecast to decline by 0.5 percent to 21.4 million metric tons.”)
  • Philippines (“FAS Manila forecasts demand for dairy products to increase 3 percent to 3.5 million metric tons in liquid milk equivalent in 2024.”)
  • South Korea (“Domestic production is projected to drop to 1.93 million tons in 2023 after reaching 1.98 million tons in 2021.”)
  • Taiwan (“Demand for butter and milk powder remains stable while cheese demand continues to grow.”
  • Ukraine (“Milk production is expected to further decrease slightly in 2024.”)

Dairy Policy: Organic Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Reporting Yields Act of 2023 Introduced in Senate
On October 19, 2023, Senator Peter Welch of Vermont introduced S.3097, titled the “Organic Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Reporting Yields Act of 2023,” or the “O DAIRY Act of 2023.” Among several actions, the bill would amend the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP) program to include losses “caused by an increase in organic feed or other input costs that result in a cumulative decrease in net income of more than 10 percent in any 1 calendar year”; direct the Secretary of Agriculture to collect and publish data for organic milk production; allocate $20 million for organic dairy processing; and allocate $5 million to establish “Regional Organic Dairy Market Specialists.”

Biotechnology: China Publishes First GMO Corn and Soybean Variety Registration List
On October 24, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) published a report translating China’s “first-ever variety registration list for genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans,” which “includes 37 GM corn varieties and 14 GM soybean varieties.” Also announced by FAS, the agency states that, “once finalized, listed GM corn and soybean varieties will be eligible for planting in approved areas.” The report is open for public comment until November 15, 2023.

International Trade: Chinese and U.S. Companies Sign 11 Purchase Agreements
On October 24, 2023, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) announced that several U.S. and Chinese commodity companies signed 11 purchasing agreements, but did not specify the amounts of the contracts. According to the announcement, the purchase agreements included the following partnerships:

  • “ADM with Bohi Industry,
  • ADM with China Agri,
  • ADM with Fuzhiyuan Feed Protein (Wilmar International),
  • Bunge with Sinograin Oil,
  • Cargill with Sinograin Oil,
  • CHS with Bohi Enterprises,
  • CHS with Sinograin Oil,
  • COFCO International with China Agri,
  • COFCO Agri with Zennoh Grain, Shenzhen Gem with Hangtung Resources, and
  • Zennoh Grain with Bohi Industry.”

Agribusiness: Agriculture at Top of National Cooperative Bank’s ‘Top 100’ Revenue-Earning Co-Ops
On October 16, 2023, the National Cooperative Bank (NCB) announced the publication of its “annual NCB Co-op 100,” a “listing [of] the nation’s top 100 revenue-earning cooperative businesses.” According to the report, four of the top five places are occupied by agriculture cooperatives: 1) CHS, Inc.—$47.8 billion; 2) Dairy Farmers of America—$24.5 billion; 3) Land O’Lakes, Inc.—$19.2 billion; 4) GROWMARK, Inc.—$14.5 billion; and 5) Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc.—$12.2 billion.

Avian Influenza: HPAI Outbreaks Confirmed in Alabama, Arkansas Commercial Flocks
As of November 2, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) HPAI Confirmed Detections database reflected confirmed detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in commercial flocks in Alabama and Arkansas, in addition to the previous detections in Utah, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, and California (in order of detection). According to the database, HPAI has been detected in a commercial upland gamebirds in Chilton County, Alabama (296,500 birds affected); commercial broiler breeder pullets in Marshall County, Alabama (47,900 birds affected); and commercial broiler breeder pullets in Madison County, Arkansas (31,600 birds affected).

