I have enjoyed being back on the road for several programs over the last couple of weeks. I enjoyed the chance to speak at the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau meeting in Albuquerque, discussing undercover video investigations. Next, I sat on a panel at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show and fielded questions about laws related to prescribed burning and drone use. Finally, yesterday I was in Wichita Falls presenting on grazing leases at the Cattle Trails Cow-Calf Conference. Welcome to those of you who are new to the blog from these presentations!
Here are some ag law stories in the news the past couple of weeks.
EPA Revokes Approval for Suloxaflor and Enlist Duo. Perhaps the biggest news stories of late involve the EPA’s revocation of approval for key Dow Chemical products. First, the EPA has cancelled its approval for sulfoxaflor, which is the active ingredient in Transform (used to fight sugarcane aphids) and Sequoia. This decision came as a result of litigation in the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where the court decided that the EPA failed to adequately consider concerns over pollinator protection prior to issuing registrations. [Read articles here and here.] Second, the EPA has withdrawn its approval for the herbicide Enlist Duo, citing concerns raised by environmental groups who filed suit about the potential impact on endangered species including plants and animals. This herbicide is designed to help combat herbicide resistant weeds and does so using active ingredients 2,4D and glyphosate. Dow says it is confident the EPA’s concerns can be alleviated and the product will be available in 2016. [Read articles here and here and here.]
FAA Will Require Registration of Drones. Prompted by safety concerns due to increased numbers of drones in the skies, the FAA will move forward with its plan to require registration of drones in the US. A task force has been created to develop a registration rule, including a registration process and a list of drones that will be exempt from the registration requirement. The regulations developed by this task force will likely apply to small drones and will probably include recreational users. [Read articles here and here.]
ARC/PLC Enrollment Opening Soon for 2016. Farmers who elected to participate in either ARC or PLC under the Farm Bill must sign up for the program for the 2016 crop year. I know what you are thinking (I’ve heard it from my dad!)….we had to go in and pick a program, then go back and sign up for 2014/2015, now we have to go in again and sign up for 2016? Yes, don’t shoot the messenger! Sign up will open December 7 and will continue through August of next year. [Read article here.]
Farm Commons Announces Upcoming Webinars. Farm Commons, a non-profit helping farmers with legal issues, has released its list of Winter webinars. Rachel and her group always do a great job with these webinars! In addition to their usual format of offering tutorials that give basic legal information, they will also offer round tables on each topic. For more information and a list of upcoming events, click here.
A Factory Family Farm. Recently, Modern Farmer ran a great article profiling a family farmer in Virginia who raises sheep and turkeys. The article does a great job of debunking the myth of “evil factory farmers” by showing that this operation, which would likely be seen as “factory” by those who use the term, is very clearly a family farm. In my humble opinion, we need more stories like this! [Read article here.]