February 7, 2014 Weekly Round Up

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.*

It has been a chilly week across most of Texas!  I hope everyone is staying safe and warm.  Here are a few of the major ag law stories making news this week.

* Congress Passed the Farm Bill.  This was the big news of the week out of Washington, DC.  President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law on Friday.  A few articles discussing the bill’s passage may be read here and here  and here.  The Texas A&M Agricultural and Food Policy Center will be publishing a wealth of written information, decision-aids, and videos about the new Farm Bill.  Be sure to check out their website here.  There are also numerous links to information on the House Ag Committee website here.

Capitol

*Lesser Prairie Chicken Comment Period Extended.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the comment period to obtain input from the public on the proposed listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.  The deadline is now set for February 12, 2014.  Instructions on how to submit your comments may be found here.  To read more about the proposed rule, which is being supported by energy companies and agriculture, click here.

*Maryland Legislature Proposes Chicken Tax.  The Maryland Legislature will consider the “Poultry Fair Share Act” which would require poultry companies, such as Perdue Farms, to pay a 5 cent tax for every chicken it delivers to a farmer in Maryland.  The estimated $15 million revenue from the tax would be used to support efforts to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.  Opponents of the bill fear that it would cripple the poultry industry in the state, which is a significant part of the  $2.3 billion agriculture industry in the state.  [Read article here.]

*Controversial Article on GMO Wheat.  A controversial article on the need for genetically modified wheat published in the New York Times generated a lot of comment and attention this week.  [Read article here.]

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