Local Agricultural Policy: Pennsylvania Passes Bills on Fertilizer, PA Preferred Organic Program, and Flood Insurance
On November 1, 2023, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro signed into law three bills relating to agriculture. HB 156 amends Pennsylvania Fertilizer Law to correct errors and omissions in a bill passed in July 2022, including “removing the ‘Pesticide applicator’ definition” and “adding a definition for ‘Sanitized,’ which relates back to the definition of compost.” Also announced by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, HB 157 statutorily establishes the PA Preferred® Organic trademark and program requirements. And, HB 775 establishes a Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force and directs the group to issue a report to the governor within six months detailing potential flood insurance discount programs, necessary legislative and regulatory changes, educational plans to inform residents of flood insurance options, and action plans to increase the number of flood insurance purchasers.

Dairy Policy: Center for Dairy Excellence Offers Value-Added Marketing Grants
On October 24, 2023, the Center for Dairy Excellence announced that it will award up to eleven grants of $5,000 each under its “Marketing, Branding and Labeling Consultant Grant Program.” According to the announcement, “dairy value-added businesses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey are eligible to apply” for the grants until November 17, 2023.

Environmental Policy: EPA Publishes PFAS Recordkeeping and Reporting Final Rule
On October 11, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a final rule titled “Toxic Substances Control Act Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances [PFAS]” (88 FR 70516). Also published on EPA’s Assessing and Managing Chemicals under TSCA webpage, the rule “requir[es] persons that manufacture (including import) or have manufactured these chemical substances in any year since January 1, 2011, to submit information to EPA regarding PFAS uses, production volumes, byproducts, disposal, exposures, and existing information on environmental or health effects.”

Food Safety: USDA Announces Beginning of 2024 Dioxin Survey in Beef, Pork, and Fish
On October 20, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that, on November 1, 2023, the agency “will begin a one-year sampling program of domestic beef, pork, and Siluriformes fish to monitor dioxin in regulated products to provide insight on changes in human exposure to dioxin-like compounds.” According to the announcement, the survey is a part of a recurring five-year cycle of surveys conducted in partnership with the Agricultural Research Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration. FSIS states that it will publish the survey’s results on its Chemical Residues and Contaminants webpage.

Industrial Hemp: Cannabis Companies File Complaint Alleging Federal Marijuana Prohibition Violates Constitution
On October 26, 2023, four cannabis companies filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts alleging that the federal Controlled Substances Act’s prohibition on the “manufacture, distribut[ion], or dispens[ation]” of marijuana violates the companies’ Constitutional due process rights and exceeds Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clauses. Canna Provisions, Inc. v. Garland, No. 3:23-cv-30113. According to the complaint, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2005 decision, which held that Congress’s “intent[] to ‘eradicate’ marijuana from interstate commerce” provided a “rational and . . . lawful purpose in intruding on the states’ internal regulation of marijuana,” no longer applies because “[i]n the decades since that decision, Congress and the Executive Branch have abandoned any intent to ‘eradicate’ marijuana.”

Food Policy: ERS Food Security Report Finds 12.8% of American Households ‘Food Insecure’
On October 25, 2023, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) published a report, titled Household Food Security in the United States in 2022. The report found that, although 87.2% of American households were “food secure” in 2022, the remaining 12.8%—17 million American households—were “food insecure,” with 6.8 million households experiencing severe food insecurity. In a statement, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack called the findings “unacceptable.”

Disaster Assistance Programs: USDA Announces Over $3 Billion for 2022 Emergency Relief Program
On October 27, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the agency will provide more than $3 billion through the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) 2022 for “commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2022.” USDA states that “ERP 2022 covers losses to crops, trees, bushes and vines due to qualifying, calendar year 2022 natural disaster events including wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, tornadoes, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), smoke exposure, excessive moisture, qualifying drought and related conditions.” USDA has not yet set an application deadline for relief, but states that the deadline “will be announced at a later date.”

