October 18, 2019 Weekly Round Up

It’s time for another ag law weekly round up!

TAMU AgriLife photo by Steve Byrns

I’d like to be sure and welcome those of you joining us from recent programs I spoke at in Brenham and College Station.  We’re glad you’re here.

Here are some of the stories in the news over the past couple of weeks.

* Kinder Morgan & City of Kyle settle lawsuit over ordinance preventing Permian Highway pipeline. You may recall from this prior post that the City of Kyle recently passed an ordinance requiring pipelines over 30″ in diameter to obtain a city permit, among other requirements including setbacks and fees.  Kinder Morgan filed suit challenging the ordinance and seeking an injunction.  Earlier this month, the parties announced a settlement in that case.  Kinder Morgan will pay the city $2.7 million and agree to pump only natural gas through the pipeline. The City Council approved the settlement 5-2.  This settlement does not affect the litigation in which the City of Kyle is one of the plaintiffs against the Texas Railroad Commission and Kinder Morgan, which is currently on appeal.  [Read article here.]

* Lawsuit filed to stop USDA RFID Ear Tag Mandate.  I’ve previously blogged about the USDA RFID ear tag mandate here. R-Calf has filed suit against Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Administrator of USDA APHIS Kevin Shae challenging this mandate. The lawsuit claims that by allowing only the use of RFID ear tags for official identification, the USDA has violated the existing tractability regulations. The lawsuit also claims that the RFID mandate failed to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act and the Congressional Review Act as it was issued through a fact sheet, rather than undergoing the required notice and comment rule-making.   Additionally, the lawsuit claims that USDA violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act by relying upon biased individuals rather than the required balanced representation on the advisory committee. Lastly, the Complaint claims a violation of the Regulatory Flexibility Act which requires administrative agencies to consider the effect of their actions on small businesses. [Read Complaint here.]

* Judge will not issue injunction preventing Missouri meat labeling law from going into effect.  A 2018 Missouri law that bans companies from labeling products as “meat” unless it comes from an animal with two of four feet was challenged by Turtle Island Foods (producer of Tofurky products), the ACLU, and the Good Food Institute, who claim  that law violated the First Amendment.  The parties sought an injunction preventing the law to go into effect.  Earlier this month, a federal district judge said he would not issue a temporary injunction blocking the law. Specifically, the judge held that there was no risk of injury to Tofurky because the current label used disclose the products are plant based and grown in a lab. This decision has been appealed. [Read article here.]

*Farm safety includes mental health. Southwest Farm Press recently published a really interesting article discussing farm mental health. This is an important topic to me and I know it is for many of you as well. [Read article here.]

*Harvesting life lessons.  I recently wrote a column for Progressive Farmer’s Our Rural Roots about what really  matters this harvest season.  Feel free to check it out here and happy harvest to all!

Upcoming Programs

Next week, I’ll be speaking several places.  On Tuesday, I’ll be presenting via the internet at Ranch Management University in College Station.  Then I’ll hit the road and be giving the keynote address at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show in Victoria on Thursday and speaking at the South Central Texas Cow-Calf Clinic in Brenham on Friday.  I hope to see some of you there!  To see my complete list of upcoming presentations, click here.


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