Hello friends! It’s been a wild couple of weeks here in Texas. I appreciate all of you who reached out to check on my family and offer support during the crazy weather last week. I am happy to report we all survived and were very happy to see the 60 degree temperatures this week! Shelley Huguley compiled photos from producers around Texas showing the extent of the storm damage and it’s really heartbreaking to see the scope of damage to various agricultural producers. To view her photos, click here.
Here are some of the ag law stories in the news.
*CFAP deadline extended indefinitely pending review. The USDA recently announced that it was extending the February 26 deadline to sign up for the CFAP – Additional Assistance, a program announced by UDSA just before President Trump left office. According to the USDA website, the Biden administration’s review of the program is ongoing and FSA will continue to accept applications during the review period and for at least 30 days after any decision is announced. Importantly, this review will not impact CFAP-2 payments for which the application deadline was December 2020. [Read more here.]
*Summary of pending dicamba litigation; update on future of FeXapan. Progressive Farmer recently published an overview of the various pending lawsuit related to the 2020, five-year registration dicamba. Interestingly, the two main groups of plaintiffs take opposing positions, with the National Family Farm Coalition arguing the registration is too permissive, while the American Soybean Association and Plains Cotton Growers argue the registration is too restrictive. [Read article here.] Additionally, Corteva announced that it will no longer sell its over-the-top dicamba product, FeXapan, in the United States. Corteva’s statement said this was a business decision and that customers still have the options of the three remaining products with registration, Xtendimax (Bayer), Tavium (Syngenta), and Engenia (BASF). [Read article here.]
*SCOTUS hears argument in Florida v. Georgia water law case. Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court heard oral argument in a water law case pitting Florida against Georgia. The question at the center of the case is whether the Court should issue an equitable apportionment decree requiring Georgia to cap the water it uses in the Apalachicola River system, thereby allowing more water to flow to Florida. Underlying the question is Florida’s claim that Georgia is using too much water for irrigation, which is harming Florida’s oysters in the Apalachicola Bay. Georgia argues that this type of limitation would be detrimental to Georgia’s economy with only minimal benefit to Florida because, Georgia claims, Florida already gets most of the water from the river system. To read a summary of the oral argument, click here.
*Pilgrim’s Pride pleads guilty to price fixing, sentenced to pay nearly $108 million in fines. The Department of Justice announced that Pilgrim’s Pride has plead guilty for its role in a price fixing conspiracy related to broiler chicken products. As part of the plea agreement, Pilgrim’s Pride will pay $107.9 million in criminal fines. There are multiple other defendants who have been indicted, including Pilgrim’s Pride officers, Claxton officers, and others. [Read article here.]
*Commodity Classic releases four-part podcast on agriculture mental health. The Commodity Classic, in partnership with the National Association of Farm Broadcasters, released a four-part podcast called “Mental Health on the Farm.” The podcast, which is only about 50 minutes total, features a four-person panel including Adrienne DeSutter, an Illinois farm wife with a Master’s Degree in Counseling, Ted Matthews, a mental health practitioner with 30 years of experience in rural America, Jason Meadows, cattle rancher and host of the Ag State of Mind podcast, and Lowell Neitzel, a Kansas farmer who has been vocal about mental health on the farm. The show is moderated by Pam Jahnke. I thought they all did a great job discussing this important issue and offering great recommendations. [Listen here.]
I’ve got a busy couple of weeks coming up. On Tuesday, March 2, I’ll be in Spearman to talk estate planning from 6-8 pm for an dinner program. [Click here for more info.] The following day, I’ll be speaking as part of the online Master Marketer course about hot topics in agricultural law. Next Monday, March 8, I’ll be in Dumas for a Successful Succession program from 9-12 hosted by Texas Corn Producers. [Click here for more info.]
To see all my upcoming programs, click here!
Lastly, don’t forget about our Online Ranchers Leasing Workshop course. It’s available on demand for you to complete at your own pace. For more information, see below to watch a short promotional clip that will give you an idea of what the class looks like, and click here to register.