 

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 CENTER PROGRAMS & RESOURCES

Podcasts:

Agricultural Law Podcast

248. EPA Reveals Plan to Reform CAFO Regulation under the Clean Water Act (Oct. 17, 2023)

247. Environmental Organizations Sue EPA for Refusal to Expand CAFO Regulation (Oct. 10, 2023)

246. EPA’s Revised WOTUS Rule Conforming to Sackett (Sept. 25, 2023)

Farmland Legal Energy Podcast

160. Methane Production From Manure (Oct. 31, 2023)

159. An Introduction to Hydrogen and Agriculture (Oct. 10, 2023)

158. An Introduction to Anaerobic Digestion (Sept. 26, 2023)

Events:

Making Laws Work for You, Part 1: Ag Security Areas, Farmland Preservation, and Clean & Green

  • Mon. Nov. 6, 2023, noon–1:30pm (ET). Virtual. Staff attorney Brook Duer will present with the Small Business Development Center.

Understanding Agricultural Law Series. 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:

2023 Annual Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference

  • Nov. 16, 2023. In-person at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Annapolis. Staff Attorney Brook Duer will present “HPAI: How Can We Miss You, If You Won’t Go Away?” at 12:45pm.

Making Laws Work for You, Part 2: Right to Farm, ACRE, and the Agritourism Activity Protection Act

  • Mon. Dec. 11, 2023, noon–1:30pm (ET). Virtual. Staff attorney Brook Duer will present with the Small Business Development Center.

Resources of Interest:

Agric. Law & Tax’n Blog, Ag Law and Tax Topics – Miscellaneous Topics, Roger McEwon (Oct. 29, 2023)

Ohio St. Univ. Ext. Farm Off. Blog, Agricultural & Natural Resources Income Tax Webinar, Jeffrey Lewis (Oct. 27, 2023)

Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr., Doctrine of Chevron Deference Challenged at the High Court, Brigit Rollins (Oct. 26, 2023)

Southern Ag Today, Do Crop Insurance Payments Help with Economic Impacts of Drought Beyond the Farm Gate?, Katherine Welch (Oct. 26, 2023)

Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr., Farm Animal Confinement: Legal Challenges to Mass. Question 3, Elizabeth Rumley (Oct. 25, 2023)

Univ. Md. Risk Mgmt. Educ. Blog, Agricultural easements can address farmland preservation and farm transition goals, part 2, Peggy Hall (Oct. 25, 2023)

Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr., Good Husbandry in Agricultural Leases, Harrison Pittman (Oct. 24, 2023)

Univ. Md. Risk Mgmt. Educ. Blog, Negligent Entrustment Liability for Farm Employers, Nicole Cook (Oct. 24, 2023)

Tex. A&M Agric. Law Blog, California Lawsuit Challenges Actions Involving Show Goat and Junior Livestock Sale, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet (Oct. 23, 2023)

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FEDERAL ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE

U.S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) PRESS RELEASES

USDA’s Equity Commission Concludes Sixth Public Meeting to Improve Equity and Eliminate Barriers to Programs and Services (Oct. 27, 2023)

USDA Publishes New Standards for Organic Livestock and Poultry Production, Promotes More Competitive Organic Market (Oct. 25, 2023)

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Economic Research Service’s 2022 Household Food Security in the U.S. Report (Oct. 25, 2023)

USDA Releases Assessment on Agriculture and Forestry in Carbon Markets (Oct. 23, 2023)

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) PRESS RELEASES

EPA penalizes Town of Coulee Dam over $70,000 for Clean Water Act violations (Oct. 26, 2023)

EPA highlights lead paint settlement with South Windsor, Conn. company during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (Oct. 26, 2023)

USDA AGENCY PRESS RELEASES:

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

USDA Publishes New Standards for Organic Livestock and Poultry Production, Promotes More Competitive Organic Market (Oct. 25, 2023)

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

Microbial Allies May Help Turn Tables on Tar Spot Fungus in Corn (Oct. 23, 2023)

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

APHIS Announces Funding Opportunity for Tribes and Tribal Organizations to Support Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Activities (Oct. 23, 2023)

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Food Security in the U.S. (Oct. 25, 2023)

