October 6, 2017 Weekly Round Up

This week I traveled to Fredericksburg for the Bennett Trust Women’s Stewardship Conference and to Johnson City for the Pedernales Wildlife Management Co-Op Meeting.  This trip, I had a two-year old sidekick with me who thoroughly enjoyed the fun.  Welcome to those of you joining from these programs.

Here are some of the ag law stories in the news.

* Farm program payments under ARC/PLC are going out beginning this week.  Those of you enrolled in the ARC and PLC programs keep an eye on your mailboxes.  The FSA is beginning to send checks out for the 2016 crop year this week.  [Read news release here.]

* US House considering bill to re-vamp agricultural guest worker program.  The House is currently considering a bill, the Agricultural Guestworker Act, which would replace the current H-2A program with a program known as H-2C.  The bill, as currently written, would allow workers to enter the US for year-round jobs in the dairy, livestock, forestry, and food processing industries, as well as for seasonal labor.  It would not provide a path to citizenship.  The bill would also move the guestworker program from the Department of Labor and put it within the responsibilities of the USDA. [Read article here.]

-*MO Supreme Court to consider whether “Right to Farm” Constitutional Amendment protects growing marijuana.  A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about how criminal defendants in Missouri argued that the state’s Right to Farm Constitutional Amendment applied to protect their growing marijuana.  Now, this fight has made its way to the Missouri Supreme Court.  As I said in a recent interview, this was certainly not the intent of the Amendment, but given the broad language that was added to the Missouri Constitution, it invites creative legal arguments like this.  [Read article here.]

* Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas scientists working together to study earthquakes and oil production.  A “regional induced seismicity collaborative” kicked off work this week with scientists from TX, NM, OK, and KS working together to understand whether and how earthquakes may be linked to oil and gas production.  [Read article here.]

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