Hello and Happy Friday! We’re back with an Ag Law Weekly Round Up to catch you up on some of the ag law stories over the past month.
*EPA Administrator discusses dicamba, WOTUS, and ag advisor. Recently, EPA Administrator, Michael Regan, spoke at the NASDA national meeting. He indicated that the EPA is currently working on a new version of the “waters of the United States” definition pursuant to the Clean Water Act, and he expects for the initial proposed draft to be released in November. He did state that the EPA will not be reinstating either the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (the Trump administration definition) or the WOTUS Rule (the Obama administration definition). With regard to dicamba, Regan indicated there were still significant concerns with drift issues despite the new labeling requirements imposed for 2021. He said that the EPA is “extremely concerned” about these issues and are looking into whether regulatory action needs to be taken for the 2022 growing season. [Read more about his dicamba discussion here.] Finally, he said that he is currently working through a pool of candidates and plans to appoint an agricultural advisor at EPA next month. [Read article here.]
*Shifting legal developments webinar available. Last month, my friends Amber Miller, Jake Parker, Ray Starling, and I were part of a webinar for the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce Ag Allies looking at several shifting legal developments in agriculture across the country. It was a really interesting discussion hitting on everything from Proposition 12 in California, takings jurisprudence at the United States Supreme Court, and the Right to Farm law in North Carolina. If you’d like to watch the video, click here. To read an article summarizing our discussion, click here.
*USDA FSIS seeking comments on rule regarding labeling rules for cell cultured meat and poultry products. The FSIS and FDA have a joint agreement to regulate the production of human food products made utilizing cell culture technology, with FDA overseeing collection, growth and differentiation of cells and FSIS regulating cell harvest, processing, packaging, and labeling of products. Currently, FSIS is seeking comments related to rulemaking for the labeling of these products including rules related to consumer expectations, naming, and economic data. Currently, there is an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that has been published, and comments will be open until November 2, 2021. [Click here for notice and here for article.]
*Tyson & Perdue will pay $35 million to settle lawsuit with chicken farmers. Two of the nation’s largest poultry companies have agreed to settle a price fixing lawsuit brought by farmers who raise chickens. Both Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms have agreed to settle the lawsuit for $35 million while not admitting any wrongdoing. Other defendants, including Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Foods, and Sanderson Farms, are not part of the settlement, meaning the lawsuit remains pending. [Read article here.]
*Congress continues to look at changes to estate and capital gains taxes. Keep in mind that nothing is final yet (there’s still a long row to hoe, as my Dad would say), and I expect to see several more rounds of changes in proposals, but Chris Clayton did a great job of summarizing where the House Ways and Means Committee plan currently sits with regard to estate and capital gains tax changes. [Read article here.]
*What can we learn from celebrities who have died without a will? I enjoyed this article by Cheryl Jones looking at five lessons we can learn from celebrities who died without a will. [Read article here.]
*Podcast on family farms and ranches & mental health. As we wrap up National Suicide Prevention Month, I wanted to share the podcast interview I did with Ted Matthews, a farm counselor and director at Minnesota Rural Mental Health Services. Ted offered some great thoughts and advice. I hope you’ll take the time to listen. I also hope that if you need to work on your own mental health–whether that’s something as small as taking a daily walk or something bigger like reaching out for help–you’ll do so. [Listen to podcast episode here.]
I’ve got a full calendar for the next couple of weeks. On Tuesday (9/28), I’ll be speaking virtually at a program in Schleicher County on agricultural law hot topics. On Wednesday (9/28), I’m headed to Denver City to speak on estate and capital gains taxes for the Soil and Water Conservation District. On Friday (10/1), I’m kicking October off with a bang giving three presentations. First, I’ll be presenting virtually at the Southeast Texas Ag Summit in Baytown. I’ve got one presentation on estate planning and another on key agricultural laws. To register for that event, click here. That afternoon, I’ll be virtually presenting on estate planning for the Landowner Series hosed by Burnet and Lampasas County Extension.
Don’t forget that we have two online courses available 24/7 on demand. If you’d like to learn more about our Online Ranchers Leasing Workshop, click here. If you’d like to learn about our Owning Your Piece of Texas program, click here.