Farm Service Agency

USDA to Provide More Than $3 Billion to Commodity and Specialty Crop Producers Impacted by 2022 Natural Disasters (Oct. 27, 2023)

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)

USDA and States Achieve Nationwide Card Skimming Safeguards for SNAP Participants (Oct. 27, 2023)

Statement from Secretary Tom Vilsack on the 2022 Household Food Security in the U.S. Report (Oct. 25, 2023)

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

USDA Appoints New Members to Food Safety Advisory Committee (Oct. 27, 2023)

Constituent Update – October 27, 2023 (Oct. 27, 2023)

National Agricultural Statistics Service

Morris Hansen Lecture keynote speaker will discuss model selection in surveys (Oct. 24, 2023)

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

NIFA Invests Nearly $3.4 Million in New Technologies for Ag Extension (Oct. 24, 2023)

USDA Invests $15.5 Million in Hispanic-Serving Institutions (Oct. 24, 2023)

NIFA Invests $6.3 Million in Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research (Oct. 24, 2023)

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

ACT NOW Inflation Reduction Act Funding (Oct. 27, 2023)

USDA Offers Conservation Assistance to Landowners to Protect Wetlands, Agricultural Lands and Grasslands (Oct. 26, 2023)

POCATALICO RIVER SITE 28 PUBLIC NOTICE (Oct. 25, 2023)

Public Comments Sought for Farmers Irrigation District Infrastructure Modernization Project (Oct. 25, 2023)

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Accepting 2024 CSP & EQIP Applications through December 8, 2023 (Oct. 25, 2023)

USDA, SBA, and FDIC Partner to Foster Economic Growth for Small Businesses and Farmers in Mid-Atlantic (Oct. 24, 2023)

FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register Oct. 16–20, 2023):   

Agriculture Department

88 FR 73824 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: National Animal Health Monitoring System Backyard Animal Keeping 2024 Study]” (Oct. 27, 2023)

88 FR 72987 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Rural Utilities Service: Empowering Rural America Program]” (Oct. 24, 2023)

88 FR 72987 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Food Safety and Inspection Service: Public Health Information System]” (Oct. 24, 2023)

Agricultural Marketing Service

88 FR 73763 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Walnuts Grown in California; Decreased Assessment Rate” (Oct. 27, 2023)

88 FR 73823 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection” (Oct. 27, 2023)

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

88 FR 72990 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Importation of Animals and Poultry, Animal and Poultry Products, Certain Animal Embryos, Semen, and Zoological Animals” (Oct. 24, 2023)

88 FR 72989 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Request for Approval of an Information Collection; Comprehensive Aquaculture Health Program; Use of MI-CO Application” (Oct. 24, 2023)

88 FR 72988 Notice: “Addition of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal to the List of Regions Affected by African Swine Fever” (Oct. 24, 2023)

Economic Research Service

88 FR 73825 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request” (Oct. 27, 2023)

Environmental Protection Agency

88 FR 73839 Notice—Comment Period: “Transportation and Climate Division (TCD) Grant Program Reporting Templates: Supplemental Project Application Template and Project Reporting Templates for Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), Clean School Bus (CSB), Clean Heavy Duty (CHD), and Clean Ports Grant Programs; EPA ICR No. 2793.01, OMB Control No. 2060-NEW” (Oct. 27, 2023)

88 FR 73571 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Receipt of a Pesticide Petition Filed for Residues of Pesticide Chemicals in or on Various Commodities; September 2023” (Oct. 26, 2023)

88 FR 73098 Rule: “Phasedown of Hydrofluorocarbons: Restrictions on the Use of Certain Hydrofluorocarbons Under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020” (Oct. 24, 2023)

88 FR 73013 Notice—Comment Period: “Certain New Chemicals; Receipt and Status Information for September 2023” (Oct. 24, 2023)

88 FR 73017 Notice: “Clean Air Act Operating Permit Program; Order on Petitions for Objection to State Operating Permits for Plains Marketing LP, Alabama Bulk Terminal Company LLC, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Epic Alabama Maritime Assets LLC Alabama Shipyards LLC, and UOP LLC (Mobile County, Alabama)” (Oct. 24, 2023)

