Amazingly enough, I stayed put here in Amarillo this week catching up on writing and podcast recording here at the office. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.
* Arkansas will ban Dicamba use for 120 days. Following an increase in the number of pesticide drift involving the application of Dicamba in Arkansas, the Arkansas State Plant Board voted to impose a 120-day ban on the application of the dicamba “Engenia” formation in the state. In January 2017, Xtendimax dicamba technology was banned we as well. In order for the Engenia ban to go into effect, it has to be approved by the Governor and pass a state legislative committee. On Wednesday, the Governor indicated she would sign the ban and send it on to the committee. It appears from news reports that the committee approval has been granted. [See article here.] What this means for farmers who planted Xtend soybeans is that they may not spray the crop with Engenia and will have to turn to other chemical or cultivation options to kill weeds. [Read article here.]
* Ranchers sue over the removal of COOL requirements. A number of cattle groups, including R-CALF, United Stockgrowers of America, and Cattle Producers of Washington have filed suit in Washington federal court against the USDA claiming that the revocation of Country of Origin Labeling rules violates the Meat Inspection Act. COOL rules were revoked by USDA after the World Trade Organization found them to violate WTO rules twice and threatened to allow retaliatory sanctions from Mexico and Canada. [Read Complaint here.]
*Additional Syngenta trial dates set. The MDL court has set trial dates for several additional class action trials involving Syngenta corn litigation. The court ordered that AR and MO classes will be tried together in January 2018. IL and NE classes will be tried together in April 2018. IA and SD classes will be tried together in May 2018. The Ohio class will be scheduled for October 2018. Remember, there are numerous other state classes, including Texas, that have not yet been considered for certification but remain pending. [View Order here.] Additionally, there are several individual cases pending in Minnesota that are set to be tried this month. For more information on the current status of the case or the recent $217 million verdict for the Kansas class, click here.
* European Court of Justice rules of dairy labeling standards. In June, the European Court of Justice ruled that products made from plants may not be labeled as “milk,” “butter,” “cheese” or other similar labels that the Court said should be limited to products made from the lacteal secretions of animals. This is particularly interesting given the Dairy PRIDE Act currently pending in Congress that would impose similar rules in the United States. [Read prior blog post here.]