Illinois Food & Agriculture Legislative Update

Illinois Food & Agriculture Legislative Update

The Illinois legislature has introduced a number of bills directed at the food and agriculture industries. Most of these proposed bills are intended to make life easier for agriculture. This post provides a rundown on the bills which could affect Illinois livestock, cottage food industries, fields, farmers markets, or agricultural businesses. 

Read More

FSMA and Grain Elevators

FSMA and Grain Elevators

FSMA rules can apply to just about any entity in the animal or human food supply chain, from the producers to packagers to transporters and anyone in between. But do the new rules apply to typical grain elevators? In this blog post, I answer that question: usually no, because typical grain elevators are exempt from the most common FSMA regulations.

Read More

Des Moines Water Works Nitrate Lawsuit Dismissed

Des Moines Water Works Nitrate Lawsuit Dismissed

A federal judge recently dismissed the Des Moines Water Works case, holding water quality problems caused by nitrates are for the legislature (not the court system) to fix.

Read More

Six Tips for Agricultural Zoning Applications

Six Tips for Agricultural Zoning Applications

Let's say you want to expand your livestock operations, build a new manure storage structure, or start an agritourism business focused on beekeeping or growing hops. You know you have to complete a state application for such an operation, but what about the local level? Here are my tips for navigating the local zoning scene.

Read More
Comment

Poultry Farmers File Federal Antitrust Lawsuit Against Integrators

Poultry Farmers File Federal Antitrust Lawsuit Against Integrators

Poultry growers recently filed a federal lawsuit against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, and other poultry integrators under the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Packers and Stockyards Act ("PSA"). The Growers alleged the integrators have shared data about the individual Growers without aggregating or anonymizing the information. 

Read More

Five Tips to Comply with the New FDA Antibiotics Rule

Five Tips to Comply with the New FDA Antibiotics Rule

As of January 1, 2017, a new FDA regulation requires a veterinarian feed directive ("VFD") from a veterinarian be in place for all antibiotics administered to livestock in feed or water. How can you stay in compliance? 

Read More
Comment

What Does the USDA's Agreement with Montana Beef Mean for You?

What Does the USDA's Agreement with Montana Beef Mean for You?

On December 22, 2016, the USDA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with the Montana Beef Council ("MBC"). This MOU could affect other states' beef councils or qualified checkoff boards for other commodities. 

Read More

Where's the Beef: Are Checkoff Funds Being Used to Violate the First Amendment?

Where's the Beef: Are Checkoff Funds Being Used to Violate the First Amendment?

A lawsuit in Montana grabbed the attention of checkoff boards across the country. R-CALF sued the Montana state beef checkoff council in May, asking a federal court to prohibit the council from spending federal checkoff dollars on advertising unless the state cattle producers paying the fees have agreed to it. A federal magistrate recently issued an opinion agreeing with R-CALF.

Read More

What Do the Controversial New GIPSA Rules Really Say...and Does it Matter?

What Do the Controversial New GIPSA Rules Really Say...and Does it Matter?

New GIPSA rules were announced on Tuesday. There are plenty of opinions out there criticizing and praising the regulations, but what do the new rules really say? And, with the incoming Trump administration, does it matter?

Read More

Federal Court Says Hawaii Counties Can't Ban GMOs or Pesticides

Federal Court Says Hawaii Counties Can't Ban GMOs or Pesticides

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down several Hawaii county ordinances limiting or altogether banning the use of pesticides and GMO products. The court held the local laws attempted to legislate an area already comprehensively covered by state or federal law and those local laws were preempted by state and/or federal laws.

Read More

Federal Judge Halts National Implementation of Overtime Rule

Federal Judge Halts National Implementation of Overtime Rule

A federal judge in Texas just issued an injunctive order halting the overtime rule nationwide. Judge Amos Mazzant issued a 20-page order preventing the rule from going into effect on December 1. The court wrote the injunction would preserve the status quo while the court considered the merits of the challenge to the overtime rule.

Read More

What does Trump mean for EPA's Waters of the US Rule?

What does Trump mean for EPA's Waters of the US Rule?

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump indicated he would gut the EPA and vastly reduce the number and scope of federal regulations. Now that Trump has been elected, what can we expect from his administration on the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule that is currently in legal limbo? 

Read More
Comment

FSMA: Preventive Controls for Human Food

FSMA: Preventive Controls for Human Food

The FSMA puts a new focus on prevention of foodborne illnesses and authorizes new Preventive Controls for facilities that process human food. 

Read More
Comment

Dozens of Groups Challenge EPA's New WOTUS Rule

Dozens of Groups Challenge EPA's New WOTUS Rule

Court of Appeals case asking the Court to overturn the EPA's new WOTUS rule. The groups argue the EPA violated the law in the way it promulgated the new WOTUS rule and ask the court to strike the rule in its entirety.

Read More
Comment

Food Safety Modernization Act: The Produce Rule

Food Safety Modernization Act: The Produce Rule

After years of legislative wrangling, rule-making, and extensive public feedback, the US Food and Drug Administration is finally implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FSMA authorizes new regulations for farmers who grow certain kinds of fresh produce and for certain facilities that process food. The Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (known more commonly as the “Produce Rule”) can have an enormous effect on farmers. 

Read More

Tips for Drafting and Negotiating Livestock Production Contracts

Tips for Drafting and Negotiating Livestock Production Contracts

Today's livestock farming frequently involves negotiating production contracts between owners and growers. These agreements should include dates, prices, standards, and statutorily required language, if applicable. Owners and growers can better their negotiating position by educating themselves about the provisions typically included in such a contract. 

Read More
Comment

Drafting Crop Production Contracts

Drafting Crop Production Contracts

One of the most common agricultural agreements is the crop production contract. Each agreement will be different based on the parties, land, and risk allocation, but there are some common elements to include in any production contract. 

Read More
Comment

Swine Contracts and The Packers and Stockyards Act

Swine Contracts and The Packers and Stockyards Act

The Packers and Stockyards Act is intended to ensure fair trade practices and competitive markets for livestock, meat, and poultry. It imposes requirements on swine growers and on the contracts between integrators and growers.

Read More

Appealing Wetland Determinations: The Hawkes Decision

Appealing Wetland Determinations: The Hawkes Decision

Many farmers have been there: a state or federal governmental body says that you have protected wetlands on your property. You can't farm that land. You can't take down the tree line dividing your field. Damage or fill in that wetland and you could be subject to criminal and civil penalties. So what is a farmer to do if he thinks the government is wrong, and his land is not a wetland? The Supreme Court's recent Hawkes decision provides guidance.

Read More

Who Does Food Traceability Technology Benefit?

Who Does Food Traceability Technology Benefit?

Hundreds of established and start-up companies are working on using big data and technology to trace food from farm to table. Who benefits from this boom? The question of who benefits from food traceability is related to the question of who is responsible for food safety. Is it the farmer? The processor? The packager? The transportation company? The retailer? The consumer? All of the above?

Read More
Comment