88 FR 73012 Notice—Comment Period: “Pesticide Product Registration; Receipt of Applications for New Uses (September 2023)” (Oct. 24, 2023)

88 FR 72752 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Receipt of Requests To Voluntarily Cancel Certain Pesticide Registrations” (Oct. 23, 2023)

88 FR 72723 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Approval and Promulgation of State Air Quality Plans for Designated Facilities and Pollutants; Arkansas; Negative Declaration for Existing Sulfuric Acid Plants; Plan Revision for Existing Kraft Pulp Mills” (Oct. 23, 2023)

88 FR 72686 Rule: “Air Plan Approval; Arkansas; Excess Emissions” (Oct. 23, 2023)

88 FR 72754 Notice—Comment Period: “Science Advisory Board Environmental Justice Science and Analysis Review Panel; Nominations Request” (Oct. 23, 2023)

88 FR 72826 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Guideline on Air Quality Models; Enhancements to the AERMOD Dispersion Modeling System” (Oct. 23, 2023)

88 FR 72755 Notice: “Forty-Fourth Update of the Federal Agency Hazardous Waste Compliance Docket” (Oct. 23, 2023)

88 FR 72691 Rule: “Outer Continental Shelf Air Regulations; Consistency Update for Virginia” (Oct. 23, 2023)

Food and Safety Inspection Service

88 FR 73583 Notice—Comment Period: “National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods: Public Meeting” (Oct. 26, 2023)

Food and Nutrition Service

88 FR 73585 Notice—Comment Period: “Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Generic Clearance for FNS Quick Response Surveys (FNS QRS)” (Oct. 26, 2023)

88 FR 73583 Notice: “Performance Review Board Membership” (Oct. 26, 2023)

Forest Service

88 FR 72991 Notice: “Land Between the Lakes Advisory Board” (Oct. 24, 2023)

U.S. HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE:

H.R.6028 “To amend the Controlled Substances Act regarding marihuana, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. (Oct. 27, 2023)

H.R.6053 “Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2023” Referred to the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. (Oct. 26, 2023)

H.R.5283 “Protecting our Communities from Failure to Secure the Border Act of 2023” Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 22 – 17. (Oct. 26, 2023)

H.R.5992 “To amend the Federal Crop Insurance Act to modify eligibility for prevented planting insurance under certain drought conditions, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture. (Oct. 25, 2023)

H.R.6005 “To amend the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, to expand the replacement of stolen EBT benefits under the supplemental nutrition assistance program” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture. (Oct. 25, 2023)

H.R.6011 “To direct the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to notify applicants of the completion status of right-of-way applications under section 501 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 and section 28 of the Mineral Leasing Act.” Referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture. (Oct. 25, 2023)
H.R.6012 “To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to permit removal of trees around electrical lines on National Forest System land without conducting a timber sale, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Agriculture. (Oct. 25, 2023)

H.R.6032 “To amend Public Law 88-657 to require greater transparency in the consideration of projects for the Forest Service Legacy Road and Trail Remediation Program, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Agriculture. (Oct. 25, 2023)

H.R.6064 “Don’t DO IT Act [To amend the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to provide for the denial of certain applications for solar or wind energy development projects right-of-way applications]” Referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture. (Oct. 25, 2023)

U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, NUTRITION, AND FORESTRY:

S.3147 “Flood Protection and Infrastructure Resilience Act of 2023” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. (Oct. 26, 2023)

S.3146 “Reduce Food Loss and Waste Act” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. (Oct. 26, 2023)

S.J.Res.42 “A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Food and Nutrition Service relating to “Application of Bostock v. Clayton County to Program Discrimination Complaint Processing-Policy Update”” Failed of passage in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 47 – 50. (Oct. 26, 2023)

S.3129 “Farm to School Act of 2023” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. (Oct. 25, 2023)

S.3116 “Transparency in Legacy Road and Trail Remediation Act of 2023” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. (Oct. 24, 2023)

STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE 

PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PRESS RELEASES:

Governor Josh Shapiro Recognizes Pennsylvania Veterinary Lab, Field Staff For Excellence In Avian Flu Crisis Response (Oct. 24, 2023)

Governor Shapiro Signs Bipartisan Bill To Protect Pennsylvania Dogs, Consumers, Communities (Oct. 24, 2023)

PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 53, No. 43—Oct. 28, 2023): 

Delaware River Basin Commission

53 Pa.B. 6698 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Rules of Practice and Procedure [To resolve ambiguities around the automatic termination of project approvals issued by the Commission; make conforming amendments to related provisions as appropriate; update the Commission’s Water Resources Program and Project Review procedures to better conform them to current practice; remove references to the Federal Freedom of Information Act that create confusion about the regulations applicable to requests for Commission public records; and align pronouns with the Commission’s policies regarding diversity, inclusion, and belonging.]”

Department of Agriculture

53 Pa.B. 6714 Notice: “Federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program; 2024 Program Guidelines”

Department of Environmental Protection

53 Pa.B. 6784 Notice—Comment Period: “Public Comment Meeting on the Interim-Final Environmental Justice Policy and Pennsylvania Environmental Justice Mapping and Screening Tool (PennEnviroScreen) Methodology Document Public Comment Meeting; Additional Public Comment Meetings”

53 Pa.B. 6783 Notice: “Mosquitoborne Disease Control County Grants; Notice of Availability”

53 Pa.B. 6782 Notice—Comment Period: “Draft 2024 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report; Available for Public Comment”

53 Pa.B. 6781 Notice: “Availability of Grants through the Abandoned Mine Land and Abandoned Mine Draining Grant Program”

53 Pa.B. 6716 Notice: “Applications For National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits And Water Quality Management (WQM) Permits Under The Clean Streams Law And Federal Clean Water Act”

Independent Regulatory Review Commission

53 Pa.B. 6801 Notice: “Notice of Filing of Final Rulemaking”

State Conservation Committee

53 Pa.B. 6810 Notice: “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”

PENNSYLVANIA LEGISLATURE

HB 295 “An Act amending Title 3 (Agriculture) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in soil and plant amendment, further providing for registration, for inspection fees, for tonnage reports and for disposition of funds.” Re-reported as committed. (Oct. 24, 2023)

HB 156 “An Act amending Title 3 (Agriculture) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in fertilizer, further providing for definitions and for application of fertilizer to turf.” Presented to the Governor. (Oct. 23, 2023)

HB 157 “An Act amending Title 3 (Agriculture) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in Pennsylvania Preferred® Trademark, further providing for definitions, for Pennsylvania Preferred® trademark, for licensee qualification, for duties and authority of department, for trademark license agreement, application and licensure process, for costs, for Pennsylvania Preferred® Trademark Licensing Fund, for injunctive relief, for rules and regulations and for purpose, repealing provisions relating to definitions and further providing for qualified veterans and qualified veteran business entities.” Presented to the Governor. (Oct. 23, 2023)

HB 1170 “An Act amending the act of April 28, 1937 (P.L.417, No.105), known as the Milk Marketing Law, further providing for title of act; in purpose, short title and definitions, further providing for definitions and construction; in organization of the board, further providing for appointment and terms of members and quorum; in licenses of milk dealers, further providing for grounds for refusal, suspension or revocation; in moneys and expenses of board, further providing for expenses and for payment; and, in saving provisions, repealing provisions relating to Joint Study Committee.” Third Consideration and Final Passage (Oct. 25, 2023)

 

Contributors:
Victoria Dutterer—Research Assistant
Avery McLean—Research Assistant
Lonzie Helms—Research Assistant
Audry Thompson—Staff Attorney